Sermon – The rise and fall of Gideon (Judges 8:1 – 8:35) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Sermon 8 of 10

The rise and fall of Gideon

Ben Rolfe, Judges 8:1 - 8:35, 17 March 2024

Ben continues our series in Judges, preaching to us from Judges 8:1-35. In this passage we see the remainder of Gideon’s activities as God’s chosen judge; we see his successes and failures, the key events of his life and his death, and what this all means for us today.


Judges 8:1 - 8:35

8:1 Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they accused him fiercely. And he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer? God has given into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger against him subsided when he said this.

And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing. So he said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” And the officials of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?” So Gideon said, “Well then, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will flail your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.” And from there he went up to Penuel, and spoke to them in the same way, and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. And he said to the men of Penuel, “When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their army, about 15,000 men, all who were left of all the army of the people of the East, for there had fallen 120,000 men who drew the sword. 11 And Gideon went up by the way of the tent dwellers east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the army, for the army felt secure. 12 And Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and he threw all the army into a panic.

13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. 14 And he captured a young man of Succoth and questioned him. And he wrote down for him the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven men. 15 And he came to the men of Succoth and said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are exhausted?’” 16 And he took the elders of the city, and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them taught the men of Succoth a lesson. 17 And he broke down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.

18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “Where are the men whom you killed at Tabor?” They answered, “As you are, so were they. Every one of them resembled the son of a king.” 19 And he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you.” 20 So he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise and kill them!” But the young man did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a young man. 21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself and fall upon us, for as the man is, so is his strength.” And Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and he took the crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels.

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” 23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the LORD will rule over you.” 24 And Gideon said to them, “Let me make a request of you: every one of you give me the earrings from his spoil.” (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25 And they answered, “We will willingly give them.” And they spread a cloak, and every man threw in it the earrings of his spoil. 26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and besides the collars that were around the necks of their camels. 27 And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family. 28 So Midian was subdued before the people of Israel, and they raised their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.

29 Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30 Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he called his name Abimelech. 32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, at Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god. 34 And the people of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side, 35 and they did not show steadfast love to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.

(ESV)


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Judge chapter 8. Now, the Ephramites asked Gidiom. Why have you treated us like this? Why didn't you call us when you went to 5000000, and they challenged him vigorously?

But he answered them. What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren't the gleanings of Ephraim's grapes better than the full grape harbors or Ebeezer? God gave Orevan Zib the midnight leaders into your hands. What was I able to able to do compared to you?

At this, their resentment against them subsided. Gideon and his 300 men exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit came to the Jordan and crossed it. He said to the men of Sikoff, give my troops some bread. They're worn out and I'm still pursuing Zebra and Zalmuna, the kings of Midion. But the officials of Sukop said, Do you already have the hands of Zebra and Zalmuna in your possession?

Why should we give you why should we give bread to your troops? Then Gideon replied, just for that, and the lord has given Zebra and Zalmona into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briars. From there, he went up to Panil and made for the made the same request to them. But they answered the same as the men of Sukov had. So he said to the men of Penil, when I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.

Now Zebra and Zalmuna were in Carcourt with a force of about 15000 men. All that were left the armies of the Eastern peoples, hundred and 20000 swordsmen had fallen. Gideon went up by the roots of the northern of the nomads, east of Noba, and Job Bear, and attack the unsuspecting army Zebra and Zalmuna, the 2 kings of midian fled, but he pursued them and captured them routing their entire army. Gidian son of Joash then returned from the battle by the Pass of Harris. He caught a young man of Sikov and questioned him and the young man wrote down for him the names of the 77 officials of Tsokov, the elders of the town.

Then getting came and said to the man of Sikoff. Here are Zebra and Zalmuna, about whom you taunted me by saying, Do you already have the hands of Zeban's army in your possession? Why should we give you give bread to your exhausted men? He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Sokov a lesson by punching them with the desert thorns and briars. He also pulled down the tower of Penil and killed the men of the town.

Then he asked Zebra and Zal Nuna. What kind of men did you kill at Tableau? Men like you, they answered. Each 1 with a bearing of a prince. Getting replied, those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother.

As surely as the lord lives, If you had spared their lives, I would not kill you. Turn into Jeff for his elder son. He said, kill them. But Jethr did not draw his sword because he was only a boy and was afraid. Zebra and Zalnouna said, come, do it yourself.

As is the man, so is his strength. So Gidien stepped forward and killed them and took the ornaments off their camel's necks. The agent I said to Gideon ruled over us, you and your son and your grandson because you have saved us from the hand of medium. But Gidiyan told them, I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you the lord will rule over you. And he said, I do have 1 request that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.

