There’s a fascinating account in Judges chapter six in which an angel visits Gideon on his farm. The divine messenger hails the young man, saying, “The Lord is with you valiant warrior!” (Judg. 6:12). Gideon responds, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened? And where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about?” (Judg. 6:13).
Gideon had heard Bible stories as a child. He was told about God delivering the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. He had learned about God working powerfully to save and bless his people. But those events were long ago. Gideon’s experience was different. The voracious
Midianites and cruel Amalekites would sweep across the land each year and strip it bare of its produce and wealth. The Israelites lived in terror and humiliating subjugation. The Bible stories Gideon knew seemed eons removed from his current experience.
Yet Gideon would soon discover that the same God who worked powerfully through Moses and Joshua was speaking to him. God hadn’t lost his power through the ages. He was no less skilled in using human instruments to accomplish his eternal purposes. When God introduced himself in the Old Testament, he often identified himself as the God of “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” He was declaring that he was continuing the work he began with the Patriarchs.
Many Christians act like Gideon did. They read of God’s mighty acts in the Bible or in history and then bemoan the fact that God doesn’t work that way today. Sure, God brought the superpower of Egypt to its knees under Moses, but God doesn’t seem interested or powerful enough to get America’s attention today. Yes, God turned the world upside down through the Early Church, even though it operated in a pagan, idolatrous culture, but God doesn’t
appear to be doing anything to stem the tide of secularism today. Sure, God transformed people like Saul of Tarsus and the man inhabited by a legion of demons, but he can’t seem to set me free from my addictions or anger.
My father used to teach that if you see something in the Bible that you don’t see in your life, ask God to relate to you in a similar manner. For example, when you see God protecting people in the Bible, ask him to protect you from your enemies as well. Or when you read of God granting Bible characters’ wisdom, ask him for wisdom. This principle certainly applies to the divine promises found in the Bible. Camp your life in front of a divine promise and stay before it until your life reflects what you see in the Bible.
God hasn’t changed through the millennia. He has the same power, love, and wisdom he has always exercised. This fact isn’t a license for us to make demands or “name it and claim it.” But when you see the heart and mind of God in Scripture, you can pray his will into your life and know that God will be true to his word and character.
Scripture reveals that God delights in freeing people from their sin. He set Mary Magdalene free from seven demons. He set Saul free from being a self-righteous murderer. He freed adulteresses and tax collectors. Never suppose your situation is somehow too difficult for God to handle. How could we read about God sustaining the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years or providing bread for the widow in Zarephath and worry he can’t meet our needs? One reason God gave us Scripture is so we can know his heart and character and what to expect when we call on him in our time of need.
So here is your challenge. Every time you see something in the Bible that isn’t reflected in your life, ask God why. Perhaps you don’t need it right now. If so, that’s fine. But if you need God’s power, wisdom, or provision, don’t be satisfied until you are experiencing it. Don’t make excuses. Cry out to God until he is pleased to do in your life what he has done in the lives of countless others through the generations.
Thank you so much. I needed to hear this and be reminded today.
Amen! Don’t just read the Bible as a history book. Read it as the “Living Word of God” that it is!
Thank you, for I am edified by your words.
After reading this, the first thing that popped into my mind, two things, were, the seventh of Henry’s 7 Realities – “You come to know God by experience as He accomplishes His work through you.” That can be said about the reading of His Word. Secondly, whenever you open God’s Word, you come face-to-face with the Author. You cannot come to know God and remain the same.