The God Problem, Part II

Christians, in defense of their faith and their country, find themselves battling the forces of evil with one arm tied behind their back. What I mean is that our faith does not allow us to use the same tactics that our opponents use. Here is a list of the things that Jesus would never want us to do, but our opponents have no qualms doing.

  1. Spread lies.
  2. Fabricate stories.
  3. Ruin reputations.
  4. Start untrue rumors.
  5. Stir up people’s emotions with half-truths.
  6. Encourage people to riot and destroy property.
  7. Stop freedom of speech on college campuses.
  8. Ridicule a person’s values.
  9. Threaten a person’s life and family.
  10. Take away freedom of religion.

Although a Christian might be tempted to do one of the above in the heat of the battle, one may not because no victory should ever be achieved that is not according to the Will of God.

It would be very easy for a Christian to become discouraged having to fight evil with one arm tied behind the back. However, there are many examples from the Bible where God’s people were greatly outnumbered and yet achieved a victory. Here is one example from the Book of Judges.

“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. 12When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

“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.”

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?”

“But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised–look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew–a bowlful of water.

Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time, make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.

Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 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 own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, `Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ “So, twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, `This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, `This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “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. The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.”

Trusting in the Lord, Gideon’s small force defeated a much larger army.

There is an important lesson for all Christians in this story of Gideon. If we do not learn this lesson we will live in constant anxiety and begin to doubt God’s love and protection. God, the Father, wants us to trust that He will never abandon us even when we are faced with overwhelming odds. He will guide us, strengthen us, and fight on our side against the powers of darkness. Jesus told us that the gates of hell will not prevail against us. He said that we should take heart because He has overcome the world. God will never allow us to think that any victory we might achieve was done by our own efforts. He will test our faith and stretch us, not to hurt us or scare us but to make us dependent on His power and His protection.

So although we may be fighting against the forces of evil with one arm tied behind our backs, with God on our right side, we have more than an arm. We have a champion. Psalm 46 reminds us: “Be still and know that I am God.”