As I mentioned before when discussing Abraham, God has a beautiful pattern we see multiple times in Scripture. He starts to intervene in someone’s life, gives them a new name, and then changes their character to fit the new name. He did this with Abraham, Jacob, and Peter. He also showed that tendency in this passage, so let’s examine it for a moment.
Once again, God’s people turned away from him, and he returned the favor. He allowed the Midianites to oppress them, whose specialty seemed to be in crop theft and destruction. In an agricultural society which depended on this year’s crops to feed us this year, this would be a matter of life and death. The people called out to the Lord, and he finally graciously intervened.
His angel visited Gideon, and this was not the most promising start for a Deliverer of Israel. God’s messenger found him threshing wheat in a winepress in order to hide from the marauders. The angel called him by a new title-“Mighty warrior!” or “Hero!” I was a fan of comic-book superheroes as a kid, but this is not how I'd envision Superman or Spiderman or Batman. The frightened farmer reacted as you might expect him to (“Who, me?”), but from that point forward, God started to change him. He slowly turned him from a coward hiding in a winepress into a military leader who trusted the Lord so much that he was willing to send most of his army home when so directed. The God of Israel won a great victory through this man, but it all started with a name change.
How about you and me? Am I reflecting my name change? I was called a lot of names as a kid, but I learned later that God has some new names for me. He calls me “beloved child,” “holy one,” and “my heir.” If that’s what he calls me, what does it matter what someone else does?
Father, how precious is your claim on me. You have stamped your seal of ownership on me, and I belong to you and no one else.