Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
— Judges 6:11-12
There is Gideon, laying low. The Midianites have infiltrated and oppressed. There is widespread fear and Gideon is not untouched. So there he is pity-partying, nursing his wounds and his grudges, hunkering down in the winepress writing that hit song “Alone With My Principles.”
The greeting from the angel of the Lord, who may be the preincarnate Christ himself (in vv.14-16 the angel of the Lord becomes “the LORD”), is strange. Would you call a hiding man a “mighty man of valor”? You would if the Lord was with him.
A legal climate cannot empower courage. Even if it is instructing positively. For instance, just as God did not answer Moses’ objections to his calling by telling him he was good enough, smart enough, and doggone it people liked him, the Lord does not tell Gideon to get in touch with his inner victor. He makes a statement of present tense fact: “You, cowering Gideon, hunkered down in the winepress, are a mighty man of valor.” Because, as God tells Moses, “the Lord is with you.”
For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.
— Psalm 18:29
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
— Romans 8:31