Advent Devotional | December 15, 2020
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?” Judges 6:11-14
“We are the Bibles the world is reading; we are the creeds the world is needing; we are the sermons the world is heeding.” – Billy Graham
Before King Leonidas of Sparta and an underdog force of 300 men fought the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C., there was Gideon! Nobody talks about Gideon the same way they talk about Leonidas, but they should. Gideon was a complete underdog. He was the least among the weakest, which should clue you in that he’s God’s kind of man. He wouldn’t qualify for a Hollywood film like King Leonidas. Lesser known and far from a famous story in culture, Gideon asks a question about as mainstream as it gets in 2020: Why God? Don’t we all have this in common with Gideon? Of course. We must pay close attention though because his heroism is on full display through how he responds to God’s answer.
It was unexpected that God would choose Gideon. What was expected was that God would do something. It sounds a lot like Jesus’ advent to me. People are hopeful that God will show up because He promised to; however, when He does not act the way they think he should, the why questions start flying! Gideon was no different. He offers a classic response of which any of us are capable. “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” Here we see the incredible work of God. In response, God asks His own question. “Am I not sending you?”
If this Christmas weighs on you because of our current circumstances, by all means ask “why,” if you dare! God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The way that God responded to Gideon and led him to victory will be the same for you and me. You may not get the detailed playbook of why the events of 2020 unfolded as they did, but you sure will hear the call of God to stop wallowing in your worry and get in the game. When you feel the “why” question coming on, go ahead and immediately reply with God’s answer to it: “Am I not sending you?”
Pastor Dave Mergens