Sunday, December 09, 2018

Advent Angels 9

Read: Judges 6

The story of Gideon is almost comical. The Israelites, only fairly recently settled in the land of Canaan after the exodus, are being attacked by their neighbours, the Midianites. There are no kings, and effectively no formal government at the time; Israel is led by “judges”, people chosen for their military prowess or wisdom. At this time, however, there is no clear leadership.

As the story begins, Gideon, a farmer, is hiding himself and any produce he can from the rampaging Midianites who are laying waste the land. He is terrified. When the angel of the Lord appears suddenly in front of him and addresses him as “you mighty warrior” Gideon is dumbfounded. Surely the angel doesn’t mean him? He is, as he points out, the least in his family, which is part of the weakest clan in the tribe of Manasseh. The angel is adamant, though, and eventually Gideon, however fearfully, accepts the challenge of confronting the Midianites. He is a wonderfully human character, a mix of courage, fear, foolhardiness and genuine faithfulness to God.

Do you recognise anything of yourself in Gideon?

·         The angel sees something in Gideon which he cannot see in himself, that he is a “mighty warrior”. Has someone else ever seen something in you which you have been blind to?

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