God Has Not Abandoned You
Judges 6:13, “Then Gideon said to him, ‘O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.'”
Came across a truly amazing story while preparing this devotional. Just the title alone was enough to capture my attention. “Stray dog saves life of abandoned baby.” Turns out that back in 2005 a stray dog found an abandoned infant in a plastic bag in a forest near Nairobi, Kenya. The dog proceeded to carry the baby “across a busy road and through some barbed wire to her litter of puppies.” Once discovered, the baby was immediately taken to the local hospital for treatment. At the time when the article was written the baby was doing well but no one had come forward to claim the child. Amazing to me. Sad commentary on humanity as well. The dog provided better care than the one who had given birth. The dog rescued the one the mother had abandoned. And in the end a stray dog proved to be the better mother.
Abandoned. It’s such an ugly hurt. Such a hurtful word. Just think of some of the synonyms. Cast off. Cast away. Cast aside. Left behind. Let go. Rejected. Forsaken. Deserted. The most literal meaning of the word is “to leave somebody or something behind for others to look after.” It’s a word that speaks of separation, isolation, and loneliness. Personalizing it can make our understanding so much clearer. I was abandoned. I was cast aside. I was left behind. For whatever reason the other person went on without me. They kept moving forward but I was no longer a part of the equation, no longer a part of their life. Maybe I was a burden? Maybe they just stopped caring? Doesn’t matter really. The bottom line is that I had become unwanted. In their eyes I was no longer worth the effort, time or attention. The sacrifice was too great. The cost had become too high. And so, just like the little baby girl in Nairobi, I was abandoned.
With regard to today’s passage Gideon listened carefully to the divine promise, he considered the testimonies of days gone past, he looked at his present circumstances and in his mind he made a quick assessment. Based on what he had been told and based on what he saw actually taking place there was only one possible conclusion in his mind. God had abandoned his people. Tired of their rebellion, angry over their idolatry, frustrated by their stubborn refusal to repent, God had simply walked away and left His people to take care of themselves. Or at least that was what Gideon thought.
Listen to Gideon’s words, “But now the Lord has abandoned us…” Really? I don’t think so. First of all, it was the people that had done the abandoning. God had been gracious. God had been good. God had blessed them with 40 years of peace and prosperity. The result? The people turned their backs on God and left Him all by Himself while they chased after their idols. No, let’s be honest. God had not abandoned them. They had abandoned God.
Secondly, (and don’t miss the irony here), ummm… who is Gideon talking to at the moment? That’s right. Gideon is telling the angel of the Lord that God has abandoned them. Wait a minute? When the people cried out to the Lord He had answered. In response to their suffering He had sent a prophet to point them in the direction of repentance and healing. And now, God is calling Gideon out of hiding and declaring to him that he will deliver the people from their oppression. Answers their cries? Sends them help? Delivers them in their time of trouble? Doesn’t exactly sound like abandonment to me. The truth is that God never walked away. He never deserted them. Not for a single moment. The second they cried out He responded. In their time of need He came down. God was aware of their situation and He longed greatly to intervene on their behalf. No, God had not abandoned them. His actions said the opposite. He had never left. Not once.
I just want to remind you today that God has not abandoned you. In fact, God will never abandon you. He has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. I know that trials and difficulties can make Him seem distant. I know that circumstances can seemingly hide Him from your view. But He has not deserted you. He sees your need. He knows your pain. And He cares. For now I want to encourage you to hold fast to Him. Trust His promises. Trust in His faithfulness. Gideon thought that God had abandoned His people. But God was about to demonstrate that even though His people had walked away from Him… He had never left them. The enemy was about to be defeated. The oppression was about to be ended. Everything was about to change. I know it’s hard right now. But hang on. God has not abandoned you. Just like Gideon… your day is coming.