So I find myself reading the story of Gideon again. Even if I have read this many times before there is always something new that God wants me to learn. If it has been some time for you, read his story found in Judges chapters 6-8.
Once again we will find many interesting thoughts around the life of Gideon. For today can I share some the four insights that I have found.
3. Wise Diplomat:
4. Wrong Choices:
Winepress: Judges 6:11 “Then the Angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites.”
One can understand why he was hiding here as the Midianites were destroying the Israelite crops. So he had to hide in order to protect what crops he had gathered.
Warrior: Judges 6:12 “And the Angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
Judges 6:14 “The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Am I not sending you?”
Judges 6:15 “Please, Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I deliver Israel? Indeed, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.”
Gideon has his doubts about this commission. He is too young and he sees himself, his clan as the weakest and least of all the other clans. I sense he does not see himself as a warrior, a leader of the army of the Israelites. In my words, “There must be someone else better qualified, sure you have the right guy for the job”
Judges 7:15 “When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Get up, for the LORD has delivered the camp of Midian into your hands.”
From the winepress we find the commission of Gideon as a mighty warrior and deliverer.
As we read his story we learn of the encouragement Gideon received, how he was strengthened and given a great victory over Midian.
Wise Diplomat: Judges 8:2-3 “But Gideon answered them, “Now what have I accomplished compared to you? Are not the gleanings of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer? God has delivered Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” When he had said this, their anger against him subsided
Gideon, a wise diplomat averts a civil war with the Ephraimites as they were angry that they had not been called upon at first to fight Midian.
Wrong Choices: Gideon’s’ story is not complete until we finish reading his story. We always get the truth through the word of God. God does not leave out this part of his life.
It is sad that with all the good that Gideon did his story ends with the wrong choices that he made.
1.We learn that Gideon had many wives. With many wives he had many children. We learn that he had seventy sons.
“Then Gideon son of Joash returned home. He had seventy sons born to him, for he had many wives. He also had a concubine in Shechem, who gave birth to a son, whom he named Abimelech.”
2.Gideon refused to rule as a “king” but he had one request. We learn that Gideon had an ephod made. He did enquire of God, should I make a ephod. God did not ask or require Gideon to make this ephod. Interesting that God did not stop Gideon. Didn’t send an angel with a warning, don’t do this. Gideon has an ephod made of the plunder taken from their victory. We have no clear understanding why the ephod was made. Was it meant to be a “memorial” to the great victory?
v-23-24 “But Gideon replied, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son. The LORD will rule over you! However, I do have one request—that each of you give me an earring from the plunder you collected from your fallen enemies.”
3.The ephod that Gideon had made became a stumbling block.
v-27 “Gideon made a sacred ephod from the gold and put it in Ophrah, his hometown. But soon all the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping it, and it became a trap for Gideon and his family.”
Side note: You might be asking what is an “ephod?” In Exodus 28:2-5, we find the ephod listed as part of the high priests garments. Its design was very specific. Ex 28:6-13.
“It became a snare to Gideon himself, and it proved the ruin of the family. How soon will ornaments which feed the lust of the eye, and form the pride of life, as well as tend to the indulgences of the flesh, bring shame on those who are fond of them!” (M. Henry)
4.Even with the wrong choices that Gideon made I sense that God extended a “favor” over his rule as there was peace in the land for 40 years. We still find Gideon mentioned in the “Hall of Faith” (Heb 11:32)
V-28 “That is the story of how the people of Israel defeated Midian, which never recovered. Throughout the rest of Gideon’s lifetime—about forty years—there was peace in the land.”
5.After Gideon’s death we learn:
v- 33-35 “As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping the images of Baal, making Baal-berith their god. They forgot the LORD their God, who had rescued them from all their enemies surrounding them. Nor did they show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon), despite all the good he had done for Israel.”
“Many are led into false ways by one false step of a good man” (M. Henry)
6.Chapter 9 we learn of Abimelech (son of a concubine) and how he had his brothers killed so he can rule.
9:1-2 “One day Gideon’s son Abimelech went to Shechem to visit his uncles—his mother’s brothers. He said to them and to the rest of his mother’s family, “Ask the leading citizens of Shechem whether they want to be ruled by all seventy of Gideon’s sons or by one man.
9:5 “He went to his father’s home at Ophrah, and there, on one stone, they killed all seventy of his half brothers, the sons of Gideon. But the youngest brother, Jotham, escaped and hid.”
May we gain encouragement and wisdom from the life of Gideon.