Judges 6:1-32 (Part 3) – When We Find Ourselves in a Hole, Why Do We Blame God?

Posted: August 20, 2017 in Book of Judges

Judges 6:1-32 (Part 3 of 5)
Gideon Becomes Israel’s Judge

Although my first wife had her own affair during our marriage, it was my affair (off and on from 1991-1993) with the woman who became my second wife that ended the first marriage. I had my reasons and my justifications. From 1983-1988, my first wife was addicted to prescription narcotics and it was a nightmare of cleaning up her physical and legal messes. I was always in a constant state of nervousness as to what would happen this week. How would she disappoint or disgust me this week. The only time that she was clean during of all this was the nine months that she was pregnant with our oldest daughter. After my oldest daughter was born, I pretty much become this child’s sole caregiver as my first wife slid into addiction once again. It was a horrible nightmare of an existence that I do not wish upon my worst enemy. Even after she was able to get clean after a second stint in rehab, she transferred addictions to spending money that we did not have. Bank fees, bounced checks, being embarrassed at the grocery store when they would no longer take our checks. All of this was so long ago but is so vivid in my mind even now some 25-30 years later.

It was in 1991 that I met my second wife. She was a hard working mother of three that had made something of herself though she had only finished high school. She was one of the regional credit managers at the company I worked for at the time. We had been working at the same place for four years but never really got to know each other until we had this quality class that they put all the manager level personnel through. It was there that everything began. It was a justifiable affair in my mind after all the crap I had been through. I refused to let go of her even after several attempts to stop. After several failed attempts to end my first marriage, I finally walked away in 1993.

What followed was my first wife keeping my kids from me after she realized that I was not going to reconcile with her. Then came the harassment that was constant. Then came me taking her to court for preventing me from seeing my kids and for all her harassment (phone calls, voice mails, physically hitting me whenever I was near). It was then at court that she claimed that I had molested my oldest daughter at the last time she allowed the girls to go with me on a visitation weekend. Although I was proven innocent and my first wife was proved to be the one that was a danger to the children with her mental instability, that statement caused DSS to be involved in our lives for around 3 years. It was a dark time in my life and one I would again never wish on my worst enemy. I eventually was awarded custody of my children after DSS being all up in everybody’s business for three years. During this time, my divorce became final in 1993 and I remarried in 1995.

All the while during all of this (the above paragraphs are just tiny snippits of the hell that was my life during this time period and this short blurb here does not really do justice to the craziness that was my life during this time period of my life), I continually asked God while He was putting me through this stuff. Why was all this happening to me. Wasn’t my second wife just plain out better for me than what was proving to be the craziness of my wife. Why didn’t He let me marry her in the first place and bypassed the craziness of my first wife. Why? Why? Why? Then, again when my second marriage began to deteriorate under the weight of ex-wife issues, and more importantly my kids vs. your kids issues, I again wondered why, why, why was the Lord letting all this happen to me. I saw people having happy lives all around me but here I was with two failed marriages and starting over again for the second time in my life after the failure of my second marriage. Why Lord? Why?

Now these many years later I do not blame either of my ex-wives (my first or my second) for what happened. Sure, there were things that each did to screw up the marriages that were pretty big. But I have come to realize over the years that I bare my share of responsibility in all that happened. I should have not been seeking the first woman who came along that would go to bed with me when I was a teenager and should have waiting for God to show me who my bride should be. I should have been a stronger man in my first and second marriages and taken my role as leader of my house and not abdicated it to my first and second wives. I should have not been involved in the affair. It was a sin. All that came after my affair was the result of that sin. The sin had avalanches of consequences that affected my life for many, many years. I did not see it that way back then. It was why was God allowing all this mean stuff to happen to me. Why, Why Why? Ask anyone that I knew back in those days and they would tell you that sure Mark had justifiable reasons for his actions and they all sound good. But it was based on several mistakes and sins – not choosing godly women to be my spouse in either case, and the fact that my sin of adultery had it horrendous consequences no matter how justified it was.

Why is that we blame God for the circumstances of our lives? Why do we blame Him for the holes that we have dug for ourselves? Why do we do that?

Today, as we look again at Judges 6:1-32, we are reminded how we tend to blame God for our circumstances at time. Gideon does the same thing here v.13. Let’s read the entire passage once more with an eye toward that thought. Here is the passage now:

6 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.

7 When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, 8 he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 9 I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 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?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”

And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”

19 Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah[a] of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.

20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”

23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”

24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

25 That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old.[b] Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole[c] beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of[d] altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second[e] bull as a burnt offering.”

27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.

28 In the morning when the people of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!

29 They asked each other, “Who did this?”

When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”

30 The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” 32 So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal[f] that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.”

In this passage, we see that Gideon questioned God about the problems that he and his nation faced and about God’s apparent lack of help. What he did not acknowledge was the fact that the people had brought calamity upon themselves when they decided to disobey and neglect God. How easy it is to overlook personal accountability and blame our problems on God and others. Unfortunately, this attitude does not solve our problems. It brings us no closer to God and it escorts us to the very edge of rebellion and backsliding. When problems come (not if but when), the first place we should look is within. Our immediate response should be confession to God of our sins that may have created our problems. Sure, there are times in life where our problems are caused by the neglect or evil of others, but, in most cases, regardless of the situation, we have played a contributing factor to our own problems.

In my case, sure, there were justifications for my sins and it all sounded so logical and would stand up to scrutiny of conversations with anyone. It was all justifiable in man’s eyes. We can find justifications for why we do what we do. We are our best lawyers, right? It is always somebody else’s fault! And it may well be that we have real blame that we can place on other people, but, we sometimes dig our own holes. We rail at God because we find ourselves in the hole with no way out but our lack of prayer, lack of seeking God’s will, and outright disobedience to His commands for our lives often allow us to slide into the holes we make. Sure, there are true innocents out that have been abused by other people profound ways and I do not speak to that today. I am talking about the choices we make in life that we blame God for. We make the choices but we blame God for how they turn out. We make stupid choices that are against His commands but yet we are all shocked when it does not turn out all roses and wine like we expect. We blame Him for letting the consequences happen to us. God didn’t do it to us. We did it to ourselves.

It is only when we realize that we dug the hole (or at least played and equal role in the digging of the hole) that repentance can begin. When we realize that we must account for ourselves in our circumstances. Only then can the blindness to our own sins can be lifted. Only then can we put our past in proper perspective and actually learn from it. It is only then that we can stop the cycle of repeating the same blind spot mistakes in our lives. When we confess our roles, our sins, in the pattern of our lives, that is when we can grow in our relationship with Christ. Then and only then can our past sins be seen in their true light and only then can our past be instructive to us rather than destructive.

Let us pray that we look deep into our own hearts and have the Holy Spirit expose our sins to us so that we may repent of them and see them for what they are instead of blaming God for why things are the way they are. Let us pray that we see our past as something to be learned from but never repeated. Let us be given wisdom and humility about who we really are. We pray that as a result each of us grows closer to Christ.

Amen and Amen.

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