Series: Gideon – Gideon #5 (text- judges 6:1-13)
Has God abandoned you?
Is it possible for you to make such dire choices that God will just write you off and give up on you?
Have you ever had doubts that God is with you?
As followers of Jesus we often say to others in the midst of challenging circumstances “God is with you, he will get you through.”
However, for many, they do not believe it themselves. The question of where is God? is one that all of humanity asks in one way or another. It has been a question throughout history. There is so much hurt and brokenness we wonder just where is God. The truth is some have been affected by so much hurt it has scared them in deep ways. For some, it has blurred their perspective on life and driven them away from God. For some, it has had the opposite effect and it has driven them toward God.
In the story of Gideon, he believes that God has abandoned his people.
In Judges 6:13 Gideon responds to God physically showing up in his life by asking a great question– a question we have all asked or thought at one time.
“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?”
Gideon has assumed that God has abandoned them because of all the bad things that are taking place in their life. We have all been there. Suffering is part of the human experience, none of us are alone in this matter. For some, they feel as a result of suffering or a personal failure that God must have abandoned them.
In the Old Testament, God gave a promise for his people. This promise is not there for us who follow Jesus, as we are under what the bible calls the new covenant. However, it helps us understand Gideon and our own journey today.
God promised, if they followed God, they will not have any nations ruling over them and their farms will succeed. The problem was this was not their experience at the time. They also came to believe that to not obey God meant God left them. This would not be so.
We know in the passage that some of the circumstances they found themselves in came as a result of not listening to God, ignoring the road he called them to live (Judges 6:10). God is like a life-giving fountain, and since they have stopped drinking from it, they have become confused and lost. In this confusion and suffering, they blame God for the circumstances, even though they did not want anything to do with him.
Here is the key, even in the valley God is there. Even in dark circumstances that he could have stopped but did not, he still loves and cares for us. This is hard to understand at times. In the midst of brokenness and hurt and earthly failure, Jesus is calling us to follow him and journey with him. He is calling us to his road of life and has not given up on us even when circumstance may feel like he has.
Jesus said I will never leave you (Matthew 28:20). Jesus is a reminder that God is with us. Jesus is our great shepherd who left the 99 sheep to find the one who got lost. This great shepherd, we are reminded of in psalm 23, he meets us in the dark valley sometimes and just sits there with us.
Our bad or good circumstances are not a determining factor of if God is with us or not. This is what we see here in the story of Gideon. Even though they wanted nothing to do with God, he is still working a way for them to come back to him and experience the flourishing life.
At times I, like Gideon, ask where is this Jesus that has performed signs and wonders? Where is this power of the Holy Spirit I see and read about in scripture and other local bodies of believers? Where are all his wonders that our fore fathers told us about. God must not be in this because I do not see it.
Yet the story of Gideon reminds us that God is there; he does not abandon his people. Jesus reminds us that storms will come and if we build our life on him, the storm will not destroy us. We see throughout the book of Judges that God is at work in both the larger picture and the small picture.
So we live in this tension. The tension of our emotions, challenging circumstances and declaration from Jesus that he is with us. Somehow through that restoration will come.
The issue for the people in Gideon’s time was they stopped listening to God. In the midst of the circumstances you find yourself in, what characteristic of God do you need to remember and trust in this moment? It is in listening to God that we are led to life and restored to living as we were created to be. It is a journey, but this is a foundational truth.
Though your circumstances make you feel like God has abandoned you, fix your life eyes on Jesus and live the life you were created for.