God loves an underdog and I love stories where the unlikeliest hero or heroine wins in the end. It’s like when an unranked college team upsets a ranked team and they storm the court after the upset. Gideon is a perfect example of the underdog but God often chooses those who the world has little expectations of so that God can receive the glory that He rightfully deserves anyway. When the angel of the Lord came to Gideon and said, the “Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12). This came during a time when Israel had fallen into disobedience (Judges 1:1) and God had allowed the Midianites to oppress them. Every time the harvest was ripe, the Midianites would swoop down out of the mountains and raid the country and strip away all of the harvest and livestock and so “Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord” (Judges 6:6) so “the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:14-15).
Here is why this story is so hopeful. Gideon is the least of his clan, he is the runt of the litter (so to speak), he is in hiding when the angel of the Lord approaches him and yet he is called “O mighty man of valor” and to “Go in this might of yours.” You have to wonder if Gideon looked over his should and thought, “You mean me?” The point is God sees what is before it even exists. He knows the future and speaks as if it’s already present because, with God, it really is! God knew that Gideon’s tiny little force of 300 farmers and shepherds could never destroy a camp of 135,000 seasoned, experienced, and well-trained Midianites soldiers but with God, all things are possible (Matt 19:26) so don’t ever lose hope, even if the odds look exceedingly hopeless. They would later say of Gideon, “God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp” (Judges 7:14c) so it was God’s victory, not Gideon’s, whereby God receives the glory