Gideon had a shadow cast across his life. It left him feeling deflated, worried, and dispirited. For seven years he had lived with an ominous Midianite silhouette settling itself across his soul, causing an outline of discouragement around him.
So one of the primary goals of the angel at the moment of their meeting was to give the soon-to-be judge a swift tug out of the shadows and into the clarifying light of Yahweh’s perspective.
“When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, The Lord is with you, mighty warrior’” (Judg. 6:12, NIV).
“Mighty warrior” in Hebrew is gibbor chayil, also translated as “mighty man of valor” in the King James Version. The terminology is the same used to describe David’s valiant warriors who had executed courageous exploits on behalf of the king (1 Chron. 11:10-25). This label made sense for David’s warriors. They were elite fighters, handpicked to perform special tasks. They were champions. When others wilted under pressure, these men stood their ground, undeterred in support of their new king.
Gideon didn’t have the look of a “mighty man of valor.” Cowering silently in the winepress, Gideon felt and looked like anything other than valiant. Nobody would have described this man with our Hebrew term. But Yahweh’s view was not bound by Gideon’s reality or actions. Gideon may have been under the shadow of Midian, but Yahweh was not. He could see beyond the exterior, calling out of Gideon something that the timid man probably didn’t even realize was in him. Gideon wasn’t a scared farmer. Not really. That’s how he was behaving, but that’s not who he was.
Yahweh’s perspective of us is often so unbelievable, so foreign to our own belief system and conduct that it can be like a bolt of lightning striking our desensitized souls. It jolts us away from the misplaced shadows of our experience into the truth of God’s reality.
The angel had already told Gideon Who was with him, but now he wanted to reveal what was in him. The angel knew that Gideon wouldn’t respond well to the call until his perception of his potential was reformatted. So the angel tugged the would-be hero out of the shadows and into the clear, bright light of Yahweh’s love.
From Gideon by Priscilla Shirer on Youversion