Title: Judges 6. Gideon, part 10: God patiently makes warriors.
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 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior."
"Valiant warrior" - gibbor (hero or proven warrior) chayil (strength or power). "The Lord is with you, proven warrior of strength."
Certainly Gideon does not presently fit this description. Right now it is a paradox, but soon enough God will lead him to find faith and strength in the Lord.
God knows what He's doing. He is able to overcome our stubborness and flaws and doubts and fears, but what He will not overthrow is your self-determination. If a person desires to head down the paths of darkness, even going over and against all warnings and painful obstacles, then he can certainly do so.
God does the transforming in us, both at salvation and in the maturing process. Our part is always faith. Faith in Christ for salvation and then many uses of faith in learning and applying His word.
Before Gideon recognizes that this is in fact Jehovah speaking to him, he simply imagines the man is misled believer. He actually accuses him of being naïve. Why should this man believe that Jehovah is with us when it is obvious that He isn't? How many times have we looked someone in the face who was telling us the very truth from God and we thought they were stupid?
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?' [message of the prophet] But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian."
Gideon's response began with denial.
JDG 6:14 And 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?"
Jehovah looked upon him: the Angel of the Lord is Jehovah.
The writer freely switches from the title "Angel of Jehovah" to "Jehovah" alone. There is no question as to who this person is in the mind of the writer of Judges, writing this history about 200 years later. It was known by Israel and only much later did the Rabbis begin to doubt that this was God Himself.
The Rabbis rejected Jesus as God and so could not acknowledge that God could be a man in any form, therefore the Angel of Jehovah is to them only a messenger from God. Passages like this and many others cause problems with that interpretation and they have to find a way to get around it. For instance:
"The moment the angel uttered these words, the Spirit of God entered him. That is what is meant by the words, "God turned to him." Even though Gideon still did not realize that it was an angel standing in front of him, he knew the words he was hearing came from God." [Rabbi Shmuel Yerushalmi]
In trying to look smart about things that we can't possibly understand, we look far more stupid.
Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise;
When he closes his lips, he is counted prudent.
The fact that omnipresent God could take this form and look like a man without becoming a man as He later would is another of the mysteries of God that finite minds like our own that are immersed in the natural laws of time and space cannot possibly understand. To such things we must say as the pregnant virgin, "How can this be possible," to which the angel who dwells with God in heaven states, "With God all things are possible."
Jehovah, the one God, the only omnipotent, sends Gideon. That means that without question, whatever the mission is, it's going to work.
"Have I not sent you?" The Lord gives Gideon insight into who He is who is speaking and that the mission can't fail.
This is the Lord's first hint to Gideon that He is God. There is only One who can say that an objective is a foregone certainty because I'm sending you. Gideon should know this.
We love to fault the people in the Bible when they fail to see God in the normal things around them, but we're reading a narrative that says it's Jehovah. He's not wearing a name-tag that Gideon can see. There is nothing about this man that wouldn't suggest that he is just an ordinary man. He even has a walking stick. As far as Gideon knows, the man could be fanatic or crazy. That doesn't condone Gideon's lack of faith in the word of God or his ignorance of the reason why Israel is under great oppression, but we cannot fault him for not immediately knowing the one to whom he is talking.
"Have I not sent you" is so much like the call of Moses:
And He said, "Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain."
The Lord commands Gideon to go in his strength and deliver Israel.
"Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian." This is the strength that Gideon will have when he believes. It is the Lord's power flowing through us.
We rightly state that any strength we have is from the Lord, but when your faith is in Him and His power flows through you, you can certainly say that you are strong, but not independently so.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves
Christians can hear God's call in whatever ministry God has given them and then doubt themselves and their ability to accomplish it. If God has called you to do something then you go forward in faith for it is a guarantee that He will complete the work. We might want to fault Gideon for his low self-image and his hesitation, but how many times have we done the same?
JDG 6:15 And 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."
Gideon figures out who this is.
"O Lord" - Adonai [deity]. In vs. 13 Gideon addresses Him as Adoni which does not necessarily imply deity.
The same Rabbi must explain:
"Although Gideon still thought the angel was fully a prophet, he now realized that God was speaking through him. So he addressed his answer to God. He uses almost the same words he used earlier. But now he used the holy form of the word "Lord," rather than the common one." [Rabbi Shmuel Yerushalmi]