Shoftim 6:11 opens with the following statement:
“And an angel of Hashem came and sat under the oak tree in Ofra that belonged to Yoash Aviezri; and Gidon his son was threshing wheat in the winepress in order to flee from before Midyan.”
It does not yet exist for them. (But it's there.)
Gidon is the youngest son in the smallest family (Aviezer) in the smallest tribe (Menashe) in a Nation that is terrorized under the thumb of the camel-riding, crescent-sporting Midyanites. (Gosh, this sounds so familiar...)
In other words, Gidon isn’t a remotely important or notable personality — yet.
Commenting on this verse, Rashi describes Gidon as saying to his father:
“Abba, you are old and if the Midyanim will come, you will not be able to flee. You go, and I will thresh.”
"My father, you are old. Enter into your home and I will thresh because if the Midyanim will come, you don't have within you the strength to flee."
Then verse 6:12 states:
“An angel of Hashem appeared to Gidon and said, ‘Hashem is with you, mighty one of valor’.”
From Nebbuch to Navi!
An authentic honest-to-gosh angel of Hashem pops out in front of Gidon and declares him a “gibur chayil—a mighty one of valor” to his face.
That's when the angel said in the name of God, "You have upheld the mitzvah of honoring [honoring your father] and you are suited to that all of my children shall immediately be redeemed by your hand." (Radak)
But there was one other reason why Gidon was chosen.
How did Gidon merit an angel waiting outside for him in the first place?
Radak explains that the night before was Leil Haseder of Pesach. So Gidon said to Hashem (in addition to the text of the book of Shoftim):
"Last night, we read the Hallel and my father recited to me, 'When Yisrael went out of Egypt' — If our forefathers were tzaddikim, then perform a miracle for us in their merit. And if they were reshaim, then just as you performed for them, perform a miracle for us too."
"By your life! Because you acted as a defender [sanigor] for My children, you are worth Me speaking with you immediately."
[Radak 6:11, Rashi & Rav Tanchuma]
Just like that.
How to Activate an Angel
After Gidon innocently made his pro-Am Yisrael comment privately to Hashem, he kept going about his business.
(Also, Gidon was not doing any overt act of kedushah. On the contrary, the whole thing SEEMED quite mundane & harassing.)
Yet in the merit of that private statement of merit for Am Yisrael, the angel popped over to wait nearby.
So as Gidon was threshing away under stress, the angel was there THE WHOLE TIME.
It was waiting for Gidon’s next big moment (which Gidon did not perceive as big, but just normal concern for his father).
Radak comments on the oddness of verse 6:11's description of the angel sitting under the tree:
“It doesn’t mean 'sitting' because angels aren't seen sitting but standing — like 'and the angel of Hashem stands and behold, a man stands before him.'
"On the contrary, [the text] means to say that [the angel] waited there under the tree until Gidon turned to it and when he didn’t turn to it, it appeared before him...”
It only appeared once Gidon triggered its manifestation with his words.
(See? There are some good triggers in life.)
And I think that’s a massive lesson.
Maybe you unknowingly triggered an angel to your area...yet you have no idea.
Maybe it’s waiting for you to activate it with your "simple" innocent deeds of good-heartedness.