No Other Gods!
Merciful Lord, I confess that I’m sinful and unworthy to come to You. Forgive and receive me now, I pray.
Read Judges 8:22-35
 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us-you, your son and your grandson-because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”  But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.”  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.)  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.  The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, 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.  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.  Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.  Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live.  He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives.  His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek.  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.  No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god  and did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side.  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. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat sad thing happened after Gideon died?
Perhaps, like me, you know older Christians who seem enormously impressive. They have served God faithfully all their lives, given up worldly ambitions, endured hardship, and God has used them to achieve wonderful things for his kingdom. Don’t forget, however, that they are still human and slip up in ways that perhaps only they and God know. Even the apostle Paul recognized his struggle with sin (see Rom. 7:7-25). Gideon has become the mighty warrior God planned him to be. He has led Israel in an inspiring victory over their enemies and wisely declined the invitation to become king, proclaiming “The Lord is your ruler.” What a hero! Yet, he cannot resist the opportunity to take something for himself. At today’s rates, the gold he collects is valued at over a million dollars. More seriously, though, he uses the gold to create an idol (an ephod was a kind of religious vestment which was revered and sometimes worshiped. See Deut. 7:23-26). God promised Israel victory but warned them that Canaanite gold could become a trap for them. After learning and achieving so much, Gideon still has weaknesses.
What measures can and will you take to ensure that you have “no other gods” before the Lord (Exod. 20:3)?
Gracious Lord, You know my weaknesses very well. Help me to know them, too, and to guard against them.
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