Bible Reading: Judges 6:11-16
The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." "Pardon me, my lord," Gideon replied, "but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, 'Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian." The Lord turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" "Pardon me, my lord," Gideon replied, "but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." The Lord answered, "I will be with you."
A few years ago, Helen and I had a holiday in South Africa, during which we spent four or five days in the Kruger National Park. Before we booked we had expected to join a party in a Jeep, with a guide and ample protection, but no, we went in our own hire car and drove through the vast park at our own pace, having booked the nights at different safari lodges. But, with the lodges around 30 miles apart and linked by narrow roads and tracks, the question remained ‘What do you do when you need the loo?’ Going behind a bush was not recommended!
Fear can be a very debilitating emotion, robbing us of our peace and often preventing us doing what we want to do or from making important decisions. Fear can be very rational, as in the Safari Park, or very irrational – spiders really won't hurt you!
Gideon’s fear of the Midianites was rational in his mind. They had invaded and overrun Israel, they had destroyed the crops, killed the animals and so impoverished the people that they called out to God for help. Gideon, though, is hidden away in a wine press threshing wheat in order to keep his precious harvest safe for his family.
But Gideon’s rational fear hadn’t taken account of God’s strength or of God's presence.
God chose Gideon to lead his people against the Midianites, not because Gideon was combat trained and battle hardened; he wasn’t. God chose Gideon because he knew his own limitations and would therefore rely on God's strength and follow God's plans. Read his fill story in Judges chapters 6 to 8.
Are there problems facing you today that you don’t know how to deal with? Do not let fear cause you to hide away, instead listen to God saying to you ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. Go in the strength you have; I will be with you’.
Today we are overrun, not by a foreign power, but by a virus. Let us do as Gideon’s people did and call out to God for help. Let us be mighty warriors in prayer.
Thank you Lord that, even in these difficult times, you are with us.
We call out to you now ‘Help us!’
Give wisdom to all who lead us in this battle, that we might know your deliverance.
In this time of desperation