Parents are often overwhelmed when they have small children and they are always asking why? “Mommy, why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why is my hair short? Why?” But many things happen in response to why. Science can answer some of our why questions. A child once asked, “Why do we hear thunder during a rain storm?” The scientific community provided the answer. Weather Wiz Kids says that thunder is caused by lightning. When a lightning bolt travels from the cloud to the ground it actually opens up a little hole in the air, called a channel. Once the light is gone the air collapses back in and creates a sound wave that we hear as thunder.
There are some why questions whose answers cannot be found in the scientific community. In Judges chapter 6, Gideon had a why question. Gideon was living during the period after the death of Joshua. There was no successor to lead the people so there was calamity. You see, before he died Joshua did his best to encourage the people to live right before God. In Joshua 24:14 he pleaded, “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone.” They promised to do just that. When that generation died, the new generation did not walk in the ways or commandments of the Lord.
When they realized that there was no one in charge, they did what most of us would do if there was no one to hold us accountable; they did whatever they wanted. Judges 17:6 said it this way, “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” Even without a king, they had a set of guidelines for living called the Ten Commandments. They threw that out the door also. As a result, they found themselves overtaken by another nation.
When the oppressors became harsh and their situation became unbearable, they cried out to God for help. God forgave and raised up judges to rescue them. Judges 2:19 says, “But when the judge died, the people returned to their corrupt ways, behaving worse than those who had lived before them. They went after other gods, serving and worshiping them. And they refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.” How sad! They did not possess the will power to continually walk right before God.
So Gideon was living during one of these periods when they were controlled by the enemy. One day Gideon was threshing wheat; but he was in the wine press because he was afraid of the Midianites. While he was working, he had a visitor. Judges 6:12 says, “The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” Gideon replied, “Sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?”
Many times like Gideon we want an answer to our question. We want to know if the Lord is with us why these things are happening to us. For many of us the presence of God means the absence of problems. But, for Gideon and those around him, they were the reason that those things were happening. Everyone did what seemed right in their own eyes. Actions bring consequences and the Midianites were ruling over them.
In their distress, they cried out to God and God chose Gideon to deliver His people. Gideon was not certain he was the right man for the job. There were many mighty men who would have been the ideal candidate for this job. But God does not choose the people He wants to use by our guidelines; He has his own criteria when He makes a selection.
Gideon couldn’t see himself as strong and powerful. He was scared. Many times when God places His hands on us, like Gideon we are afraid. We allow our feelings to dictate our actions. Our success is not dependent on our abilities; God makes the difference, not us. So the next time you want to know why, pause. Could it be that God has chosen you to defeat the enemy?