Secret of a Winepress
I love the consistency of God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever....and he knows His creation well. Reading these words the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree (Judges 6:12) immediately put me in mind of God visiting Abraham the same way as He now visits Gideon (Gen. 18). Not in a way that generated fear, but in a manner indicative of desiring relationship, communion. I cant help but wonder ... was Gideon also aware of the previous visit?
I only know Gods first words to Gideon. The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!
God saw Gideon for who he would be, saw him acting in the fullness of his potential, despite Gideons standing on a threshing floor in a wine press, hiding from the enemy. Not dressed in warriors guise, but covered from head to toe with the itchy, beaten pieces of chaff clinging to every part of his sweating body. And what God saw Gideon to be, in all the victory of what would come, is how God addressed the man standing before Him.
Can you hear those words, falling about this beaten man, like a soothing, comforting balm to this bruised and questioning soul? I love how God loves us! He isnt afraid of our questions. He understands the eyesight battles we have. He meets us where we are .... in the midst of our own winepress, built for pressing a river of life from bruising grapes, even if were using it to hide in ... even if were covered with chaff ... itchy, scratchy, prickly chaff. And he reminds us that we are warriors. Warriors who are mighty in Him. That we are not alone, despite the myopia of our vision. That it is He, Himself, who is with us.
I understand the Gideon who stands here. His heart beats with my own, his questions and observations about the life hes immersed in echoing mine. A prisoner not just to physical bondage, but spiritual darkness lies all about him, and he doesnt understand. Hes lost hope. He doesnt even try any more.
Can you see, can you feel, the despair that must have filled Gideons soul when suddenly God appeared to Him. Not in chastisement. But wonder of wonder, in gentle encouragement, in assuring love. And all the questions, all the despair, all the frustration bursts forth from Gideons mouth, and God ..... loved Him back, with gentle grace.
Go in the strength you have...
I can just see Gideon, eyes popping open, head pulling back. I imagine he even took a step or two backwards, just trying to keep his balance.
In the strength I have??? Doesnt He see where I am? Im hiding .... here .... in a winepress, but its me being pressed. Every drop of strength pressed out, till I am empty. In the strength I have??
I can hear the hollow laughter filling that chamber like an empty whisper, cant you? Then a dawning, so very dim at first, begins to light Gideons eyes. What was but a spark begins to grow, until his eyes take on a glowing of understanding ... of hope.
The strength I have is You, Lord. The only strength remaining in me is Your presence, Your heartbeat...in harmony with mine. You will be with me, Lord? You are with me! Even here, even now.
The voice speaks again, filling the winepress and reverberating throughout Gideons being, into my own heart, meeting my own need.
Surely, the Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!
I love how God loves us, how He sees us, how He meets us ... in Himself!
May you hear His voice address you today, and may you know that, indeed, in Him, you are mighty in valor ... a warrior already victorious.
DeAnna Brooks (December 5, 2007)
Having raised four children, I live now in Texas. Mostly my writing is a sojourn with God. I find myself ever planted in Eden, glorying in its abundant and rich communion with the Almighty. Or, I am looking back, with longing. And the sojourn continues.
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