It was custom of the ishmaelites to wear gold earrings. They answered, we will be glad to give them So they spread out so they spread out a garment and each of them threw a ring from his plunday onto it. The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to 1700 shekels. Not counting the ornaments, dependence, and the purple garments worn by the king's pavilion, or the chains that were on their camel's necks. Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Offra his town.

All of Israel prostitute prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gidyan and his family. Thus, medium was subdued before the israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon's lifetime, the land had peace for 40 years. Joe Barton of Joash went back to his home to live. He had 70 sons of his own, but he had many wives.

His concubine, who lived with him in Czechhem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimele, Gidion, son of Joash, died a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father, Joash, in Offra, of the obese rights. No sooner Hagidian died than the israelites again prostituted themselves to the Biles. They set up Balbereth as their god. Did not remember the law their god who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerabar, that is Gideon. In spite of all the good things he had done for them, Ben.

Well, good evening. It is, lovely to see you here tonight my name is Ben. I'm 1 of the members here at Cornerstone. Can I add my welcome to Steve's? It's it's good to be here today.

As we begin, let me take this opportunity to pray to ask for the law's help in understanding this passage. You'll be asking your kindness that you would open blind eyes that you would, open our deaf ears that we may see and hear and understand your word. We pray that the Holy Spirit would be at work in doing that that he would, help us in applying this to our lives so that we may see our savior and love him more amen. Well, if you were here last week, we were looking at Judge's 7. And we're following the character the person of Gideon.

He's 1 of god's chosen judges. And god had whittled Gideon's army down from 32000 warriors to just 3 hundreds. And you've probably seen that, iconic war poster with the the finger coming out and saying, we need you or Britain needs you Well, for god, it's the opposite that poster says, we we don't need you. Go go home. And even at the outset, the midian nights, that's the enemy, out number Gillian's men by 4 to 1.

And then they go down to 3 hundreds and they are outnumbered 450 times. So this event, this battle was not about the mighty warriors. It wasn't about how sharp their swords were or how good the army was. This event was all about god. God should get the glory in this event, not Gideon, not his men.

Because if you remember, Gidian's men didn't even have to fight. They simply blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. I mean, rather than army, this sounds like an orchestral pottery club, who wins the battle? God wins the battle. I mean, you you can imagine the armies react and can't you as as this announcement comes out, leave the swords behind.

You won't need them and take the trumpets and jars. That's what you're gonna need. Yeah. They're just gonna be shocked from the floor. I know what I choose.

I'll be taking a sword. But god causes Gidyn's men to win the battle. Verse 22 of chapter 7, they turn on each other with their swords. God causes the enemy to, like, self combust, and the majority of the immediate nights are defeated then. And many people have called chapter 7, the the battle or the lesson of the 3 hundreds, which is ironic really because it's not really about the 300.

It's about gods. And so this lesson should have been fresh in the minds of the Israelites. God has made it clear to them that he is the 1 that is gonna deliver them. He is the powerful 1. He is the 1 to trust and to follow And as we move into chapter 8, we're gonna follow Gideon Moore.

I don't know if you've seen that film 19 17. It's almost 1 continuous shot following 1 character. Well, it's the same here in judges. We're following Gideon's life. So a hundred and 20000 midnight warriors, midianite warriors have been defeated.

But 15000 remain, and that's why Giddin is pursuing them still. Now when I when I was a child back in the nineties, 90 total's a period of history. If you haven't weren't born then, there was a a TV program called Mr. Ben, you can you can imagine why I was drawn to that program. And, mister Ben would would transform into different characters So he would become, a cowboy or a chief or a spaceman.

And as viewers, you would get to follow his story, his adventures, And tonight, we are gonna look at mister Gidion. We're gonna watch 3 episodes of mister Gidion. So it's gonna be a trilogy in 1 sermon, which I have nicknamed the rise and fall of Gideon. So if you if you're taking notes right quickly, firstly, it's Gideon, the honor seeking deliverer, We're then gonna look at Gideon, the self appointed king, and then thirdly, Gideon, the rival priest. So let me set the scene as we go into chapter 8.

We start with the ephraimites. They come to Gidyan and they challenge him. About his battle strategy. Have a look. Why have you treated us like this?

Why didn't you call us when you went to fight median. Now the ephraimites were the most powerful tribes. They had a strong economy and a strong army, and they are not pleased with Gideon. And despite it being god's battle, despite it being god that won, it's giddy and they'd come to. And I don't know if you noticed the language but they say, why have you?

Why didn't you? The ephraimites want in, and they're confronting Gidyan. They're annoyed to have missed out on this battle. But likely, and probably more importantly, They're annoyed to miss out on the glory and the honor that this battle would give them. To summarize their situation, they're annoyed that they weren't called earlier.

