God, I want to please You, but I don’t always know how. Show me how to honor You.
Read Judges 8:22–35
22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”
23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” 24 And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.)
25 They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it. 26 The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels,[a] not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
28 Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.
29 Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live. 30 He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek. 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god 34 and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.
- Judges 8:26 That is, about 43 pounds or about 20 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever made poor choices in your attempts to please or serve God?
God is sovereign, but the liberated Israelites can’t see God for Gideon (22)! Perhaps his ‘ephod’ (27) was intended to correct their vision – to provide a symbol of God’s victory and his enduring reign over Israel. Whatever Gideon’s original intentions, it was the ephod – rather than God – that became the object of Israel’s worship (27). The judge who began by tearing down his father’s altar to Baal (6:25–27) ends up replacing it with another idolatrous shrine. False gods need not be foreign gods; they can be of our own making.
It is no accident that these verses recall Aaron’s casting of the golden calf at the foot of Mount Sinai (Exodus 32:1–6). Gideon was surely aware of this episode in Israel’s history (6:13), begging the question of his wisdom in fashioning the golden ephod. We may also wonder why the man who wouldn’t be king apparently lived very much like a king (29–32). Nevertheless, overall the narrator judges Gideon favorably (35), and he is included in the New Testament ‘faith hall of fame’ (Hebrews 11:32–34). Scriptural heroes of faith are not without their flaws. Is it not likely this will also be true of contemporary players in the continuing divine drama?
Ask God to reveal anything in your life (or the life of your church) that has become a barrier to true worship. Commit to act in partnership with Him to set things right.
Jesus, if there is anything between us that keeps me from serving You to the best of my ability, please correct me.