Under Midianite oppression, the Lord calls a man: a questioning, doubting, fearful man who is the least of his father’s house. From our point of view, not the beginning of a noble leader: but God.
The Lord calls a man to “deliver Israel from the hand of Midian” (Judg. 6:14) who is threshing wheat in a winepress, a vineyard, in order to hide, both himself and his wheat, from the Midianites (Judg. 6:11).
This will be a deliverer of Israel? Yes, as it is the Lord who has called and sent him (Judg. 6:14).
Once convinced that he is dealing with the God of Israel, Gideon dedicates an altar to “the Lord is peace” (Judg. 6:24), Who settles his nerves.
Gideon’s first act concerning Israel’s deliverance finds him realizing his name, as he cuts down the Asherah poles erected in the town (Judg. 6:25-26, 28.)
Gideon/גִּדְעוֹן, logger/feller/warrior, called to cut down, in order to build up. Joash didn’t name Gideon, the Lord did; and in His timing, Gideon stepped out from the vineyard, and became God’s logger, God’s warrior. Gideon cut down, the Lord built up.
Under the cover of darkness, in trepidation (Judg. 6:27), Gideon broke and cut down idolatrous images. Still uncertain as to his calling, he takes small, yet impactful steps toward Israel’s deliverance; as the Word says, “For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth” (Zach. 4:10).
The plumb line that the Lord rejoices over ensured the walls of the Temple were plumb and true. It seems a “small thing,” yet from this small thing beauty comes, and ultimately His glory entered (Mal. 3:1).
God called Gideon where He found him – hiding in a vineyard. From a place of fear, Gideon would become a hero of faith when his life and God’s call met. Gideon received a revelation of God’s sufficient grace (Judg. 6:16), and slowly walked into his calling to deliver Israel. A high calling indeed, with a very humble beginning.
Where are you? In a winepress, in a vineyard threshing wheat? It may seem that your present circumstance is the final verdict, but as we learn from Gideon’s life, when hiding, attempting to survive unnoticed, surrounded by enemies, the Lord’s call overcame every obstacle, and enabled by His Spirit, Gideon overcame, not just his own circumstance, but the suffering of many.
Do not despise the day of small things, as it leads to the Lord Himself, and as Paul encourages, “put on Yeshua/Jesus” (Ro. 13:14), and having done all “stand” (Eph. 6:14).
Be well. Shalom.