And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12)
Gideon is perhaps one of the most misunderstood or questionable characters in the Bible. He was of a quiet and timid character (Judges 6:15, 27), and at times displayed reluctance or even doubt of God’s abidance with Israel (Judges 6:13). He was definitely not a perfect man, but one thing is sure because God had this to say about him before any feat of courage or action of strength: you mighty man of valor (Judges 6:12, 14)!
Why did God say that when he hadn’t done anything yet? What did Gideon do that awarded him such a noble description? Perhaps the reason is because unlike us, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
We may imagine one with might and valor akin to one of David’s stout warriors: valiant, courageous, gifted with the might of physical strength. They were mighty and valiant indeed, and those characteristics are often the ones that we flock to when we hear those words. However, this may be very different from God’s understanding of might and valor because:
- He sees might in the meek (Matthew 5:5)
- He sees greatness in the lowly and humble (Matthew 18:1-4)
- He values the beauty of the inner person (1 Peter 3:4)
Might may be seen through deeds of courage or physical strength, but it can surely manifest in the strength of one’s inner man.
Later on, Gideon displayed all the characteristics of the valiant: hearing and obeying the call of God, tearing down the altars of Baal, gathering and uniting the Israelites for battle, and courageously driving out the Midianites.
Likewise, let us learn from Gideon—to not only be valiant outwardly, but to strengthen our inner man for God looks at the heart and not just what meets the eye.