“If the LORD is With Us, Why?”

“The angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. [He] appeared to him and said, ‘The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.’ And Gideon said to him, ‘Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, “Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?” But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.’ And the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?’ And he said to him, ‘Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house…’

“Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. [He] said, ‘Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.’ Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace.”  Judges 6:11-15,22-24a

Israel was under suffocating, destructive oppression from the Midianites, and God’s favor seemed a distant reality. When the angel appeared to the earnest, hard-working Gideon, his message was hard to understand. ‘The LORD with us? Then why these seven years of unrelenting, merciless opposition?’ His reply turns Gideon’s supposition upside down. ‘Go and save Israel. I’m sending you and I will be with you.’ Gideon rose from the weight of his circumstances to look God in the face. (Judges 6:1-10)

That was the message: ‘Lift your eyes! I am the Lord, I am sending you, I will be with you. Focus no further on all the small what-ifs and whys. I give you might and peace. You are not forsaken, but rather, favored and called as a man of valor for a great deliverance.’

When circumstances are grim, the Lord is with us. When the enemy cuts off hope and seems to deplete us of sustenance and joy, the Lord is with us. When we’re called to tasks larger than our abilities, the Lord is with us. When we’re threatened and attacked for faithful obedience to God, the Lord is with us. Instead of looking at our hard situations and wondering why and how, we can look to Jehovah Shalom who is with us always. From where is God calling me today to see Him anew? He’s designing the big picture. Looking to Jesus transforms how we see our troubles in a magnificent way. (Judges 6:25-30)

“O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.” ~Helen Howarth Lemmell (1922)

Lord, clothe me with Your Spirit, that I may wholly trust your presence with me. Help me, without question and with confidence, to live out Your purposes and bear forth Your glory. (Judges 6:34)

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