We have been looking at Hebrew genealogies in the last couple of Nuggets. In this Nugget I want to focus on one name only, but this one name is indicative of many names in the Bible which carry huge meaning. As I have told you already, Hebrew names carry meaning for a number of reasons. One of the motivating factors for naming your child could be the conditions into which he or she were born. It was like that in Gideon’s time. Gideon lived at a particular time in Israel’s history that was especially difficult. For seven years Midianites oppressed the Jews to the point where the Jews hid from their enemies in the hills, in caves and holes in the ground. The Midianites would swoop down and attack the Jews and carry off plunder and most especially food, provisions and all of their animals.
So we pick up the story in Judges 6 where Gideon is threshing wheat in a wine press, a hole in the ground, in order to hide from the Midianites. What Gideon was actually doing was holding a stalk of wheat and banging on it with a stick to knock the grain off. Wine presses were not known for their height. The description paints a rather sad picture. An angel appears before Gideon in the winepress and says to him, “The Lord is with you mighty warrior.” Many have people have named their sons Gideon because they think Gideon’s name means Mighty Warrior. Be careful to research the Hebrew name you might want to give your child. There are many word plays in the Bible concerning names.
What the angel actually said was, “The Lord is with you Gibeor.” Gibeor means Mighty Warrior. Gideon could have been forgiven if he had said, “Some angel you are. You have my name wrong. I am Gideon not Gibeor. Gibeor lives over on the other side of the ridge. He is the mighty warrior, not me.” Instead Gideon responded, Well if God is with us then why are these things happening. The Lord has abandonned us while the Midianites attack us.
The angel said to Gideon, “You are the one to save Israel from the Midianites. Go in the strength you now have. I am sending you.” At this point Gideon is shocked and recites his pedigree. Again he could have said, “Angel you must have the wrong man. I am not Gibeor. I am not the mighty warrior you are looking for. I come from the half tribe of Manesseh, synonymous with weakness and lacking strength in numbers. My clan within the whole tribe of Manesseh is the weakest of all and I am the puniest in my family. You have got the wrong man. Go and find Gibeor; he’s the mighty warrior you want, not me.”
Why did Gideon respond in this way? Because of the meaning of his name Gideon. Gibeor means Mighty Warrior while Gideon means “shattered in pieces little one”. There is a huge play on words in this passage and the two names are so similiar in sound but in meaning they are polar opposites. That is the point of the angel’s visit and approach to Gideon, the one who feels shattered in little pieces, unable to rise. God doesn’t choose his servants for the strength they possess. If He did the pattern would be like the world. No, God chooses those who will do mighty exploits for Him to show His own power working through them.
The same principle holds true these days and for you. So go, step out in faith, in the strength that you have now. God does indeed know your name; He doesn’t have you mixed up with someone else. He knows everything about you, he even knows the number of hairs on your head now. What might shock you is that He has them numbered in order so he knows you just lost hair strand 1,087. So go in the strength and power that He will give you.