S184P4 – Great introductions: the God of our identity

Jgs. 6:11-12; 22-24

Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites.  And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!”…Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the LORD.  So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face.”  Then the LORD said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.”  So Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it The-LORD-Is-Peace.  To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Gideon had in his mind the kind of man he was.  When the Lord called him a mighty warrior, Gideon responded with a set of facts which were completely true.  His people were being oppressed by their enemies.  That is why he was in hiding trying to prepare food.  Gideon’s tribe was not large.  He himself was not some big, strong man.  Even in his own home he was the least.  Gideon would test the waters and seek confirmation to make sure that he indeed had God’s favor and had heard God correctly.  He would realize that he was the kind of man that God told him he was, and he would perform the great acts that God told him he would perform.  The encounter would change Gideon’s identity in an instant.

Most of us have been encouraged by others to do things that we did not think we could do.  Maybe you seem like the perfect candidate to pursue a certain profession but you cannot see yourself as that professional among others in that field.  Maybe someone thinks that you should try your hand at the stage, but it would terrify you to stand before all those people.  Many of these doubts can be overcome once we do the thing that we think we cannot do.  In that moment, we realize that we are different than who we thought we were.  For Gideon, he did not even need to go that far.  Once he knew that he had heard from God and received God’s favor, he started behaving like the man God said he was.

Gideon did not wait to do the work God had for him before accepting that he was that man.  After building this altar, he gathered some men and went straight to tearing down the altar of Baal his father had built.  Simply knowing that he truly had encountered God was all he needed in order to believe God’s word and walk like the great warrior he was.  That is the hope when we encounter God, that we would see a change of identity.  In that moment, we become who He says we are, who his word says we always have been.  Father, thank You for revealing to us our identities in You, the people You have created us to be.