The answered prayers of Gideon give us a graphic account of the interplay between the Angel of the Lord and Midian. Midian was not known as a mighty man of stature, but was just an ordinary person like you and me.
Prayers of Gideon
Oppression of Israel by the Midianites
1 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, 2 and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel . . . 6 So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD.
Prayers of Gideon
Angel of the Lord Appears to Gideon
11 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 wine press, in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” 13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” 14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” . . . 16b “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
Prayers of Gideon
Gideon Asks for a Sign
36 So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— 37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.
Judges 6, NKJV- selected verses
Judges 6 is a fascinating chapter which gives us the account of God saving the Israelites from the hands of the Midianites through Gideon. The answered prayers of Gideon give us a graphic account of the interplay between the Angel of the Lord and Midian. Midian was not known as a mighty man of stature, but was just an ordinary person like you and me. He had no great valor; as a matter of fact, he was rather timid by nature. God used people like Gideon to show us that there is nothing special in us that is required by God in order to be useful to Him. God uses the weak ones of the world to confound the wise!
The first six verses of Judges give us the account of the oppression the Israelites faced by the Midianites. Their economy was practically in ruins, and yet the Israelites did not turn from their worship of Baal. They did cry out to God for help, but as is often the case with us, they wanted the help of God but not the Lordship of God.
In answer to the prayers of the Israelites, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon (verses 11-16) Gideon asked the Angel a question which is often asked by people of our day as well,
"O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Considering the answered prayers of Gideon, look at the answer God gave to him.
Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
That was not the answer Gideon was looking for! In essence, Gideon replied, "Who, me?" He cloaked his unbelief in a request to God. After laying a fleece on the threshing floor, he asked God to cover the fleece with morning dew, but leave the ground surrounding the fleece dry. The next morning, sure enough, the fleece was so wet that Gideon squeezed out a bowlful of water, and yet the ground was dry.
Still not convinced, Gideon asked God to reverse the process the next morning. He wanted dew on the ground, but the fleece was to remain dry. He was finally convinced when, the next morning, the fleece was dry, but the surrounding ground was covered with dew.
In a sense, Gideon wrestled with God in prayer, just as Jacob had done so many years before. Do you have questions, doubts, discouragements, etc? Go to God in prayer; wrestle with Him, but don't give up until He answers you. The answer may not come immediately, as a matter of fact it rarely does.
Our relationship to God is an ongoing relationship; we do not just pray to Him once a day and then go on about our lives. Rather, our prayers should go out to God repeatedly throughout the day. Paul said, "Pray without ceasing." In other words, we live in a prayerful attitude, speaking to God continually in our hearts, because we know He is right there with us all day long.
Think about the answered prayers of Gideon and reflect on your relationship to Christ. The answers to your prayers will come, but don't be surprised if He chooses you to bring about the answer.