October 21, 2016 Judges 8
It seems as though Israel was always one generation away from turning their backs on the Lord. And so it was with Gideon and his sons. Chapter 8 chronicles some of Gideon’s greatest moments of victory only to record his greatest moments of defeat. His greatest victories were those of conquest empowered by faith in the living God. His greatest moments of defeat were those of losing his own family from the faith. What a tragedy. Although the sons of Israel feared the military might of Gideon, they had no respect for his family.
Due to the obedience of Gideon in respect to the call of God, 40 years of peace was granted in the land. Forty years undisturbed is a long time to be without conflict. It is in such times of peace that man can make great strides economically. One might think about the 40 years that followed World War II. It was a time of relative peace and great expansion of the American economy. So it was with Gideon. Even so, there were cracks in the armor. First Gideon made an ephod that turned out to be a snare for the people. Next he married many wives. It is important to note that God never condoned any of his servants to have multiple wives. He did use crooked sticks to hit home-runs. Gideon was not perfect, but he walked by faith to conquer the lands.
The second great tragedy of this chapter is how quickly the sons of Israel departed from the faith. As quickly as life left the body of Gideon, faith left his family. Once again the sons of Israel turned to Baal and failed to remember the Lord their God. Consequently, they did not show kindness to Gideon’s family and they did not give glory or thanksgiving to God.
Let us remember how important it is to instill a heritage into current and future generations. It is imperative to further the narrative of God’s work among his people. We must remind our children and grandchildren of this great work that God has done among us. It is He who has delivered. We are a people who live off the fat of the land. We are the most affluent generation to ever live on the face of the earth. How can I say such a thing? We spend more of our waking hours working toward leisure than any generation that has ever lived. I am reminded when I visit in third world countries of this truth. In those countries they work 6 to 8 hours each day just to provide food and a minimal shelter. Americans work less than 4 hours per day for food and shelter. The remainder of our days are spent working for a more extravagant shelter, a more convenient food, and recreation or luxury. In this way, we are living in peace. It is essential for us to teach the generations that our affluence is a deliverance from the Lord and it is His hand of blessing, not our own doings. Otherwise, the generations will walk away and serve gods raised up from our own luxury. May we give glory to God today.