Today’s Reading: Judges 8:18-9:21
How we begin leads to how we live. But, how we finish is so important. Paul said I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me–the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return. (2Tim4:7,8)
When you consider what Gideon has done it’s astounding. He has gone from a fearful farmer to a courageous, unrelenting warrior. He has eradicated the idolatrous worship of Baal and Asherah throughout his family. Through his vision, faith, and obedience to the Lord, Gideon has vanquished the Midianite army, scattered its last remnants in the desert of Moab, and executed its evil leaders.
The Israelites saw Gideon as saviour; Gideon saw the Lord as Saviour and humbly points them to God (8:22-23) and while I wish we could end Gideon’s story on this up-note, that just isn’t accurate, because his legacy ends with sadness. Gideon asked for the gold and ” 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.” (8:27)
Gideon likely didn’t intend to create an idol; he had torn down Canaanite idols to Baal and Astarte (6:28), but the precious golden garment he created become a stumbling block. The ironic twist to Gideon’s story is that the delivery creates a stumbling block that ensnares his family. He was the source of their deliverance, but he inadvertently becomes the source of their deception.
If we are to avoid turning our triumphs into tragedies we must be extra careful because every deliverance story begins and ends with God. Without heart change, we too easily return to past errors. Let’s finish strong, personally, fully trusting the Lord!