How shocked Gideon must have felt when the angel of the Lord called him a valiant warrior. There he was, threshing wheat; not on top of the hill where the wind could carry away the chaff, but instead, cowering in the protective walls of a winepress.
This winepress was likely low to the ground and tucked into the side of a cliff where Gideon could effectively hide from the Midianites. No wind. No way to thoroughly beat the wheat and separate the good from the bad. Yet, he still tried to complete his task. The job had to be done. So, Gideon hid. And he did it scared.
In the Mundane
The day we brought home our first son was terrifying. That floppy little head and tiny bobbly frame. We were sure we would break the little guy.
But we didn’t. And he grew. Quite chunky, might I add.
As he grew, we also grew more accustomed to having a baby in the house. I nursed him. Changed his diaper. Napped him. Cleaned spit-up. Rocked him. Cleaned more spit-up. Nursed him. Changed a blowout diaper. Burped him. Stayed up all night consoling him. Changed another diaper.
Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my child. And I loved being a mother. But I got tired. Weary. Lost in the mundane.
New fears arose. Was I being a good mother? Would he remember rolling off the changing table and never trust me again? Was I eating correctly and was mama’s milk enough?
Those early months sucked the life out of me, and I resembled a walking zombie. Exhaustion reigned. Fears prevailed. Depression appeared. And focus dissipated.
If the angel of the Lord showed up during that season calling me a valiant warrior, I would have stood stunned, wondering if he had the right address. Valiant warrior? Me? Not a chance.
Valiant Warrior? Me? Not a Chance.
Gideon had similar thoughts. Are you sure you have the right guy? I’m the youngest of the least tribe in Manasseh. Valiant warrior? Me? Not a chance.
And yet God chose Gideon.
I came home one night recently and felt complete emotional exhaustion. The whole day had been spent problem-solving and putting out fires at work, then I came home to more of the same. Emotionally, I had nothing left. I wanted to run away and hide in a cave somewhere—or at least a cabin in the mountains or house on the beach. My calling felt heavy. Cumbersome. Awkward. Wrong.
In bed, I cried weary tears. “God, I don’t want this calling. I don’t like this place you have me in. I feel like I’m constantly under attack. Didn’t you promise peace? Where are those seasons of rest I’ve been waiting for?”
Gideon asked this angel of God similar questions. “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened? Where are all His wonders that our ancestors told us about?”
I can only imagine the awkward stare-down that occurred when that angel first hopped on the scene and called Gideon ‘valiant warrior’. I’m sure his face said it all as fear gripped him from the inside out.
He Did It Scared
I’m thankful for the authenticity of Gideon. He was scared. And he had big doubts. And yet, God showed great patience with Gideon. After his first encounter with the angel of the Lord touching the food with his staff and fire coming up from the rock and consuming the meat and unleavened bread, he was willing to hear what the Lord said.
He even obeyed and tore down his father’s altar to Baal and the Asherah pole in order to replace them with an altar to the Lord. But he didn’t do it in the middle of the day; he did it at night. Why? Because he was afraid of getting caught.
Verse 34 says, “The Spirit of the Lord enveloped Gideon.” Scared, secretive Gideon. Fearful, hidden Gideon. Chosen to be a mighty warrior and redeem the Israelites from the hands of Midian.
When His Calling Doesn’t Make Sense
God’s callings don’t always make sense. Even though the Spirit of God surrounded Gideon and God had big plans for him, Gideon still wanted a sign from the Lord. And even after the Lord caused the fleece to be wet and the ground around it to be dry, Gideon still wasn’t sure. He asked God to make the ground wet with dew and the fleece dry. And God patiently proved He could.
Then God reduced Gideon’s army from 22,000 to 300 and promised Gideon the victory would be his. But God knowing Gideon’s fear said, “But, if you are afraid to attack the camp, go down with Purah, your servant. Listen to what they say, and then you will be encouraged.”
Gideon was still scared, so he went to the camp with Purah. He overheard a man telling another soldier of a dream that they interpreted as the army of Gideon overpowering them. And Gideon finally believed.
We Do It Scared
And just like Gideon, When God calls us to something that seems larger than life, confusing, and over our heads—we do it scared. When it’s time to let go of a career we love for a new opportunity and God’s hand is obviously leading the way—we do it scared. We do it scared when God answers our prayers for a family member or friend and we don’t understand the season of breaking that He is allowing in their lives. When we are exhausted, anxious, and fearful because everything is about to fly off the handle—we still do it scared.
Gideon questioned and doubted God just like we do. He begged for a sign that he was on the right track, just like we do. And God showed up for Gideon just like He will show up for us.
Faithful in the Winepress
But, like Gideon, we must remain faithful to the task He has given us. Embrace the call He has placed on our life. Obey the commands and directions He gives. Even if we beat the wheat in the protection of a winepress, we must still be faithful to beat the wheat. Or if we tear down the altars in the protection of the night, we must still be faithful to tear them down entirely. And even when He takes all the soldiers away and leaves us with a mere three hundred men, we must still be faithful to lead them well.
No matter where you came from, where you currently stand, or where you are headed – be all in even if it means you do it scared. We must be faithful in the winepress.
Are you being faithful in your winepress?
(for more on Gideon, read Gideonitis here)
© Christy Bass Adams, April 2023, All images from Canva
Scripture references from Judges 6 and 7, CSB version
information about the winepress retrieved from: https://www.blueletterbible.org/audio_video/popPlayer.cfm?id=4534&rel=mcgee_j_vernon/english/jdg
Love the conclusion. Thank you, Christy.
An inspiring column. We forget that with some frequency biblical beings were stepping out on faith, not because they were sure or stronger than anyone else. That’s what makes them relatable and to me more believable. Great story.
Enjoy all your blogs!! Awesome writing!!????????
300 out of 22,000 is a mere 1%. If God took away 99% of what we have and tell us to work with 1%. How would we even start to comprehend?
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