“‘What do you have against me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?'”
When the enemy (Ammonite king) came to attack the Israelites, Jephthah the leader of Gilead didn’t respond in anger and attack back. Instead, he moved towards the enemy, seeking out communication by asking the Ammonite king this question, to understand him first. This takes great humility and is true wisdom when we face an attack from someone.
The Lord teaches us through Proverbs 16:32, that “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Being patient with self-control is not weak or stupid, nor is it being a doormat. It’s a beautiful fruit of the Holy Spirit working in us, to put faith and trust in God, and to show kindness and love when we are challenged.
May God grant us wisdom and humility with patience and self-control when we face difficult and challenging situations that tempt us to sin. May He help us to put faith and trust in Him, knowing that He is sovereign in all our circumstances, and He loves us and protects us.
“Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, ‘Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?’ And they challenged him vigorously. But he answered them, ‘What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?’ At this, their resentment against him subsided.“
How often have we engaged with an angry person, but only left the interaction feeling angry and deeply hurt because the conversation had escalated quickly where we started “shooting arrows” at each other with our tongues?
When the Ephraimites complained (angrily) that they had been called out only belatedly into the battle, Gideon’s humble answer turned away their anger, instead of “shooting” back at them by saying things like, “I have called you out when we have done all the hard work, and you only needed to capture the leaders whom we had chased into your hands. And you have had great victory and benefits from this. What do you have to complain about?” (We can image how that conversation would go.)
The Lord teaches us in his wisdom, “A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow.” (Proverbs 15:1, ERV) This is a great lesson to learn as we humble ourselves before the Lord, and see things from his perspective, acknowledging that it’s God’s doing and will in our lives that preserve us in his grace, giving us anything that we have, and giving the glory to him, “God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” May the Lord help us to keep looking to Jesus as we are challenged by others’ anger, and humble us to help turn their eyes to God as well, that anger would be disarmed, and love restored.