One of the most wonderful things about the Bible is its reality. It depicts man as he really is, with all his doubts and fears and questions. It shows us ourselves … and then it shows us our all-sufficient God.
The Israelites were under the bondage of the Midianites. A reluctant leader named Gideon asked the same question everyone has asked down through the ages when tragedy strikes: “Where is God?”
The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.” Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, 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, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” The LORD looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” (Judges 6:12-14 NASB).
Perhaps you’ve been asking the same question lately.
The Lord had answered this question earlier. Israel was in this mess because, as a nation, they had walked away from God. This is often the answer. When they cried out to the Lord, He heard their cry (which He always will) and sent a prophet to remind them once again of the root problem.
So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the LORD. Now it came about when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD on account of Midian, that the LORD sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, and he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt and brought you out from the house of slavery. I delivered you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hands of all your oppressors, and dispossessed them before you and gave you their land, and I said to you, “I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed Me”’” (Judges 6:6-10).
What was happening to the nation was a result of forsaking God. He had not walked away from them, but the opposite was true.
And this is often the case with us. We forsake God, telling Him in a thousand ways that we don’t want Him in our lives, our families, our nation. His greatest judgment is simply removing His hand of protection and letting us have the supposed “freedom from God” that we want. And the result is always bondage.
When Gideon asked, “Where are you, God?” God ignored that question (it had already been answered) and went straight to the solution He had planned all along.
He told Gideon to get up and lead the people to defeat the enemy. God had a deliverer waiting in the wings, right under Gideon’s nose. Literally.
It took some convincing. In his fear, Gideon thought he was too small for such a job. But God reminded him that when God is with a man, there is always a majority.
The LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man” (Judges 6:16, also v. 12).
He took Gideon, whittled his army of 33,000 men down to 300 (just to show him that man’s strength is not the issue), and defeated Midian in a rout. All of this illustrated the amazing truth we must never forget …
God Is Here
He is waiting on us to come to our senses and cry out to Him. If we will turn in humble repentance, He will hear our cry and send the deliverance we need.
If we continue to look to ourselves with prideful self-sufficiency, He will let us go on in our feeble self-help program to bring us to the end of ourselves. We are made to live on God, and in His perfect love for us, He will use whatever means necessary to remind us.
Dear Lord, forgive us for our arrogance and independence. Forgive us for forsaking You, vainly thinking that we know best. Do whatever is necessary to bring us back to our rightful place of dependency on the One who loves us and created us. And when we stray, let us feel the weight of our wandering, and bring us home.