They want in. If you if you work in a large corporate company, or, work with people generally, you might have experienced this. Just imagine you're working in a the product team, you're working on new product, and news spreads internally. And suddenly on your door, you've got the marketing team or the legal team, and they want in They they've heard the news and they won in. They're annoyed to have missed out.

They're annoyed to be missing the honor and glory that this new product might have. And immediately, you you can see the problem with the ephraimites here. They've overlooked the fact that it was gods who won the battle. This event isn't about the fromites. It's not even about Gideon.

This event was all about gods. These nights are seeking their own selfish glory for themselves and not gods. And Gidi in response to them, have a look at verse 2 and 3 in what I can only describe as a love letter. I mean, we we had a Valentine's day last month. Well, this is, Gideon's Valentine message to them.

What have I accomplished compared to you? What was I able to do compared to you? He massages their ego. He placates them and just about appeasism. With these sweet compliments and encouragement, and he compares himself to the might and the force of the ephraimites.

What he's doing is is buttering them up to keep them happy, to keep them on sides. It's like a political speech written by a spin doctor and they are swallowing it hook, line, and sinker. But I'm not sure Giddin's response here was right. I mean, It would have even been better for him to correct them here. Wouldn't he?

He could have said some something like, yeah. We we beat the midianites, but It was only because of god's. It was his strategy, god's plan, god's timing, or, just so you know what, I didn't call you sooner because this isn't about you or us. This is about gods. Him demonstrating his providence, his timing, his authority to subdue those who stand against him.

So I think Gideon already has missed a trick here, but he is able to continue in his quest. He he sidesteps the situation and carries on. And at this stage in the journey, his 300 men are tired. They're exhausted. And they're hungry.

He may have been in situations like that. And so he approaches 2 towns, 2 cities, for help. Firstly, he comes to suck off. And you you've heard the phrase, haven't you? An army marches on its stomach.

Well, Gudian has that in his mind. He needs supplies. He needs bread in this case. So have a look at verse 4. Kidian and his 300 men, exhausted, yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it.

He said to the men of Sikoth, give my troops some breads. They are worn out, and I'm still pursuing Zebra and Zluma. The kings of the medium. But the officials of Suckov said, do you already have the hands of Zebra? And so does that's a hard word.

And Zaluma in your possession, why should we give bread to your troops? Sik off, like, slam the metaphorical door in their face. It's like a like a doorstep salesman. There's no way they're giving him anything. And instead of bread, they return a a pointed question Do you already have the hands of Zebra and Zaluma in your possession?

Circoth want proof. They want evidence that Ginn has won the battle. Because without proof, there's no way that they are helping this ally. Now the people of Sikoth would have likely been Israelites, say you'd expect them to help out but they don't. They refuse.

Likely because they also feared the midianites, and they thought if Gideon loses this battle, the midianites will will come after us. So they keep Gideon at arms length until this battle is a foregone conclusion. It'd be a little bit like a NATO country declining to get involved until the war is won. It do it doesn't work like that. And it's the same for the second city.

In a Panil. Have a look at verse 8. From there, he went up to Panil and made the same request of them. But they answered as the men's of suck up hat. Again, they refused to help.

They're not giving any breads. A a right response would have been to open a bed and breakfast to give them some real foods to help Gidiyan's men. But they have forgotten the lesson, haven't they? That with god on Gideon's sides, This is a foregone conclusion. This is guaranteed.

The outcome is locked in. God will win. Now for Christians doing ministry, I I think there's already some direct application for us. And I think the ephraimites at 1 end of the spectrum, 1 end of the pendulum, and at the other end, we have the 2 cities. Let's first look at ephraimites.

Because an e for my Christian would put themselves at the center of a ministry. They would be number 1. And they will want everyone to know it and to see them. Now if you've followed Christian News, you you've probably seen people like this people who have placed themselves at the center of ministries as number 1. And we can fall into this trap.

Can't we that thinking of we're the ones that are critical to a a ministry's success. If if we weren't there, then it, oh, it wouldn't be the same without me. So we must be careful in ministry not to place ourselves in that position where we're unreplaceable, where we're the number 1. And we, we might use a phrase like, oh, he's a he's a great man of gods. But, really, he is a man of a great god.

We need to get our view in our perspective. And our role in ministry right in that. So when there's fruits, when there's conversions in ministry, That's not because I'm involved. That's not because I've done a great job. It's because of god and his work in it.

The lesson chapter 7 is that it's not all about us. And and 1 Corinthians, chapter 3 verse 6, reminds us of this. Paul says this. I planted the seeds, Apolus watered it, but god has been making it grow. Ministry is is not about us.

