Read Judges 8:1-12
2. Gideon’s Conquest (continuation). In this chapter of Judges Gideon and his men are in pursuit of their enemy. Gideon has to deal with the people of Ephraim who want to be treated more importantly.
Gideon had to deal with the people of Succoth (sukk’-oth) and Peniel (pen’-i-el). Both of them wanted to see who would win, before they committed to a side.
- Unreasonable people. Notice in vss. 1, 3 that even those who belong to God can be so unreasonable and difficult to get along with. Think about Gideon being in the midst of a mission from God and his own people are holding him up, because they want to be treated more importantly.
Notice that after Gideon flatters them, there is no mention of them helping Gideon. But they were willing to block progress, until their egos were satisfied.
It is almost tearful to see how frequently the same thing happens today. There are those who could be such a great asset to the work, but instead, they find ways to block the progress, until their egos have been satisfied.
On one hand, we should be aware that people may not be as mature in the Lord as we want them to be. On other hand, we should make sure that we are not like the people of Ephraim.
We should be more concerned with the work of God
being done than with our egos. Let’s work on learning from the Ephraimites.
- Discernment. Notice in vss. 2-3 of this chapter of Judges that Gideon essentially used flattery to appease the Ephraimites and stay focused on the capture of the enemy.
First, we should seek God’s wisdom about what to say and how to say it. Notice that Gideon is soft with the Ephraimites and harder with the people of Succoth and Peniel. There is not a one size fit all.
Second, we should seek God’s wisdom about keeping the main thing the main thing. The devil works hard to distract us from the main thing of carrying out God’s will for our lives.
Let’s work on discerning what God wants us to say, how He wants us to say it, and what He wants us to prioritize.
- God’s will. Notice in vss. 4-6 that the people seem to withhold their support because they don’t know who is going to win the battle between Gideon and the enemy. Notice the concern seems to be with “winning,” not with being faithful to God’s will.
Unfortunately, there are too many people today who are waiting to see who will “win,” before they cooperate. We see this in the church.
There are those who want to see if the Pastor will win, before they come to a church meeting and voice their support of what God has placed on his heart.
There are those who want to see if a political candidate will win, before they voice their support. Let’s work on being people of godly conviction, instead of simply waiting to see what will happen. God often calls us to be a part of making things happen.
- Sins of omission. Notice in vss. 7-8 that there will be consequences for not doing the good that could have been done. In like manner, there are still sins of commission (i.e., doing something wrong) and sins of omission (i.e., failing to do what is right). And sin still leads to punishment.
The punishment may not come by the hands of those we have failed to cooperate with. But God will see to it that sin is dealt with. Let’s work on avoiding sins of omission. We should strive to give God our best.
- Victory through active faith. Notice in vss. 9-12 of this chapter of Judges that God gave His people the victory. First, God gave the victory without the help the people from Ephraim, Succoth, or Peniel. We need God much more than God needs us.
Second, God gave the victory through the active or living faith of Gideon. Gideon didn’t just pray for victory. He also fought for it. In like manner, God often calls us to prayerfully work for Him. It is not faith or works, but faith and works.
Think about how this applies to our having a positive mental attitude, being physically health, having financial wellbeing, getting along with people, and making a contribution to our world. Let’s work on trusting God enough to do the work that He is calling us to do.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being obedient, instead of disobedient. God has much for those who obey His will.