God meets us in our doubts. It is not good for a believer to be constantly doubting God but God is patient with our moments of weakness as humans such as when doubts assail us. His great love, mercy, and faithfulness compel Him to act in loving kindness towards His people who may at times feel the weight of doubts, Even the most faithful believer could have experienced doubt in his faith in God at one time or another. Perhaps, we may think that God is like a strict CEO of a company who frowns at the slightest mistake and who acts in anger when his people displease him. God does get angry when we sin but He is also gentle, compassionate, and slow to anger. When there are times we could not help doubting, God is there with us, drawing us close to help us see how faithful and mighty He is to make a way for us.
“It is because of Yahweh’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, because his mercies don’t fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”– Lamentations 3:22-23 (WEB)
God draws near to us even in our moments of weakness. The idea of a distant and impersonal god who punishes man whenever they err is an opposite picture of God. God does punish sin but He is not distant and never impersonal. Above all, He is not a fault-finder God. On the contrary, He is a merciful and gracious God. He drew near to us and loved us even while we were still sinners through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8).
This love and this boundless grace of God have always been present and have been manifested ever since God made Himself known to His chosen people, the nation of Israel. In Judges 6:11-27, the angel of God appeared to Gideon and asked him to lead Israel against the cruel Midianites. There are 3 things that could be gleaned from this story about the nature of man according to how Gideon reacted towards God and the nature of God according to how God responded towards Gideon.
The Nature of Man
1. Man’s understanding is limited (Judges 6:11-13).When the angel of God greeted Gideon who was beating out wheat in the winepress, the angel said, ““Yahweh is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12) to which Gideon responded with “Oh, my lord, if Yahweh is with us, why then has all this happened to us? Where are all his wondrous works which our fathers told us of, saying, ‘Didn’t Yahweh bring us up from Egypt?’ But now Yahweh has cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian.” (Judges 6:13). Like Gideon, our view and understanding is very limited that we could not fully know that God is always with us. When we are suffering, in discomfort, or in crisis, our tendency is to question God, “Lord, if indeed you are with me, why then is this happening to me?”
2. Man is self-focused (Judges 6:14-15). God told Gideon to go and save Israel from the hand of the Midian. The immediate response of Gideon was, “O Lord, how shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Like Gideon, when God calls us to do something, our first thought would be, “I could not do that Lord. I don’t have the knowledge or the capability.” We have a lot of reasons and all of these are focused on ourselves.
3. Man’s way of assurance is through sight and not faith (Judges 6:17-27). Gideon, wanted assurance that the man talking to him was truly the angel of God, so he sought for a sign. Oftentimes, we need physical evidence, a concrete, visible thing to convince us that it is God who is with us. This is human nature. But God calls us to live not according to our human nature, but according to His nature through His Spirit in us.
The Nature of God
1. God answers our questions with a solution (Judges 6:14). God answered Gideon’s question by commanding Him to fight against the Midianites and lead Israel. God knows that we have limited understanding and our thoughts are narrow to fully comprehend His works. He listens to our question, with such grace as He did with Gideon. He does not depart but His presence remains. He answers and provides a way for us in our need or problem.
2. God helps us draw our focus away from ourselves and shift it towards Him (Judges 6:16). Gideon was too worried about who he is and what he could not do. God responded by telling Gideon who He is. “Surely I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” (Judges 6:16). He is the mighty and faithful God who does not leave Gideon to fight alone. It is He who calls, who leads, and who fights. He encouraged and assured Gideon that he could strike them all. When we are too occupied of worries about our own weaknesses, shortcomings, and condition, we miss the right focus. The right focus is God and not ourselves. Yet, God is faithful to lead us to focus on Him. His grace has that wonderful effect to all who believe in Jesus Christ. Our focus is driven away from ourselves and converges towards God.
3. God helps us overcome our doubts (Judges 6:20-24). Human tendency is to believe things we could see and feel. Our senses validate what we want to believe. In truth, our senses are too limited to confine God and His works in them. God can work even when we could not see anything. When Gideon asked the angel for a sign and requested him to wait for him as he prepared a meal in hospitality, the angel of God did not rebuke Gideon for doubting or for seeking assurance. Instead, the angel of God patiently waited and proved to Gideon that he is truly the messenger of God. When we doubt, we could draw near to God and be honest with Him. We could seek His help to assure us that He is with us and that we need to know that He is truly with us. For such times do come in our life when we need God’s extra work to manifest to us in such visible manner so our faith could be strengthened. God remains to be faithful even in such cirumstance as He did to Gideon. He draws near in His rich grace and helps us overcome our unbelief. How great and faithful the Lord is!
God is mighty to save we only need to be like Gideon, who sought God’s answer, who was honest to God, and who asked God to overcome His doubts. God was faithful to Israel and Gideon and He remains faithful upto today. He does not grow impatient, irritable, or angry at our mistakes but He corrects us gently and lovingly out of His rich mercy and grace.
“But you, Lord, are a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth.”– Psalms 86:15 (WEB)