A true story and an anointed song:
In Gideon’s day, the Midianites had oppressed Israel for seven years, repeatedly destroying the crops and impoverishing the people. Intimidated and overcome by an army as thick as locusts, the Israelites hid in caves while the oppressor ravaged their land. At some point, the Israelites began to cry out to the LORD to free them from the Midianites. In response, God sent a prophet to say: their divided hearts had opened them to oppression. God called to them to return to him.
Then, the Lord appeared to Gideon – a fearful man, threshing wheat in a winepress in order to hide from the Midianites; a man angry with God for seeming not to care; a man with no credentials for leading an army except the credentials God himself supplied.
God began the conversation by speaking his own Name. In one brief greeting, he revealed his identity. He revealed Gideon’s identity. And God revealed the relationship by which Gideon would become who he was: “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior” (Judg. 6:12).
Immediately on telling Gideon his true identity, God gave him a new mission. “The LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’” (Judg. 6:14).
Gideon would do that impossible mission the same way he would become a radically different person. The LORD said: “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together” (Judg. 6:16).
When Gideon wondered, “So how do I know you’re really God?” the Lord confirmed his identity to Gideon in the same way he showed himself on Mt. Carmel to the people of Elijah’s day: God sent fire to consume Gideon’s sacrifice. He revealed himself to Gideon, not only as JHVH, the God of the covenant Name, but also JHVH Shalom, the LORD Is Peace.
Relying on the Lord’s wild plan and miraculous power, Gideon did free Israel from the Midianites. But first God commanded him to tear down his father’s idolatrous altar and to build an altar to the Lord.
When Gideon obeyed that command (by night because he was afraid), the people of his town demanded Gideon’s death. But his father intervened, saying to the crowd, “You’re defending Ba‘al, are you? It’s your job to save him? … If he’s a god, let him defend himself!” (Judg. 6:31 CJB).
Remarkable: The one who owned the idolatrous altar was the first to let it go! Yet Gideon’s father didn’t give up his idols until his frightened son made a violent renunciation of those things his family and community had allowed to usurp God’s place in their hearts. And Gideon didn’t smash the idolatrous altars until he met and bowed before the LORD.
The LORD is with you, mighty warrior. You may hear yourself replying, “Who, me?” But Adonai hasn’t gotten the wrong address. He hasn’t approached the wrong person. He sees in you an identity you do not see. He’s prepared exploits for you that will free the oppressed and bring great honor to his holy Name.
From We Confess! The Civil War, the South, and the Church. © 2011 by Deborah P. Brunt. All rights reserved.
Click, listen and respond spirit-to-Spirit as Rick Pino sings over you: “The Lord Is With You, Mighty Warrior.”