Do you suppose that God could be trying to get our attention? Obviously, God is allowing the Corona Virus pandemic. Is this divine discipline? There are plenty of Biblical examples proving that God allows bad things to happen in order that His people might return to their God.
That’s exactly what happened when...
“The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord handed them over to Midian seven years” (Judges 6:1, CSB).
God got their attention! Actually, the Angel of the Lord made an appearance. That’s the pre-incarnate Jesus, the second person of the Trinity. He showed up at just the right time!
He found a guy named Gideon winnowing wheat down in a winepress (Judges 6:11). Normally, the wheat was threshed on a hill where the wind could carry away the chaff. Gideon was so fearful that he was hiding from the Midianites in a hole.
“Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘The Lord is with you, valiant warrior’ ” (Judges 6:12, CSB). Ha! The wimp, Gideon, was hiding from the enemy and Jesus shows up to say, “Gideon, you’re a brave and courageous warrior.”
Then Gideon asked a series of good questions. Something like... “If you’re really on our side, why have the evil Midianites been allowed to punish us? If you are here, how about doing a part-the-Red-Sea or a water-from-the-rock kind of miracle? If you really love us, why have you abandoned us?” (Judges 6:13).
Jesus didn’t bother to answer the questions. He just said, “Go in the strength you have and deliver Israel from the grasp of Midian. I am sending you!” (Judges 6:14, CSB).
That’s when Gideon started making excuses. “But, but, but.. my resume isn’t too shiny. I don’t have the necessary education... I’m not up to the task!” (Judges 6:15).
“ ‘But I will be with you,’ the Lord said to him. ‘You will strike Midian down as if it were one man’ ” (Judges 6:16, CSB). Gideon wanted to be sure, so he asked the Angel of the Lord to stick around while he made supper. When the bounty was carefully laid out before Gideon’s guest “the angel of the Lord extended the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire came up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight” (Judges 6:21, CSB).
Nope! That doesn’t happen every day! Obviously, that was God! Gideon declared, “I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” (Judges 6:22, CSB). A Christophany.
You probably know the rest of the story! Gideon, with the help of Almighty God, defeated the Midianites. God had brought His chosen people to a low place, where they knew they needed God. They were defeated and broken, but God is able to defeat any enemy! God used Gideon, not because he was brave and courageous, but because he believed and trusted!
After the Angel of the Lord left Gideon that day, Gideon worshipped at an altar. Gideon called the place, “The Lord is Peace!” ... “Jehovah Shalom” (Judges 6:24).
Jesus, the Angel of the Lord, or, if you like, Jehovah Shalom, invites you to the altar... the place where the Ever-Present God brings peace!
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor