“…if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” Judges 6:13
Many people are currently asking the same question Gideon asked in today’s verse. It’s an important question for our generation. It causes us to examine not only what we expect from God, but what He expects from us. Three words in this question point to significant similarities between Gideon’s generation and current generations of Americans.
First, when Gideon asked, “Why has all this happened,” he didn’t have to explain what he meant. All of Israel was dealing with the same problem; being repeatedly invaded, ravaged, and impoverished by their enemies (vv1-6). Although our issues are different, we definitely understand widespread distress. Between the recent health crisis, financial uncertainty, civil unrest, and political discord; we’ve all been affected in one way or another.
Many Americans are also starting their questions with “if.” But rather than, “If the Lord is with us…” they’re asking, “If God is real, then why is all this happening?” We’ve taken Gideon’s conclusion, “the Lord has abandoned us” (v13), a step further. Generations of Americans have watched the progression from God is Lord, to God is dead, to God is a myth.
The answer to Gideon’s question is found by asking it a little differently. Why has all this happened? Well, Scripture tells us exactly why Israel was suffering. They did evil (v1) rather than listen to and obey the Lord (v10). Today, we can’t dogmatically say that America is experiencing God’s judgment. Still, we do know that He allowed all this to happen. And we can certainly see how our culture has turned to evil rather than to the Lord.
You see, Israel’s problem wasn’t a matter of the Lord abandoning them, but them abandoning the Lord. As God’s people, they expected His protection but forgot what He expected of them – obedience. So, He allowed oppression by various enemies until they turned to Him for help. But just as soon as He rescued them, they would turn away again (Judges 3:7-4:3). We often develop similar patterns of disobedience as individual believers. It’s hard to address the problems in our nation without also addressing our own disobedience.
God still allows difficult circumstances, and even severe suffering, in order to get our attention. The significance in asking, “Why?” is that it turns our thoughts back to the Lord and to what He expects from us. How is He using current circumstances to focus your attention on obeying Him? As you face various aspects of all that’s happening, determine to look to Christ as your source of help. God has mercifully delivered His people for many generations, and He’s not about to stop now!