4.24 Judges -- Gideon
The next unlikely candidate for leader of Israel was Gideon (Judg 6-8). The Midianites and Amalekites were raiding Israel and stealing their crops and herds. The Lord sent an anonymous prophet through Israel who told them that God was punishing them for their idolatry and for not obeying His voice. But the prophet brought no deliverance (Judg 6:7-10).
In Gideon's case, he was given his summons to duty by an actual angelic visitation, unique in the book of Judges. The angel of the Lord sat under an oak tree, while Gideon was hiding from the Midianites in a winepress. He was utterly dispirited, like his fellow Israelites who had gone into hiding in mountain clefts and caves (Judg 6:2). The angel greeted him with the salutation:
"The Lord is with you, mighty warrior" (Judg 6:12).
Since God does not make jokes, this salutation must be taken prophetically. He was greeting the Gideon of the future, rather than the young man cowering in the winepress. God "calls things that are not as though they were" (Rom 4:17). Gideon did not at first realize this was a messenger of God, and responded by accusing God of abandoning Israel. Like many a second-generation believer, he recited the stories of deliverance inherited from this parents, but had no current experience of the Presence of God. The angel didn't respond to his complaint, but commissioned him to deliver Israel from Midian. Gideon, like Moses (Ex 4:10), began reciting his disqualifications. His clan was weak, and he was the lowest in his family (Judg 6:15). Fool -- if he knew anything of Bible history, this was no disqualification, it was all the more incentive for God to appoint him! The whole task was not about Gideon, any more than it was about Deborah -- it was about God showing Himself strong in a weak vessel, the weaker the better.
The angel reminded him of the Lord's ability and sufficiency:
"Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?" (Judg 6:14, Amplified).
"I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together" (Judg 6:16).
God met Gideon/Israel in the place of defeat and shame, promising His presence (Judg 6:16), declaring His patience (Judg 6:18), speaking His peace:
"I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!" But the Lord said to him, "Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die" (Judg 6:22-23).
Gideon then built an altar on the spot and named it "The Lord is peace" (Judg 6:24).