When I was a kid, I used to participate in Bible Bowls. If you’ve never had the pleasure of being a part of one of these competitions, basically, you and your team memorize all of the information in one of the books of the Bible, and you get tested or pitted against another team as to who knows the most accurate information. I remember memorizing name after name of different people that the Israelites would fight throughout the Old Testament, but I didn’t realize just how connected everything really was. Just like with Esau’s wives, I didn’t realize how the decisions that others made affected the lives of their descendants down the line.
So, to start from the beginning. Usually, when we think of Abraham, we think of Sarah and Hagar. But after Sarah dies, Abraham marries a woman named Keturah. With her, he goes on to have several sons. And one of those sons was called Midian. Midian goes on to have several sons as well – Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. And those descendants became the Midianites.
The Midianites have a sordid past with the Israelites. Some of it was good. When Moses ran from Egypt after killing a man, he lived with the Midianites, marrying one of their women. His father-in-law was a priest, and a godly man. But somewhere down the line, the Midianites lost their way. By the time the Israelites returned from Egypt, the Midianites were worshipping Baal and convincing the Israelites to join in. And they were part of a scheme with the Moabites to try to curse the Israelites (Numbers 22).
They tried to invade Israel several times along with other tribes. And finally, God raised up Gideon to defeat them once and for all, and after that, the Midianite tribe “did not raise its head again” (Judges 8:28).
The Midianites knew about God, at least that was how their tribe, their family began. But somewhere along the line, they allowed their culture to influence them away from God. And their actions showed it. They chose property over people when they and the Moabites shared a fear that they would be overrun by Israelites, or in Judges when they invaded and impoverished the Israelites. They had forgotten that it’s not the land that provides, but God.
I see the fear of losing their land and provisions, and I realize that in my own life, I have feared that I will lose out on the provision in my own life. And the Midianites are prime examples of how that fear, plus the influence of the secular society around you, can take us away from the God who loves us and wants to provide for us, asking only that we trust in His plan and promise.
It’s not a secret that I want to someday have children to raise on this earth, and waiting for God’s provision in this has definitely brought fear of the unknown at times. There are so many twists and turns to this story, and not every story is guaranteed to end the way we think it should, even with an incredible amount of faith and prayer.
But being able to lean on God and let the peace of God to quiet the fear and the voices of uncertainty and judgment allow me to rest in the knowledge that God has plans for my life that are beyond my expectations. He will not leave me or forsake me. Nor will he leave or forsake you. He’s right there, arms around you, listening to your catching breath, seeing your silent tears. You are not alone.