JUDGES 6 AND 7
These chapters are the perfect ones if your circumstances have ever led you to ask, “Pardon me, Lord, but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (6:13)
As I reflected on these chapters this morning, I could relate to Gideon’s questions, hesitation, AND his need to ask God for signs in order to move forward with a plan that was WAAAAAAY beyond what he knew he could handle. I’m sharing my thoughts as I read through this passage this morning because I have been strongly LED to do so… someone must need these truths today like I did!
Just to start out with… in THIS case, the Israelites WERE doing evil in the sight of the Lord. Sometimes our actions have “natural consequences” to them that God allows and are pretty painful. Other times, we wrestle with God because we have NOT been “doing evil in His sight” and He STILL allows profound loss, trauma, annoyances, and other circumstances that are beyond our control into our lives. There are two BIG things God has shown me about that. One of them shows up right here in this passage in verse 6… 1) God’s desire, motive, intention, and will is that WE WOULD BE DRAWN TO HIM, come running to HIM, need HIM, and in this case, “cry out to HIM.” And 2) He made all things GOOD, but we live in a BROKEN world. It was that first Fall into sin that ruined it for the rest of us and brought death… God’s been with us bailing us out and making a way for us to be saved ever since… THAT is here in this passage too… “WHEN the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, He sent them a prophet.” (vs 7) As SOON as they cried out, He was right there to talk to them and He said (and I paraphrase),
“Look at all that I’ve done for you in the past… I brought you up, I rescued you, I delivered you, I drove your enemies away from you and I told you not to worship the “little g gods” of the other people, BUT YOU HAVE NOT LISTENED TO ME.” (8-10)
STILL! When God sits down with Gideon as the “angel of the Lord,” He refers to Gideon as “mighty warrior!” Even on our darkest day, God doesn’t see us like WE do! So, I’ll repeat that here for YOU… place your name in the blank and read it aloud…
“_______________, the Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Gideon’s FIRST response to that is the one I STARTED with (super politely, though! lol) – and haven’t we ALL at least WANTED to say this to God?! – “Pardon me, Lord, but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? You’ve abandoned us!”
Then, it’s as if God told Gideon (again, I’m paraphrasing), “I heard your prayers and your crying out and YOU are the answer to your OWN prayers.” (14) “Go in the strength you HAVE and save your people out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
THIS is where I completely relate to Gideon! He says, again politely, “Pardon me, Lord, but I can’t, I’m too weak…” (Moses said that to God too, by the way! Remember he said, “send someone else.” He said it politely too! See Exodus 4:13. Don’t laugh too hard…there’s a pattern with US here!)
God’s response, His character, and His faithfulness are what we need to see when the circumstances stink. What does He say here? “I will be with you.”
God also allowed Gideon to ask for a SIGN that he would be successful and that everything would come out ok. He didn’t HAVE to do that for Gideon, but He DID because He knew his heart and He LOVED him! God SHOWED HIMSELF to him when Gideon ASKED him to! And, when Gideon realized he had indeed SEEN GOD, the Lord said to him (and He says to US too!) in verse 23),
“Peace! DO NOT BE AFRAID.”
“So Gideon did as the Lord told him.” (27) THAT simple. Just a couple things to note from here, read of the victory yourself in chapter 7…
NOTE: At JUST the right time, the Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon and GAVE HIM STRENGTH. (34) He kept His promise to be with him and give him the strength to DO what he had been told to do.
Then, there’s the famous “FLEECE TEST…”
And THEN, AFTER God shows Gideon the sign that He WOULD indeed save Israel, He “thins out” the army – REMEMBER that Gideon had already pointed out their weakness to the Lord! J
Once Gideon and his tiny army, at the VERY end of themselves and realized they COULD NOT do what God had asked them to do ON THEIR OWN, GOD SHOWED UP in a way that was EXCEEDINGLY more glorious than it would have been if He would have just eliminated the annoying Midianites quietly. PLUS, remember that the Israelites had been doing evil in the eyes of the LORD! Yet, when they turned to Him, cried out to Him, and TRUSTED and OBEYED His seemingly impossible plan… GLORIOUS DELIVERANCE!
THE LORD IS PEACE. Walk in it boldly today, Mighty Warrior.