It might be helpful to read Judges 6:1-13 (click here) before you go on.
The angel of the Lord has come to Gideon who is hiding, afraid and alone, and has met him with a declaration that Gideon is a “mighty warrior” and that “The Lord is with you.” (Judges 6:12 NIV)
“But, sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us why has all this happened to us?...” (Judges 6:13 NIV)
Gideon feels like God left. When things go wrong, I often feel abandoned too. But does that mean God has abandoned me?
We read in Judges 6:1-10 that Israel had turned away from the Lord to worship the gods of the Amorites, in fact the Lord had said to them: “…you have not listened to me.” (Judges 6:10 NIV)
Someone had left, but it wasn’t God. The Israelites had turned away from Him toward false gods and had stopped listening to Him.
If we feel like the Lord is not with us, is it because we have chosen to stop worshiping the Lord, that we have stopped listening to Him and turned to other things?
I am encouraged that though the Israelites had turned away from God, He did not walk away. Here we see Him initiating contact with Gideon. God pursues relationship with us, and not because we’ve somehow been good enough or earned it. He does it just because He is that generous, loving and forgiving.
There have been times in my life I’ve turned to my own strength or intellect, or I’ve run to relationships or entertainment instead of to God. He’s always pursued me, bringing me back again and again. He promises He will never leave us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Years after this interaction between the angel and Gideon, God sent his only Son into the world and gave Him a name to ring in our ears, the Truth about Him, Immanuel: God with Us. (Matthew 1:23 NIV)
Praise the God who never leaves us, not when things get hard… not even when we stop listening for a time... Praise the God who is “With Us.”