“And so the men of Ephriam said to him, ‘Why are you saying this to us — after excluding us from the call when you went to fight against Midian?’ And they quarreled forcefully.”
One of the things that I have learned is that in the midst of some of our greatest times of excitement and joy, the Devil will throw in frustrations. One of his great purposes is to rob us of the joy of God’s salvation. And, one of the most common ways he does this is through whining and complaining. And that is exactly what we find here.
While we will look next at Gideon’s masterful response, I think that it is important to apply the events that are taking place to events that are common in the life of the Christian. True, we may not find ourselves in hot pursuit of Midianite armies, but we will find God delivering victories into our hands — victories over personal sin, victories over wickedness in our culture, and victories over falsehoods that have grown roots within our communities. These victories are worth celebrating and worship is the right place for that celebration for the victory was brought by God and by God alone.
Yet, when God’s people begin to complain and when Satan plants a bitter root in the life of someone close to us, how quickly the joy of that celebration of God can be sapped from us. Especially when people confront you with hostility as in this case with the Ephriamites. I have seen very godly men and women just throw up their hands in frustration and give up because of such discouragements.
The thing that I have discovered, though, is that while discouraging challenges will come, it is our choice as to how we handle them. Are we willing to be patient? Are we willing to turn the scenario around (as Gideon does)? Are we willing to remember that as the victory came from God, the complaints of the people are not against us but against God himself…and I pity the man who complains against God because God will vindicate His name. Will you choose to let someone be Satan’s tool to rob you of your joy or will you celebrate God’s work anyway — and maybe even invite those challengers to celebrate with you the great things that God has done? This, beloved, is the way you preserve the joy of your salvation.