Find the story in Judges 6-8.
The passage starts out with the appointment of a prophet. Was Gideon that prophet? We see that he tore down the altar to Baal and the Asherah pole, reminiscent of the prophet Elijah in 1Kings 18. Gideon displays the wisdom of Proverbs in that he saw the dangers and hid himself, whether in the winepress or in the night, Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12.
|did evil in the sight of the Lord||sent as a prophet to the Israelites|
|Midian prevailed against Israel||prevailed against Midian|
|made dens in mtns, caves & strongholds||in the winepress to hide the wheat v11 | the angel of the Lord called him a “mighty man of courage”|
|sow their seed/Midian destroyed||had wheat to beat|
|no nourishment for Israel||had wheat|
|no ox or sheep or donkey||n/a = no mention|
|Midian wasted their land||had a winepress and wheat|
|greatly impoverished||see above|
|When the angel of the Lord spoke to him, the angel did not say, “Do not be afraid”.|
We see that Gideon stands in contrast to the Israelites as he did have wheat and was not hiding in a cave or den but was working. Where do you think the Midianites would look for wheat? In the fields or in the threshing floors during its season. I see Gideon’s use of the winepress as inventive and clever – not the season for the winepress! Obviously it worked for Gideon.
Another think (used deliberately) about Gideon is his conversation with the angel of the Lord. I notice that the writer does not describe Gideon as afraid, startling at the man under the tree, nor does the angel tell him, “Do not be afraid” as is often the case. It is almost as if the two were acquainted with each other. The writer goes so far as to state that when Gideon realized it was the Lord, then he was afraid. Psalm 111: 10 and Proverbs 1:7 tell us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom so we understand that this is not foolishness on Gideon’s part.
How or why does Gideon’s story give me hope? First, Gideon was somehow familiar enough with the Lord that a conversation took place. Second, Gideon had food. Third, he had a place to work in safety despite the surrounding circumstances. Fourth, Gideon had wisdom and we know that every good and perfect gift comes from above, James 1. Last but not least, when the people cried out to the Lord in anguish, He heard and answered. Gideon’s story tells me to turn my heart to God and sooner is better than later.