The Rise and Fall of Gideon

Judges Fall

Read Judges 8:22-35

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” 23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.” 24 And Gideon said to them, “Let me make a request of you: every one of you give me the earrings from his spoil.” (For they had golden earrings because they were Ishmaelites.) 25 And they answered, “We will willingly give them.” And they spread a cloak, and every man threw in it the earrings of his spoil. 

27 And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.28 So Midian was subdued before the people of Israel, and they raised their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.

 30 Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he called his name Abimelech.32, And Gideon, the son of Joash, died in a good old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash, his father, at Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god. 34 And the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side, 35 and they did not show steadfast love to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.

Gideon’s life was full of adventure. He started in fear but walked in the ways of the Lord fulfilling his purpose and destiny as a mighty man of valor. During his success, the biggest challenge awaits him. After the war, the people asked him to be their king, but he declined. He even said that even his sons would not do such a thing because only God is the ruler. Looking at this verse, we could conclude the humility and the leadership greatness of Gideon, but it was not to be so. At the same breath, the Israelites also forgot their God by asking a human king to rule over them. With a human king, they did not need to run to God and wait for the promised rescuer (Genesis 3:15). They wanted a human rescuer now.
Keypoint #1: Since the Old Testament time, men have been looking to other humans to solve a problem only God can fix. 
After declining to be their king, he made a request that did not collaborate with him not wanting power. He asked the people to give him gold earrings from each one trying to get the honor that God deserves. With his request, he became an instant billionaire. He then used the gold earrings as an ephod that people prostituted themselves to worship to. Ephods were used by the high priests in the temple. It symbolized the place of God’s dwelling and was used to discern God’s will in times of crisis. By making an ephod of his own, Gideon sets up his place of worship. Though he declined to be king, he became one that people run to for guidance and direction. He took the job that was meant for God because he also wanted the power and the glory. The Bible said that the ephod became a snare in Gideon’s family.
Keypoint #2: Power and control are things that could easily replace our need for God. 
The result of this action by Gideon was that he raised a family that compromised God’s laws and rules. He had seventy sons by many wives of her choosing and had one concubine. He named one of his sons Abimelech which means “My father is King.” What he declined when asked of, he is now trying to live out in his sons.
Gideon in his mind knew what to do. Reject the offer of the people, but his heart did otherwise. He chose to make himself king in his own eyes. It reminds me of how I can sometimes know in my mind yet still want my way of doing things. I could mentally be aware yet physically still disobey.
Keypoint #3: Not because I am aware of what is right and wrong that my actions would follow suit. I need to obey with my head, heart, and body. 
Talk it over:
1. Do you feel that there are areas in your life that you are not being recognized and honored? How can Gideon’s story help you deal with success?
2. Is having control of things are a temptation for you? How can you overcome the need for control especially when things don’t go your way?
3. Are there things you are aware of that could be detrimental to your life yet have not taken action of. Share with the group.

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