Hope Threshes Wheat in a Winepress

Life isn’t fair.

I see it every day.

Some children are born into plenty.

Some children are not.

Some children are born into love.

Some children are not.

It’s challenging to look into the eyes of a child suffering the consequences of actions far from his or her control and offer some sense of hope.

I wonder if Gideon, threshing wheat in a winepress so the Midianites couldn’t see him, felt hopeless?

He remembered the miracles God had performed years before with his relatives.

He had heard the stories.

The burning bush.

The crippling plagues.

The parting of the Red Sea.

A pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.

God had led His people from slavery to the Promised Land.

Gideon knew these stories well.

Yet here he stood,

a descendant of the ones who had witnessed God’s mighty works,

secretly threshing wheat in a winepress.

Did Gideon wonder what I sometimes wonder as he said,

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened?

Where are all his wonders that our father told us about?”

Judges 6:13

Gideon, a descendant of Joseph’s son Manasseh,

felt abandoned by the very God who had spoken to Joseph in a dream.

There’s nothing like hiding from the enemy and feeling unseen by God at the very same time.

But Gideon threshed wheat any way.

Kept doing what needed to be done.

Even when the circumstances were hard……

and life didn’t make sense.

Gideon, the son of an Israelite who had built an altar to Baal,

somehow held on to Hope,

and  just when he thought God had turned His back on the entire nation of Israel,

God showed up.

Right there at the winepress…….

filled with wheat.

“Go in the strength you have and deliver Israel from the grasp of Midian.  I am sending you.”

These surely weren’t the words Gideon was expecting to hear on this particular day.

And his lack of confidence in his abilities surfaced immediately as he replied,

“Please, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? 

Look, my family is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the youngest in my father’s family.”

There’s something about a child hiding in a winepress in order to safely thresh wheat that looks anything but courageous,

but God saw something Gideon didn’t see.

And with no hesitation, God replied,

“But I will be with you.  You will strike Midian down as if it were one man.”

I love that God showed up in the life of a child whose father had turned his back on God.

I love that God saw this son, clinging to a story of redemption while feeling completely lost.

I love that God saw what the enemy couldn’t see –

a child threshing wheat in a winepress.

And I love that Gideon didn’t use the Midianites’ oppression as an excuse to stop doing what needed to be done.

Even if it had to be done in secret.

God is a God of hope.

His timing is never predictable.

And His plan is not always easy to see.

But the story of Gideon encourages me this morning.

His faithfulness in the face of adversity inspires me.

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What is God calling me to do today?

Where does He want to show up?

No excuses.

No procrastination.

Life won’t always makes sense.

Life won’t always be fair.

But God offers Hope.

Every day.

Every where.

In every circumstance.

And Hope threshes wheat.

Even in a winepress.

(Today’s reading was from Judges 2 – 9)

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