the LORD sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of slavery in Egypt
and rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you their land.
I told you, 'I am the LORD your God. You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.' But you have not listened to me."
Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the oak tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash had been threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.
The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, "Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!"
"Sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn't they say, 'The LORD brought us up out of Egypt'? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites."
Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!"
"But Lord," Gideon replied, "how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!"
The LORD said to him, "I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man."
Gideon replied, "If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the LORD speaking to me.
Don't go away until I come back and bring my offering to you. "The LORD answered, "I will stay here until you return."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)