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The Lord calls Gideon

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Jdg 6:11; Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites.
Jdg 6:12; The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior."
Jdg 6:13; Then Gideon said to him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian."
Jdg 6:14; The LORD looked at him and said, "Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?"
Jdg 6:15; He said to Him, "O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's house."
Jdg 6:16; But the LORD said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man."
Jdg 6:17; So Gideon said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.

It's an old familiar story, I've read it before. But sometimes, a new thing stands out. These trouble making Midianites...
The angel... comes and sits under an Oak tree. My mother has an oak tree in her yard, probably over 80 feet tall. It doesn't say the angel was watching, but it seems he was.
He was watching Gideon, beating out the wheat.. in a wine press. Wine presses are for, well... wine. So why is he beating out the wheat here? It says in order to save it from the Midianites.
It seems whenever someone is in power, they like to take things. Even if it isn't rightfully theirs.

Now maybe this angel was invisible when he was watching Gideon, I don't know... but the angel "appeared to him". Now Gideon could see him.
The angel says "The Lord is with you....". I have to say, I think I might be a little awestruck if an angel spoke to me. But even more impressive is .. "The Lord is with you.."
Now we all know at a certain level that God is with us.. maybe we have doubts sometimes. But to have an angel come right up to us and say it... well, you think that would impress anyone.
But not Gideon. Now Gideon is often listed as a hero in the Bible, but it seems he is skeptical here.

If God is with us, then why is all this happening to us? The Lord has abandoned us... He has given us over to the Midianites. Where are all the miracles that our fathers and grandfathers told us about.
...in other words, If God is with us... why is He allowing all this to happen?

Have you ever felt that way? Abandoned by God? Why am I going through this thing? Why are things in the state they're in? What's going on God?
Now you might be saying... Oh I'm strong in my faith, I never doubt God, I never doubt He is with me... perhaps, but now the rubber meets the road.
In verse 14, it no longer says "angel", it says the Lord looked at Gideon. He gives Gideon a job. You don't like the way the Midianites are treating you, fine... go and deliver my people from them.

Whoa, wait a minute God, I think you're making a big mistake. This is me you're talking to. I'm just one guy, I can't defeat an entire nation.
My family is the least in Manasseh, and I'm the youngest one in my fathers house. Surely you could do better than me.

I hate to admit it, but I've been Gideon here. God reveals His presence to me in a mighty way, and does something powerful in my life, and I start proclaiming the power of God.
Then God asks me to do something.. but umm... well.. uhh... let me check my busy schedule. I can take on the Midianites next year, does that work for you God?
But God says "go"... "I am with you". The angel told Gideon God was with him, you would think that would be enough. God tells Gideon, "you shall defeat Midian as one man".

Two main points stand out to me here. (There is a third, I'll get to later)
First, when bad things are happening all around us... God is aware of it. He isn't surprised by any of it. For all you know, He's sitting under a tree in your yard right now, watching you.
Second, even though God has the power to do anything, He likes to use people. Usually in extraordinary circumstances. The more unlikely it seems to work, the more likely God is to do it that way.

When you look around right now, maybe you are wondering... where are you God? Don't you see what's going on?
It just may be, God is calling on you to change things.

... to be continued ...
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Jdg 6:17; So Gideon said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.
Jdg 6:18; "Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You." And He said, "I will remain until you return."
Jdg 6:19; Then Gideon went in and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to him under the oak and presented them.
Jdg 6:20; The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth." And he did so.
Jdg 6:21; Then the angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight.
Jdg 6:22; When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, "Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face."
Jdg 6:23; The LORD said to him, "Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die."

Gideon is still the skeptic. If I've found favor, then show me a sign... we always want a sign. Gideon goes an prepares a meal offering for the angel.
A picnic under a big oak tree isn't bad, I've had a few in my life. The angel tells Gideon just put everything on this rock. He points his staff at it, and poof,
fire comes up out of the rock and consumes the food. I don't know about you, but that would get my attention. You wanted a sign, here you go.

.. but even after this.. Gideon is still a skeptic.
If we skip down to the end of this chapter.. Gideon asks for yet another sign from God. God doesn't get angry at Gideon for asking, He just gives the sign that Gideon asks for.
I think it's OK to ask God for a sign... God is it really you? God is this really what you want me to do? Can you give me a sign? How about two more?

Jdg 6:36; Then Gideon said to God, "If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken,
Jdg 6:37; behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken."
Jdg 6:38; And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water.
Jdg 6:39; Then Gideon said to God, "Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground."
Jdg 6:40; God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.

Now of course if we continue reading, we see how God used Gideon. But all through the Bible, God could have done things Himself. But it seems usually He uses people to accomplish His will and His plans.
He might just be going to use you.