Summary: Reflections on Gideon’s question, "If the Lord is with us, why have these things happened to us?"
The “If” Of Every Man Judges 6:13
Intro.: Tell the story of Israel’s plight:
1. 40 years of peace followed by apostasy.
2. Oppression by the Midianites. Judges 6:1-6
3. A message from a prophet. Response unknown. 7-10
4. The appearance of an angel to Gideon, through whom God would deliver Israel.
Gideon asks the question that inevitably bothers all of us: Judg 6:13 "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?” God chooses not to answer him. So, I must make a disclaimer. We may never find a definitive answer to the question, but, we can seek some insight that may help us in times of trouble.
I. There are many Biblical examples of bad things happening to good people:
A. The Patriarch Job.
1. He had sterling character. Job1:1
2. He was a man of great wealth. 1:2
3. He lost all he had and there seemed to be no good reason.
4. Yet, God was working in his life and eventually, he was richly blessed.
B. Paul the Apostle. II Cor. 11:24ff
1. He had originally been the cause of suffering to many Christians.
2. When he was converted, God said, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." Acts 9:16
3. His suffering was the result of his commitment to preaching the Gospel.
C. Jesus Himself. Isa 53
1. His suffering was for others.
2. God had a redemptive purpose in His suffering. It was the salvation of all mankind.
3. He even felt the agony of being God-forsaken. Matt 27:46
4. I don’t believe He was forsaken, but He felt it. For Him, this feeling was the ultimate temptation.
II. We can’t help wondering why good people suffer. Possibly there are three reasons.
A. Israel suffered because of her sin against God. Judges 6:1
1. This was a matter of discipline, not punishment.
2. Sometimes we suffer because of our own foolishness. But, remember, we don’t “pay for” our sins in this life.
3. He has promised to discipline us like His children. Heb. 12:7-10
4. This is for our benefit. Heb. 12:11
B. Jesus suffered because of no sin of His own. He paid for our sins.
1. Sometimes we suffer just because we live in a sin-cursed world.
2. A drunk driver runs a stop light and someone else happens to be in the wrong place, etc.
3. Disease, injury, and death are in this world because of sin and inevitably we contact them.
C. Sometimes we suffer so that God may be glorified.
1. A man born blind. No connection to sin and his sickness, but the power of God is seen. John 9:1-3
2. Lazarus, the friend of Jesus. John 11:4, 14, 40.
3. We know any disaster can bring glory to God if handled properly.
III. How can we deal with this great mystery?
A. Do not neglect to worship and serve God.
1. Gideon’s example. Judges 6:16-19
2. Often, we allow disaster to separate us from God.
3. We should not separate ourselves from God when we need Him the most.
B. Surrender to God in prayer.
1. Gideon did not stop talking to God.
2. Israel was finally called back to God. Judges 6:6
3. Phil. 4:6-7 Prayer wins out over worry.
C. Remember His past blessings.
1. God reminded Israel of His past actions in their behalf. We find many reminders like this in the Old Testament. Judges 6:8, 9
2. He has also brought us through many trials.
3. God has blessed me richly in the past. Even if He never did any more for me, I’d owe Him my life.
D. Remember, in all suffering, God has a purpose and works for our good. Rom. 8:28
1. Sometimes it is very difficult to see.
2. ILLUS.: Hezbollah guerillas putting rocket launchers on Christians’ roofs. Why does God permit such abuse of His innocent people?
3. “Farther along we’ll understand more.”
CONC.: Like Gideon, we ask, when evil befalls us, “If God is with us, why? Like Gideon, we seldom receive an immediate answer. It doesn’t mean there is none. It just means we don’t know it. But we do know the Heavenly Father and we trust His loving care. He will provide what we need and His desire is to gather us into His Heavenly Kingdom.
Ultimately, all we can say is “trust God.”