YOU Fix it!
The place is a secret field of grain that Gideon is trying to keep hidden from the marauding Midianites. The Midianites had become Israel’s oppressors—the Hebrews were on one of their “down” cycles and being disciplined by God. Judges 6:7 tells us that they finally cried out to God for help. And so the angel of the Lord appears to Gideon.
“When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (6:12).
Take a little breather here for a second. Non-Christians blame God for just about everything bad that happens. Christians blame the devil (not understanding that Satan can only do what God gives him permission to do), and sometimes we are even bold enough to ask God why He doesn’t fix the evil in the world. Gideon was no exception.
“‘But sir,’ Gideon replied, ‘if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the wonders that our fathers told us about…But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.’” (6:13).
I guess he forgot that the nation’s sin had brought them these dire consequences. But let’s think about the second factor here. Gideon felt that God had abandoned Israel. He was asking the “why don’t you fix this?” question that we often think when we don’t have the courage to say it out loud.
Why don’t you stop all the famines so people in Africa aren’t starving? Why don’t you stop all the wars? Why don’t you deal with those who turn children in slaves and women into prostitutes? Why don’t you…? Why haven’t you dealt with Midian?
I love God’s answer, but at the same time it makes me uncomfortable.
“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?’” (6:14)
You fix it, Gideon.
That’s the answer we don’t like much. It would be much more convenient for us and less disruptive to our own personal agendas if God took care of the evils in the world for us. Blast the sinners, crush the evildoers, trample the enemies of good and justice into the ground.
Someday God will do that. But God’s answer to Gideon indicates that in the meantime that task doesn’t depend on Him alone.
You fix it, Gideon.
Typical of us, Gideon immediately looks for an excuse.
“‘But Lord,’ Gideon asked, ‘how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.’”
Sound familiar? I am too young, too old, too poor, too unqualified, too tongue-tied, too ….
That was exactly the point. When God asks someone to fix something He doesn’t usually ask the person who might seem to be the best qualified for the task. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1: “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called, Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many of you were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him…Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” (26-31, emphasis mine). Just a few verses later, in 1 Corinthians 2 Paul reminds them that he had come to them in weakness and fear. “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (2:3-5, emphasis mine).
Later, Paul would remind his readers that his weakness was something he rejoiced in because in that weakness God would show Himself strong (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The Lord’s answer to Gideon? “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together” (Judges 6:16).
You fix it, Gideon. You fix it, Lynda. You fix it…. And I will be with you and make sure it all goes down as it should.
Gideon’s problem, similar to ours, is the assumption that because God isn’t “fixing” things He must not be around. Gideon forgot about Israel’s sins, but he also needed to be reminded that God calls and uses us to fix the problems created by our sin. We like it when others clean up our messes, but God doesn’t let us get away with that. We did it, we fix it—or at least God fixes it through us in the hopes that we will learn just how awful the consequences of sin are.
The problems of famine, child slavery, and war are too big for me to fix, but the only way to “eat an elephant” as the saying goes, is one small bite at a time. Where can you and I take our little bite? What is God calling us to do to “fix” what we think He should be dealing with?
When God calls, He equips. And when He equips, He does so in such a way that we understand that His grace is sufficient and His strength overwhelms our weakness.