Daily Thought for: 19th March
GIDEON—WISE AND UNWISE: SPIRITUAL AND UNSPIRITUAL
In the battle the pitchers were broken so the light shone out. Paul uses
this to show how our lives must be yielded to God, 2 Cor. 4. 6-10.
Dealing with the enemy without is not the end, for as the enemy is being routed, problems emerge from within. Ephraim, self-importantly, chide Gideon, whilst the Israelite towns of Penuel and Succoth refuse to provide food for his men. The very people Gideon should have been able to count on hinder on the one hand, and actually help the enemy on the other. In the first case he gives a soft answer, Prov. 15. 1; in the next he exercises severe judgment. Why the difference? Ephraims comments were personal to Gideon, whereas the towns refused to help his men: Gideon stands up for others, not himself. Leniency and severity are exercised appropriately. Spirituality and wisdom are needed in all such matters.
Israel, almost incredibly, has not learned the lesson. It is abundantly clear that the band of men is so small that it could not have won the battle; yet the people say to Gideon thou hast delivered us; and further, ignoring the One who had won the battle, Rule over us! vv. 22-23. Gideon again has a wise answer, from his own experience, The Lord shall rule over you! Oh that this were the case in our individual lives, and in Gods assemblies!
Sadly, Gideon is tripped up in the moment of triumph, vv. 24-27. Where did he go wrong? How was he unwise, unspiritual? Alas, he asked something for himself. From it he made an ephod; something of apparent spiritual significance but not the genuine article; cf. 2 Tim. 3. 5. He dabbled with the trappings of religion, a little thing really; an ephod without a priest is nothing, yet it became a snare to Gideon and Israel. Would we introduce something without scriptural sanction into Gods assembly? Gideon was tempted by the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; later on, we see the lust of the flesh, vv. 30-31. Let none cease to be watchful, yielded to God in all things.
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.