Thursday, April 17, 2008

Judges 8:22–27

Judges 8:22–27: Gideon’s Ephod

Synopsis

Over the last couple of passages, Gideon has tested the LORD—repeatedly—defeated the Midianites, punished some towns that wouldn’t provide his men with bread, and just generally had a bizarre couple of days. But now the battles with the Midianites are over, and the Israelites have peace. So, because of all that Gideon has done for them, they ask him to be their ruler; him and his descendants. (This may or may not mean that they want him to be their king.)

But Gideon responds well: he will not be their ruler, the LORD will. Well done, Gideon!

But he does have one small favour that he wants from the Israelites: He wants each of them to give him a gold earring from the plunder they’ve taken from the Midianites. The Israelites are more than happy to comply; they spread out some kind of garment, and everyone throws an earring from his share of the plunder onto the garment, to gather them up for Gideon.

So Gideon takes all of this gold and fashions it into an ephod, which he then places in his home town. The Israelites “prostitute” themselves by worshipping it as an idol, and it even becomes “a snare” (verse 27) to Gideon and his family.

Thoughts

This passage is another example that God can use anyone, even someone who doesn’t worship Him properly. Gideon didn’t trust God at the beginning of his story—as evidenced by his series of tests—and this passage shows that he didn’t even come to worship God properly at the end.

But Gideon, like any other man, is not two-dimensional. He has his good moments and his bad moments. For example, when the people ask him to be their ruler, he responds correctly (in my opinion); why do you want me to be your ruler, when you already have God leading you? So I’m kind of curious to know whether we’ll see Gideon in Heaven. Despite his mistakes, did he worship God? Or, despite the fact that God used him, did he not worship Him?
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