Scripture Reading: Judges 6:1-40, Psalm 127:1, James 1:16-17
When we read Judges 6, we see that Gideon is certainly having a low moment. We find this youngest son from the weakest tribe crouching in the winepress trying to thresh wheat in secret, so the mighty Midianite army won’t get a whiff of his harvest and swoop down to steal it. All of Israel was feeling abandoned by God and their hearts were confused and resentful. Every time they tried to get back up, they were gleefully knocked down by some neighboring pagan army. God’s chosen people wondered if He had given up on them and chosen someone else to love, protect, and set apart for Himself.
But Israel wasn’t down because God had forgotten them. They were hiding in caves because they had stubbornly and persistently chased after evil for many years. They had established traditions and patterns that avoided God altogether. The paths their feet traced in their homes and in their towns led them in the ways of wickedness. They were in a rut, and it’s hard to look up and figure your way out of habitual sin.
It takes something dramatic to turn our hearts back toward God.
Gideon was trudging his sweaty rut like the rest of Israel, when an angel of the Lord appeared to him. Why would an angel appear to him? It wasn’t because Gideon was the one honorable man among thousands; it was because God’s time was right to raise up a leader in Israel. It is God who marks the seasons, who raises up leaders, and who brings down empires. “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor over it in vain” (Psalm 127:1). All other planning and plotting is futile.
I’ve never had to hide from an army, but I have had some low moments. I’m sure many of us can remember feeling confused and resentful at some point. In spite of our doubts and ruts, and the habitual trails that lead us to wickedness, God can lift us up to victory with Him. Gideon didn’t just decide to grit his teeth and pitch his military plan to the leaders. God chose him, called him, and promised him victory “as if Mideon were one man” (Judges 6:16).
Whatever your circumstances may be today, don’t let them scare you. Don’t let the worn pathways of sin lure you into hopelessness. Don’t be deceived by the voices that tell you that your sin is too great, that your habits can never be broken. Our God can rescue and redeem even the most lost. He is light in the blackest night. Run to the One who controls the sea and the stars, and trust Him with your darkest secrets.