Written by Jon Matthews
I hate when people don’t answer a specific question I ask them. You have a perfectly logical question, at least it is to you, and they will completely bypass answering it like they would a slow driver in the right lane. It’s frustrating. It makes you feel like you are unimportant, and they don’t care enough to listen. At least, that’s how I feel when it happens to me. I can’t imagine what my biblical friend, Gideon, in Judges Chapter 6 felt like.
Imagine this scene…you are a citizen of Israel, and your particular tribe lives in a mountainous region. You’re living just north of the Dead Sea, because you are trying to seek shelter from the Midianite army that is continuously hounding you and your family. They’re stealing your food. They’re stealing your animals. They stay like unwanted houseguests until they acquire everything you own and then they leave you with nothing. It has gotten so bad that you are now living and hiding out in the best cave you can find for shelter. Ever been at that place in life where you felt like running to a cave because that was your last resort?
So, the Israelites cry out to God for help because the situation seems hopeless. What they’re really looking for is a savior; someone to “rally the troops” and take back what is theirs. God agrees and comes to them while they’re hiding food under a winepress so the Midianites won’t find it. This is the story of Gideon. I can’t imagine this as a way of life, literally. I’ve been down and out with my face in a mud puddle. But this? This is crazy.
Then God calls out to Gideon saying, “Mighty Hero, the Lord is with you.” (Judges 6:12 NLT) Wait a second. Isn’t this the guy who’s trying to sneak around hiding food all while trying not to get caught? How is he a hero? I’m not sure at this point, but I can totally relate to how Gideon replies, “Sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” (Judges 6:13 NLT) I wish that I could say that I would have responded differently, but I can’t. Gideon is essentially calling God out on the mat because of everything he and his family have gone through. He was at a place of complete despair and frustration. He was ready to give up on God. And, he wanted God to answer for the pain.
I doubt I even have to ask you if you’ve ever been to a point when you demanded an answer from God, because most of us have. Each of us has a scar left over from a battle that we thought would never end. The truth is…there’s never an easy answer as to why something happened.
God didn’t kill that young girl hit by a drunk driver.
God didn’t cause a family to rip apart.
God didn’t cause cancer to invade your husband’s body.
God didn’t cause your job to disappear.
And, in this case, Israel had turned their back on what was good and when He was convenient, God became the solution for their bad choices. With all of that said, the pain we feel is still very real no matter how the situation came about. Remember how I told you I hated when my question was ignored? When I first read this passage, I thought that is exactly what God did to Gideon. It wasn’t until I reread it that I saw He didn’t. Here’s how God responded, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (Judges 6:14 NLT) You see…God didn’t dwell on an answer that would have been useless for ushering in change from the past, but He focused on the solution for how to move on even when Gideon didn’t have much to move on with. God gave Gideon what he needed that day.
That’s my prayer for you today: let go of an answer that won’t change what happened to you. Instead, seek the answer that will lead to a new life and God’s incredible plan for you.