The marauders, swarming like locusts, would be here any day now. Maybe any moment. For seven years they had raided at harvesttime, pillaging and plundering. When the last camel was out of sight and the sand settled, nothing was left. No livestock. No crops. A pitiful existence.
This year, hoping beyond all hope those destroyers would not notice him, Gideon hid in his father’s winepress. Not to squeeze grapes but to beat wheat on the stone bottom. He was desperate to eke out what little food he could for his family.
Hitting the wheat again and again with his staff, Gideon constantly looked over his shoulder. Suppose he was discovered. Oh no! He already was! Someone was sitting up there under the oak tree. Gideon stood still, his arm and staff freeze-framed in midair.
And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O brave man” (Judges 6:12 AMP).
Who me? You’ve got to be kidding.
The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this strength of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” (Judges 6:14 AMP).
Me strong? I’ve got my doubts about that. I’m a nobody. How can I do anything?
But Gideon said to Him, “Please Lord, how am I to rescue Israel? Behold, my family is the least [significant] in Manasseh, and I am the youngest (smallest) in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15 AMP).
What Gideon missed in the word “strength” was that God was speaking of the future Gideon, not the man who was holing up in a winepress pit. One person plus God always equal a majority.
The LORD answered him, “I will certainly be with you, and you will strike down the Midianites as [if they were only] one man” (Judges 6:16 AMP).
And it was so.