Ah, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!
In a life-changing encounter, the angel of the Lord suddenly appears to Gideon saying, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12). At the time, we find Gideon hiding in a winepress to thresh his wheat so the Midianites will not see him. Although being called “mighty warrior” is a clue to his future, it perplexes Gideon in his present situation. He addresses the angel as Lord and expresses his belief that God has abandoned Israel to the oppression of the Midian people. Gideon is assured of the Lord’s presence in an upcoming battle, and Gideon responds, in similar fashion to Abraham, by presenting an offering to the Lord. When fire consumes the offering, Gideon suddenly realizes exactly who he is addressing and in great fear says, “O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face” (Judges 6:22). The Lord assures him that he will not die.
Gideon is given his assignment: “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”(Judges 6:14). Though fearful and hesitant, Gideon obeys. He then builds an altar of worship to the Lord, and tears down his father’s idols. He still needs the reassurance of two “fleece signs,” but he eventually fulfills his special mission and calling from the Lord.
All the elements of fully embracing the Lord are here. The holy presence of (and face-to-face encounter with) God produced a response of worship and an offering of consecration to the Lord. His fearful response before a holy God demonstrated an acknowledgement of his unworthiness and a repentant, humble heart. Finally, he was ready for his assignment, which expanded into several bolder steps of obedience to the Lord.