“Pardon me, my Lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” – Judges 6:13 NIV
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The Israelites had done the usual which is the committing of evil in the eyes of the Lord – Josh. 6:1. Evil from the biblical perspective is usually the abandoning of the worship of the Almighty God for the total or partial worship of another god just like the Christian today occasionally does. It is difficult to understand or proffer all the reasons why someone who has experienced the grace of God, immediately turns away from Him at the slightest delay or none granting of the next request, to worship another god. It seems the human race just does not understand what loyalty means outside personal gains.
The Almighty God however seems also to be ready to react with various types of punishments that may be appropriate for each occasion and on this occasion, the penalty was to hand them over to the Midianites. Likewise, most of these nations or people whom God has decided to use as a tool of rebuke seem to be those who always have their own agenda, with God’s action being like an opportunity served on a platter of gold, for them to carry out that agenda as they seize the divinely provided opportunity with both hands and actually move the punishment from rebuke to destruction levels. The Midianites on this occasion were not different as within a period of seven years, they afflicted the Israelites so much that most of them ran away from their homes and built shelters for themselves on mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. In a manner that seemed the Midianites wanted the Israelites to starve to death, they targeted their farms and livestock, constantly attacking and destroying them and the Israelites were powerless against them, as it was the Lord that was strengthening the hands of the Midianites against them – Judges 6:2-6.
Like they and even the Christian today always doea, especially after their new god has failed to save them as expected, they run back to the Lord confessing and admitting their errors, with the ever compassionate God always willing to accept them back, just as He did on this occasion, but not before letting them know their offence by sending a message through a prophet who told them of God’s unhappiness with them for their spiritual adultery – Judges 6:7-10.
With the people showing so much remorse for their evil act, the Almighty God set the process of forgiveness and restoration into motion by identifying His choice of leader to take the people out of their bondage and oppression. He sent an angel to Gideon, son of Joash the Abiezrite who was threshing wheat in a wine press. The greetings of the angel is the foundation scripture for today’s devotion. In approaching Gideon,
- He addresses him as a mighty warrior.
- He told him that the Lord was with him.
Both comments must have sounded like a huge joke to Gideon who before then had not fought the kind of battle that can qualify him as a mighty warrior and worse still, the angel was talking about God being with him. He wondered how in the world God can be with him, and his people are having their current experience. It is probably not the same God that they have heard perform all those deliverance acts but if it is the same God, then he has obviously abandoned them (Judges 6:13) so where is the statement of His being with him coming from?
In what seemed like the angel did not hear Gideon’s response, he told him to “go in the strength he has” and save his people from the clutches of the Midianites with assurance that the Almighty God was with the one sending him – Judges 6:14. With additional requests for proof which he got, he eventually did as he was instructed and he delivered his people from the Midianites.
The chronicle of events sounds interesting but there are some facts for the Christian today to note and probably work with for success in life.
- God can still be with you even when you are going through debasing situations. Being in that challenging situation does not mean that God is absent. It could just mean that you have not done enough or positioned yourself for God to be active – Matt. 8:23-27.
- The way you see yourself may not be the true picture of who you are. The Christian should not allow the condition he/she is in to make him/her forget who he/she is – Lk. 15:17-20.
- The situation you find yourself should not defeat you to the point that you lose confidence in yourself. The Christian irrespective of what life throws at him/her should never stop believing in what he/she is capable of doing for as long as he/she remains in Christ Jesus. Even in the fallen state of Samson, he was still able to muster enough ability to kill more in death than when alive – Judges 16:23-31.
- What you need to overcome your challenge may not always have to come from outside as it may be with you but waiting for activation by God. Never look too far for the solution to your challenge. God Himself had promised that we will never face any challenge greater than what we can cope with – 1Cor. 10:13.
Do not let your situation overcome you especially if it is the result of God reacting to your errors. Remain confident that reconciliation with him will lead to your restoration. The Midianites may look powerful but that is because the Almighty God decided to strengthen their hands against you. Retracing your way back to God will immediately render them powerless and you will be re-instated. Do not let your transgressions make you lose your personality. God will always be with you but your sins will keep Him inactive. Do all you can to receive His forgiveness and his activities will be re-awakened in your life. Then you will be able to overcome all those enemies that are taking advantage of your strained relationship with Him. May God help you as you strive to repair all the damages in your relationship with Him in Jesus name. Amen.