by Christopher Harbin

Who Am I?
Christopher B. Harbin
Judges 6:11-21

We often focus a lot on ourselves. We consider our skills, our knowledge, our training, our status, our history, our standing, our membership in some group or another, and determine whether or not we measure up. We determine if we can possibly accomplish what lies before us, or whether the task at hand really belongs to someone better suited than ourselves. On one hand, we like to make ourselves out to be more than we really are, yet on the other, we exclude ourselves from many responsibilities, especially those associated with God's mission for our lives.

Gideon was having a difficult day. Things were not going well for him, nor for his entire people. Furthermore, this prophet reportedly speaking for Yahweh had come along with the message that the issues Israel was facing were the result of their worshiping the gods of the Amorites. Bands of Midianites had swooped down upon Israel, waiting for the people to harvest their crops and store them in their barns before raiding parties looted and sacked the land of all its wealth. The threat was imminent. The threat was obvious. The people knew exactly what to expect. They were just waiting anxiously for the moment when the Midianites would begin their raids. They were living with this brooding anticipation of doom. It sapped all the joy out of harvest time. They lived under a cloud of depression, disappointment, and dread over the coming raids.

Gideon was resolved to do something about it, but there was so little he hoped to accomplish. Instead of going on with the normal routines of harvest, he decided to do find a way to hide some grain for his family. He went down to the winepress under the shade of a major tree to thresh some of the wheat from his fields.

It was not a very practical way to do things. Wheat was normally threshed on a hilltop, where the wind was a help to the process. There is not an abundance of wind under a tree to blow away the chaff. The ...

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