I’ve been reading through the book All the Places You’ll Go by Jon Ortberg, and since I am doing the workbook too, I’ve had the opportunity to revisit some of the Bible stories that are so familiar to me from my Sunday school days as a child. While I have re-read those as an adult (and I highly encourage you to do the same as I guarantee you will be kind of shocked about how non-G-rated the Old Testament stories actually are), it’s been a little while. So, when I got to the story of Gideon found in Judges 6 and 7, I settled in to really absorb the story – not as I have always remembered it but as it is written.

The book of Judges is filled with some pretty wild stories, but the plots are all the same. Israel would sin (this usually included worshiping other gods). God would punish them by allowing a neighboring country to oppress them. Eventually, Israel would get miserable enough that they’d repent and cry out to God, and God would raise up a judge and deliver them. Everything would go along fine for a while, and then they’d start worshiping other gods again and the story would repeat itself.

Open book against grunge background

When Judges 6 opens, Israel is in pretty dire shape. In Judges 6:2, it says, “The power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.”

Basically, what was happening was that every time the Israelites would start planting their crops, the Midians would come and destroy it all, including not just the crops but also all the livestock.

Our first glimpse of Gideon finds him secretly threshing wheat in a wine press. Not being a farm girl myself, I decided to look up what it meant to thresh wheat. Basically, the threshing floor was a large space where the wheat was laid down and oxen were lead across to crush it so the grain could be separated from the husks. A wine press was much smaller and enclosed (remember the I Love Lucy episode?). So, that means that Gideon was probably stomping around on the wheat himself. It also meant that nobody was making any wine either.

Things were bad in Israel.

If you remember stories of Gideon from Sunday school, you probably remember the whole laying out the fleece a couple times. If you dig a little further back in your memory, you might recall that when God tells Gideon to raise an army, God whittles that army down to a mere 300 men (and this against an enemy that is described as locusts in number), and that God’s plan involved pitchers, torches and yelling in the middle of the night.

I have to say though, that the several things that stood out to me in this story were not ones I remembered.  The first thing that hit me was how the angel of God addressed Gideon. In Judges 6:12, it says, “The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.”

Valiant warrior was NOT how Gideon saw himself. It probably was not how other people saw Gideon either. This was a guy who was sneaking around in the middle of the night trying to thresh a tiny amount of wheat. He was not exactly hero material.


Gideon points out all the awful things going on and questions that God is really with him, never mind everyone else. When the angel tells Gideon that God has a solution and Gideon reveals what he really thinks of himself.

Gideon immediately protests saying, “Oh Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family sit he least in Mannasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.”

Throughout the story, it took a lot of convincing for Gideon to even begin to believe he was who God said he was – a valiant warrior. In his mind, he was the least of the least. His family were the ones that lived on the wrong side of the tracks. And even in his family, he was the youngest, the least important, invisible.

In my mind, I’m wondering how you can doubt what the angel is telling you because, well, there is an angel talking to you. If that isn’t proof positive that things aren’t what you’ve always thought, I don’t know what is.

Yet, don’t we do the same thing? God sent His Son to die for us. He paid a steep price to bring us into His family, so He should have a very clear idea of what kind of identity that gives us, as His children.

You may be saying, “Well, I know who I am in Christ?” My question to you is, “Are you living that way?”

Head knowledge lived out in confidence is true belief. 

The enemy wants you to not believe you really are who God says you are. He wants you to continue to think about what you lack in yourself. He wants you to continue to want signs and continual affirmation about your identity – because then you don’t actually DO anything. You are stuck and paralyzed.

Do you believe you are who God says you are? What parts of your identity are the hardest for you to believe? I’d love to hear about it!

Blessings, Rosanne

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