Archive for October 7th, 2009

Judges 8

Judges 8 gives us some insight into the leadership of Gideon.  One of the tribes – the Ephraimites – got irritated that they hadn’t been invited to the party of getting rid of the Midianites.  Gideon is still in the midst of leading his band of 300 after the last fringes of the enemy and has to stop and deal with this little internal rift.  He does it by reminding this strong clan that they were “superior” and certainly had done better than anything Gideon had done.  “When they heard this they calmed down and cooled off”.  Gideon dealt with the issue when it occurred, even in the midst of his pursuit.  He realized that failing to tackle it head on would be a mistake.  It wouldn’t just go away by ignoring it.  That seems to be a common tactic many of us use when the correct course is to listen and address the issue head on.  Gideon and his little army continue pursuing the enemy.  They go through the land of Succoth and Peniel and are denied food for the troops.  That irritates Gideon and causes a response on the way back – bad decision on their part to not share some bread and rest.  He chases down the enemy after being told he was on a “wild goose chase” by these people.  On his return he rounds up the leaders of Succoth and Peniel and killed them.  All because they were stubborn and greedy and wouldn’t share some bread. 

 Upon his return the people want to make him ruler, but Gideon wants no part of that.  “I most certainly will not rule over you, nor will my son”.  He is not interested in being the leader, which is consistent with his pattern all along.  He never really signed up to lead, God chose him to do it.  Gideon says “God will reign over you”.  He did ask the people for one thing – to “give me, each of you, an earring that you took as plunder….forty-three pounds”.  Pretty good haul of gold just by asking for a small part of what they had collected as they won the battle.  Then Gideon makes a very big mistake.  “Gideon made the gold into a sacred ephod and put it on display….all Israel prostituted itself there”.  Gideon created an idol that he himself and his family fell into.  “Gideon and his family too, were seduced by it”.  Wasn’t his intent, but one bad decision by this basically good man leads a nation astray.  It included his family which was huge: “seventy sons…a lot of wives”.  He had managed to make things better as “the land was quiet for forty years”, but he missed the main point of keeping God as God.  Look at what happens because he dropped the ball.  “Gideon was hardly cool in the tomb when the People of Israel had gotten off track and were prostituting themselves to Baal….forgot all about God….didn’t keep faith with the family”.  They had witnessed God’s hand through Gideon and yet immediately lost what mattered and returned to worshipping idols.  Gideon had a chance to create a legacy of being a God fearing and obedient man, but in one failed decision, he leads the people astray.  It reminds me of the prayer Jabez prayed….protect me from evil that I may not cause pain.  The measure of a life is really based not only on how we live today, but how our life today causes others to live tomorrow.  Gideon missed that.  How about you?

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