Five To Focus 31. Getting Out of Low Places (Part 2): Trusting God
Last week we focused on how to be lifted from low places that we can find ourselves in. I would encourage you to go back and listen to that episode. There we talked about one reason we might find ourselves from low places, and that was our sin. In that case, we are to repent of sin and turn to way that God designed for us to live.
Today, we’ll look at a second reason we might be brought low, and that is that we doubt the character of God. All of this is from the example of Gideon in Judges chapter 6.
We are introduced to Gideon in v.11. He is beating out wheat in a winepress. That doesn’t sound normal! It’s clear from verse 11 that he is hiding from the Midianites. He can’t be out in the open with this or they’ll take it.
What Gideon didn’t realize is that God has chosen him to be the next judge, the one who would rescue Israel from this oppression. The angel of the Lord visited him.
The angel of the Lord says (v.12) “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor”. Two parts- first, a reference to the Lord, and second, a reference to Gideon.
And Gideon takes issue with the first reference first—God? where is God?
There’s something really interesting about Gideon by the way— if he’s no older than 40-50 years old at this time, then he was born into a time of peace in Israel. All he knew was peace. All he knew were good times. These last 7 years were something so foreign to him.
He’s doubting God. The very character of God. And it doesn’t take long for him to get to that point. We’re not sure of his age exactly, but He lived for some of the 40 years of peace, hearing the good accounts of God to Israel, and then in the 7 years that Israel was under Midianite oppression, his view of God changed.
Daniel Block wrote,
“Gideon is an example of those who know what God has done in the past, who have memorized the creed, but find it belied by present reality” (Daniel Isaac Block, Judges, Ruth, vol. 6, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 260.).
Can you relate? Circumstances can bring you into a low place. It is seen through Gideon’s doubting—first he doubts the character of God. Second, he doubts the calling of God on his own life.
Gideon takes issue then with the second part of what the angel of the Lord told him—that he is a mighty man of valor.
From the text, we can infer that Gideon could have been thinking something like this: Wait- of all Israel, there are 12 tribes. I’m from one of them. Within that tribe are a bunch of clans, I’m from the weakest of the clans. And within my clan are a bunch of families, and I’m the weakest in my family.
And God says—I’ll be with you. He doesn’t say, oh no you’re not that weak. He doesn’t correct him. He recognizes Gideon’s human limitations. God just says I’ll be with you, and with that, we know it will get done.
Then Gideon asked for a sign, saw an amazing response from the Lord, and realized then who he was talking to.
At that point, Gideon prays and fears for his life. God tells him he wouldn’t die, and then what Gideon does next is the key for helping us know how to get out of the lowest places.
He built an altar to the Lord and called it “The Lord is Peace.”
He stopped thinking about himself and his limitations and his lack of understanding and found his rest in remembering God’s character. V.24 is a pivotal moment for Gideon because from that point on, his life changed. He wasn’t in hiding anymore.
Think about the name of this altar. The Lord is Peace. The name addresses every doubt that Gideon had. He remembered who God was. There was a period of peace before the Midianite oppression. And God brought that about in His kindness.
The fears, hiding, doubting—all of that is met in the God of Peace. This is true for you--Turning to God will lift you from the lowest places. Trust in the character of God.
That is our Five to Focus. I’ll talk with you again next week!