The last several weeks our Sunday school class has been studying through the book of Judges. The cyclic pattern of the Israelites behavior is predictable, God provides for them, they forget about Him and His goodness and choose to do things their way. God’s discipline is enforced, they experience a time of oppression, and they cry out to God for help. God, in His covenant love and faithfulness, answers their cries by bringing salvation through an individual that He raises up as their judge. They repent and worship the Lord for a period, only to forget Him again, seek their own ways and repeat the pattern. From a distance, their behavior is maddening. Why would they indulge in their own ways, turning their backs on God, when He has miraculously provided for them repeatedly? Why would they not learn from the years of discipline they had to endure? How could they cry out to God for salvation, only to forget Him, once relief set in?
Yet, when I take a step closer, allowing Scripture to filter through my own heart and life experiences, I can see some similarities. I too, have doubted God and His ways. In my doubts, I have often leaned into His provision. However, I have also had seasons where I determined to do life my way, because it was easier to control and seemingly more predictable. Just like the Israelites, I have reaped the blessings of choosing His provision over mine. I have also reaped the discipline and calamity of choosing my provision over His.
Taking a moment, to look in on Gideon as judge this past Sunday, we read about His doubts when the angel of the Lord called Him to lead. Do you really care about us, Lord? Do you know what you are doing? Will you take care of me? Will you keep your promises? Each time Gideon questioned the Lord’s calling on Him, God patiently and lovingly reiterated that He was in charge. He called Gideon, because He loved him and his people and because He is true to His covenant love. God didn’t call Gideon because of who Gideon was, but because of who He was and wanted to be through Gideon’s leadership.
He chooses the least of us, that He might accomplish something for His glory, in spite of us. His desire is to make His name known and in the process, if we are willing, He will do a great work within us.
Looking back over the landscape of my own life, I see many places where I doubted His calling. Do you know what you are doing, Lord? Do you know whom you are calling? Will you really equip me for this task? I am afraid of failing, Lord. I don’t have what I need to be successful at this endeavor. He has gingerly answered me, each time. Yes, Amber, I know what I am doing. I am the Creator of the Universe and the Creator of your heart. I know the number of the sands on every shore and I know you, by name. When I call you to step out in faith, my faithfulness will be your constant companion. Stop steeping in your doubts. When you doubt, you make it about you. Stand firm in the truth of my faithfulness. When you declare my faithfulness, you make it about me. After all, I am the only Alpha and Omega.