After a really twisted victory song including the lyrics: “she smashed his head” and a sad mocking of the man’s mother, possibly looking out her window, wondering why her son is late for dinner, we meet the next sin cycle and judge: Gideon.
Israel has, once again, flung themselves into evil practices and this time the foreign oppressor is Midian. Despite numerous warning and pleas to remain faithful, they’ve rebelled and begun reaping what they’ve sown. It would be entirely just for God to leave them in this state (his fathers household has alters to Baal and Asherah), but instead He comes to them to rescue His people, and this is the welcome He gets:
“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.” (6:13)
Hello, LORD, I can’t believe you did this to us, I thought you were on our side!
This response is waaaaaaaay too familiar. I think we’ve all said/thought it at least once. Drowning in the consequences of our own actions, we judge God to be a liar.
Still the angel arrives with the greeting: “the LORD is with you, O valiant warrior!”
Gideon is full of fear and hesitation, but the LORD remains upbeat and even complies with numerous requests for signs.
Gideon mentions the LORD’s power against Egypt, perhaps as a “why don’t your reign down plagues from the sky again?”, but God has already begun to introduce a theme to His people: I want to do this WITH YOU. I want to USE YOU to affect change. I told Abraham I would MAKE HIM A BLESSING to all nations.
Sure it’s easy to God to rain down fire from heaven (heck, His presence existed as a constant pillar of fire), but what is truly impressive is how He can bring about beauty, justice and change through deeply broken people. This is the hope I glean from Gideon’s story. He is a scared man with few resources and God calls him valiant.
What could God do through you today? Are you available to be used as His conduit of blessing?