For all the good of Gideon’s life and story how tragic that it ends with this note,
“Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” 23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.” 24 Yet Gideon said to them, “I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25 They said, “We will surely give them.” So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. 26 The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household.” -Judges 8:22-27
Verses 22 & 23 show such great character, but then verse 27 show that for such a grand gesture in verses 22 & 23 there was still a part of him that wanted an aspect of the people’s “worship.”
James 2:20 tells us,
“faith without works is dead”
Judges 10:10-17 seem to show evidence of this concept in the Old Testament.
The people cry out to God to deliver them. But God does not answer their prayer the way they desire. So they cry out again, but this time they also destroy their idols and God delivers. Maybe some would say that seems like righteousness by works, but since the idols were a symbol of worship as long as they kept them it showed their faith was not 100% focused upon God.
These are the two stories that spoke to me in todays reading and both are reminders that half-way with God always comes up all the way short.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalm 18-20