Summary: God answers this question Himself.
The story of how God worked with and through Gideon is one of the most remarkable in scripture.
Yet often overlooked is the honest way Gideon questioned God and God’s encouraging response to him.
"But sir", Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ’Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian." (Judges 6:13)
God showed no sign of resentment toward Gideon for his question.
Do you know why God doesn’t resent our questions? Because He has the answers!
James 1:5 (New Living Translation) says, "If you need wisdom - if you want to know what God wants you to do - ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking."
After Gideon asked, "If the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?", The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?" (Judges 6:14)
WHERE IS GOD WHEN WE NEED HIM?
1. HE IS ABOVE, WATCHING OVER US.
God’s reply indicates that He was not only aware of Gideon’s problems - He was also aware that Gideon had some strength of his own to use toward the solution.
God’s perfect knowledge of Gideon proves He was watching over Gideon all along.
Instead of asking where God was when he needed him, perhaps Gideon should have asked, "Why do you choose to use me in the process of delivering Israel from her enemies?"
Job, one of the most tested and tried people of all time said, "I had heard about you (God) before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes." (Job 42:6 NLT)
Like Job, God wanted Gideon to see with his own eyes what God could do. He wanted Gideon to experience His love and power first hand. But if Gideon’s generation was going to see God’s miraculous intervention, as previous generations of God’s people had, there had to be a reason for Him to intervene.
No one likes problems but you can see things about God and learn things about life in times of trial that are difficult to recognize in the good times. The enemies of pain, suffering, loneliness, fear, confusion and difficulty make us hunger for God and God wants to satisfy that hunger. He is not at all oblivious to our problems.
God is above, watching over us, but He doesn’t keep us from difficulty because at times He wants us to see how very wonderful and powerful He is and how much He loves us. Our difficult circumstances give Him that opportunity.
Bill Bright, Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, said, "Circumstances do not contribute to our misery. It is our lack of understanding of who God is and his wonderful, holy purpose for us that frustrates so many."
You won’t fully appreciate who God is only by studying about Him or hearing sermons. Your greatest understanding of His nature and character will be revealed as He responds to your hard times.
Gideon wanted to know, "Where are all the wonders our fathers told us about?" God was setting the stage for the answer to that question. He was going to give Gideon a miraculous victory.
"The LORD said to Gideon, ’You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her strength has saved her, announce now to the people, Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave...So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained." (Judges 7:2-3)
But God wasn’t done yet.
"Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink." Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. (Judges 7:5b-6)
Apparently those who knelt down and drank were occupied with physical thirst and the three hundred who lapped like a dog were occupied with a thirst for victory over the enemy.
Who was Gideon going to look to for a victory with an army of only three hundred? Only God. Only God would pare an army down from thirty two thousand to three hundred in order to achieve victory!
God always has a plan. When we try to comprehend it on a purely human level we almost always miss the boat.
Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of believing that God isn’t there when you need Him simply because He has not responded in the way and time you expected.