What are you going to eat?
Judg. 6:1 ¶ The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years.
Judg. 6:2 The hand of Midian prevailed over Israel; and because of Midian the Israelites provided for themselves hiding places in the mountains, caves and strongholds.
Judg. 6:3 For whenever the Israelites put in seed, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them.
Judg. 6:4 They would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the land, as far as the neighborhood of Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel, and no sheep or ox or donkey.
Judg. 6:5 For they and their livestock would come up, and they would even bring their tents, as thick as locusts; neither they nor their camels could be counted; so they wasted the land as they came in.
Judg. 6:6 Thus Israel was greatly impoverished because of Midian; and the Israelites cried out to the LORD for help.
Judg. 6:11 ¶ Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites.
Psa. 52:8 ¶ But I am like a green olive tree
in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
forever and ever.
Psa. 52:9 I will thank you forever,
because of what you have done.
In the presence of the faithful
I will proclaim your name, for it is good.
There had been peace in the land of the Israelites for forty years but the people were not faithful to God. God allowed their enemies to come against them, but this time it was not in a traditional way. They didn't attack them with their army, but rather, they attacked the food supply. The Israelites would plant their seeds and the next thing you knew, the Midianites would come and camp right on their fields of planted crops. Then, they would allow their animals to wander around trampling and eating the crops. Next, they would steal the livestock. The Midianites didn't need to come and destroy the Israelites through battle, but rather, they were slowly starving them, causing them to suffer.
God called Gideon to become the new leader of the people and to set them free from the oppression of the Midianites. Where did the angel of God find Gideon? Hiding in a wine-press beating out wheat. Why? Because it appears he had been able to save a tiny bit of wheat from the destruction of the Midianites and the only way the Israelites were going to continue eat, was to hide all the food they could from their enemies.
When the people were unfaithful to God the result was that their enemies destroyed their food supply. I'm afraid the same may be true of God's people today. Are we Christian in name only, and not truly feeding on the food that God wants to provide? Or, have we fooled ourselves into believing that we are getting good enough food by visiting with him on a very minimal basis? The Midianites were starving the Israelites for seven years before they cried out for God's intervention. At what point are we going to realize that we are starving spiritually?
The Cardinal of New York is very concerned about the new religion of secularism which is, little by little, creeping into our lives. I'm not sure that we understand that we are allowing the encroachment of the enemy into our food supply! The answer is not found in the political realm, but rather, in the lives of God's children who are committed to tapping into the one who provides us with all the nourishment that we need to remain firm in the face of our adversaries. The result is found in the promise of the Psalm. We are like a green olive tree. That is, we are young, vibrant, and full of life, because we are fed from the springs which flow from God's house. There is no other way to remain strong in the face of the encroaching enemy.
What are you eating today?
Lord, thank you for your nourishment and sustenance. Please, help me not to become so distracted by the work around me that I don't take time to be fed by you on a daily basis. Amen.