“If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles, which our fathers told us about?”
– Judges 6: 13 (NKJV)
Israel faced many trials, transitions, and persecutions. Their way of living was evil in the sight of the Lord (Judges 6:1-10). So, God delivered them into the hands of the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the children of the East who bordered Israel. He allowed their enemies to raid them for seven years. The annual raid took place around harvest time. Israel’s crops were destroyed, and their livestock stolen which ravaged the land. The Israelites lived in fear; some even fled to caves in the mountains, and most people lived in deep poverty. The Israelites were gravely impoverished; they could not survive without their harvest and livestock. Their desperately needed provisions were gone. Weary from hiding and struggling, they cried out to God.
As an answer to their cries, God met with Gideon around about the eighth Midianite invasion. At that time, Gideon was a struggling farmer who attempted to stay alive by threshing wheat in secret (Judges 6:11). Gideon did not doubt the existence of God, but he struggled with understanding why God had worked mightily on behalf of Israel in the past, and yet He did not do the same now. Seven years of suffering had gone past; and, he was trying to make sense of what was happening, and when it would end.
I can imagine the questions on his mind, ‘Does God care? Does God know what He’s doing? Will He take care of us? Will He keep His promises? Why are we living in poverty, fear, and hiding in caves? If God is with us, where is He? Is He gone? Does He even exist?
God spoke to Gideon and helped him to see things as God saw things. Gideon realized that God was speaking to Israel through the Midianites, Amalekites, and people from the East (Judges 6: 3). First, he realized that God was allowing the trials and hardships to take place because of the nation’s sin and disobedience. God wanted to get their attention and lead them to repentance. God desired for them to return to Him. He wanted to restore them. Secondly, Gideon recognized that his circumstances blurred his view on life, but that God was still with them. Thirdly, he realized that God still cared. God appeared and revealed Himself to Gideon and invited him to join Him on His mission. God desired to work in and through him to bless the nation; but he had to believe, adjust his life, and accept His invitation (Judges 6:11-14).
Gideon struggled with faith and was a bit of a coward. However, Gideon remains a great encouragement to people who also struggle to have faith in God. Many people have a hard time believing that God can use them, transform them, and change their current circumstances. The Lord can and wants to use anyone for His purpose and glory (see 2 Chronicles 16:9). He is just waiting for someone to believe Him, trust Him enough to adjust their lives, and follow Him. Would you be that someone?
Prayer: Father, thank you that you want to use me, even though I am afraid and struggle with having faith in You. Please help me to believe and trust you. Amen