In our journey so far we have looked at three examples of grace. First, Noah found grace with God because he and his family stood out above the wickedness that surrounded them. Secondly, Abraham and his family was the benefactor of the grace of God and lastly Moses and God’s chosen people found favor with God as the cord of grace and favor are weaved further through scripture. Our first day we looked at the Strong’s definition of the Hebrew word for grace (Chem). Today, let’s finally look at a working definition of this word grace. According to Noah Wester 1828 online dictionary, the noun grace is defined “Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace; appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.” Amazingly, this just covers the first two of twenty definition listings just for grace the noun. It is a very dynamic word! For more see: http://webstersdictionary1828.com.
Now that we have a working definition in our language, let’s look at the next connection in our grace pilgrimage, we will be in Judges six looking at the story of Gideon. The story begins with an explanation of how God’s chosen people find themselves living in caves and mountain strongholds because they have done evil in God’s sight and have been targeted for seven years now by the Midianites. Israel was hurting. After all that God had delivered them from in the past, they still had memory failure and fell into disobedience once again. Now they find themselves in a struggle to get by and crying out to God once again and God answered their cries. His response is located in verse 8-10: “the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell : but ye have not obeyed my voice.” KJV
Gideon was hiding out and threshing wheat by the winepress. This is indeed an unusual place to be threshing wheat, normally they would thresh on the hillside where the chafe could blow away and the wheat would fall back to the ground but Gideon was here trying to preserve the little wheat they had from the enemy. An angel of the Lord appeared saying, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.” (Judges 6:12b) Gideon responded, “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 abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” (Judges 6:13)
Then the Lord responded that Gideon should go in his own strength and deliver Israel from Midian and Gideon, much like Abraham had several excuses why he could not do as he was asked. Patiently, the Lord responded again with these words from Judges 6: 16-17. “But the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”
Gideon then said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me. “Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” Gideon found favor with this messenger and He awaited as Gideon prepared a meal and returned. The angel of the Lord then sacrificed the meal as an offering unto the Lord. Judges 6:22-24 tells us, “When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” The LORD said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace.”
Once again we see the great grace that God shows one of His chosen. This is a man clearly hiding and trying to protect his grain and yet God sees his potential and calls him mighty warrior despite him being of the least and the smallest among his people. As the story goes Gideon takes the first step in fulfilling God’s request. We not only observe that God is a God of peace, we also get a glimpse into the great patience God has with Gideon. God goes on to patiently answer Gideon as he asks for signs not once but twice before he continues to fulfill what the Lord has called him to do. How great is the patience and grace of God throughout all the ages and even in our day, Grace to you!