The champions recorded in the Bible experienced great difficulty, even impossible situations, yet they prevailed in the most difficult of times. These were ordinary men and women who, during hard times, triumphed over every obstacle when they obeyed the Lord's instructions. Whether they encountered sickness, poverty, weakness, imprisonment, or hunger, God's power was strong on their behalf—that is, as long as they obeyed Him. But if they ever turned away from the Lord, they opened the door for serious trouble.
On one occasion after Israel turned to other gods, they suffered seven years of terrorism at the hands of the Midianites (see Judges 6:1). The Midianites' intense cruelty forced Israel to retreat to the mountains and hide in caves. Year after year, Israel would plant and cultivate their crops, but just before harvest time the Midianites would arrive in such overwhelming numbers that it looked like an invasion of locusts had swept over the land.
The invading forces would camp in the fields, destroying the crops and reducing Israel to severe poverty and despair. These outlaws didn't raid Israel's camp to bring back food to feed their own families. They destroyed Israel's crops so the people would starve. The Midianites intimidated, violated, and brutalized the people of God.
But God had not forsaken His people. Even though their own disobedience had opened the door to suffering at the hands of their enemies, God still had a plan to deliver them. That deliverance would come through a most unlikely source—a young man from the tribe of Manasseh named Gideon.
The divine call came to Gideon after one of the Midianites' assaults on Israel's land. He was busy scraping together some leftover wheat to hide in a wine press, out of view from the Midianites, when suddenly he heard a voice say, "...The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour" (Judges 6:12 KJV).
At the sound of this voice, Gideon froze. Could it be the voice of a sneering Midianite who had returned to kill him? Perhaps it was Gideon's neighbor who had seen him gathering food and had come to steal the wheat for his own family.
Then Gideon looked up and saw that it was an angel of the Lord who had spoken. "Sir," Gideon replied, "if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about?..." (Judges 6:13 NLT).
Gideon's immediate response to the angel revealed his own lack of strong faith. Instead of recognizing that the Lord had sent an angel in answer to Israel's cries, Gideon immediately began accusing God, asking, "Why has this happened to us?" and "Where are the miracles?"
The Lord had already sent a prophet to warn the Israelites. However, they had refused to listen or obey the Lord (v. 10) and as a result, they were now being oppressed by their enemies. Yet rather than take responsibility for Israel's rebellion, Gideon blamed God for the problems he and his people were suffering.
Gideon complained, "...Where are all the miracles...?" He was so focused on and overwhelmed by the problems his people faced that he didn't even recognize the fact that the miracle they'd been crying out for was standing right in front of him!
We cannot allow ourselves to become like Gideon—so focused on our problems that we don't recognize the answer when God sends it to us.
- Excerpt from the
Yielding to the Holy Spirit
The work of the Holy Spirit is to take the treasures of His wealth and bring them to the surface in your life. From the moment of the New Birth, the Holy Spirit comes to you working to restore, build and strength... read more