It's not what we do. There is work to do. That's right. Just like Gillian had work to do, but god is the only 1 who should receive the honor and the glory that he deserves. I recently had a story of a preacher who'd been asked to come and mediateiate between 2 local Christian charities who had had a falling out.

And he was happy to do this, and he had a kind of meeting with both of them. And talked them through. And by the by the end of this meeting, they they had, come to an agreement that they were they were happy to work alongside each other. And 1 of the, charity workers turned to the pastor and said, oh, thanks. Thanks so much for doing this.

I I think without you, it'd have been so different. We'd have we'd have never got back together and god's work wouldn't have happened in his town. And the pastor wisely turned to him and said, This isn't about me. God could have done this without me. God can, in fact, do this without you.

Remember, this is god's work and not ours. And I thought that I was such a wise and godly response for a situation that could have inflated his ego and made it bigger than it should have been. So we need to avoid becoming the only person for the job. Be be on our guard against ministries built around us. Now at the other end of the pendulum, we have these 2 cities.

We can begin to think like the people of Sarkov and the people of Penil. Because to summarize their situation, they lack faith. They lack faith. They doubt that god's deliverance is guaranteed. They doubt it's certain, and therefore, They're just not willing to get involved.

They're just bystanders in this. And speaking for myself, you know, there have been times where I have been like that, you know, I've been risk adverse in ministry. I'm willing to take a risk. It's a bit like, Christian, he puts the handbrake on. He just wants to stop to slow you things down.

You know, maybe, gospel conversations are squandered. Serving opportunities missed, friends and family overlooked, all stemming from an underlying lack of faith in what god can and will do. A few years ago, I bought, a book called, Risk, which is written by John Piper. And if if if you know me, I'm more of a risk adverse person, I'm in that end of the at the end of the spectrum, but the book was a pound. So I took I took took the risk in this in the invite invested heavily in this book, and I did read it.

But in in this book, Piper argues that, many people prioritize security and comfort over obedience to god. But true faith requires a willingness to take risks and to trust in god's provision. And the the book honestly did challenge me to think about whether we are playing it safe or whether we are living by faith. And I think that's the lesson that these 2 cities are trying to teach us. Are we are we playing it safe, or are we living by faith?

Now let's, let's return to the, story of Gideon. And this is my first point. Gideon, the honor seeking deliverer. Because take a look at, versus 7 to 9, because here we see Gideon's response to sucker thump pineal. And it's it's fairly harsh.

I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briars. When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower. We're beginning to see Gideon's downward spiral here. Because chapter 6 and 7 have shown getting there's quite a a humble man seeking god's will, testing what he's heard, But here, here we see Gideon passing judgment on these cities. And not only passing judgment, also the punishment as well.

In his barbaric behavior. He threatens their lives, their towns, their violence, his demolition going on, And I think if you've been flicking back, you won't you won't find this instruction from god. Getting is making decisions here off his own back. And I think Gideon's reaction reveals his heart. He thinks he deserves the honor and the glory from the battle in chapter 7, and he's not getting it.

So what started as a god given victory has become an attitude of, I've earned it. I I've earned this, honor that you owe me. And as they declined to offer help with the bread, he decides to teach them a lesson. And that is exactly what he does. If you, looked down at verse 16, he took the elders of the town and taught the men of Sakat a lesson by punishing them with desert thorns and briars.

He also pulled down the tower of Puneel, and killed the men of the town. I'm just fair to say maybe not an understatement that Gideon oversteps the mark here. And so instead of using his hands to guide and to point people to gods, He uses his hands to tear down, to torture, and to kill. Now Gidien is a is a real mixed bag. Maybe you've noticed that.

You can't really put Gidien in the in the good category or the the bad category. We kinda like our goodies to be good and, our villains to be villains, but Gideon is like a bag of revels. You know, you put your hand in, you might get a caramel. You put your hand in, you might get a coffee. Not so good.

It's good good or bad. We're not quite sure what we're gonna get with Gideon. Now although Gideon's response is extreme, you can begin to understand why he he's upset. And his thinking is if if you're not for me, if you're not gonna help me, then really you're against me, and therefore, god's. Geline is a is a mixed bag.

Because in Hebrews 11, he's described of as a or he's commended for having faith, which does seem a little bit odd to what we're reading here. But I think takeaway from this that getting is a mixed bag. Some behavior would encourage and and some not so. But I think this underlines the point that we're meant to learn in chapter 7, which is this isn't about gidion This is about god. This is about god's faithfulness to his people.

God didn't call Gideon because he saw a character tracing him that he wanted to be encouraged from the beginning. Gidim was chosen and given faith because he was a weak man, and therefore this would highlight god's power and authority. God would receive the honor and the strength in all of this, because it jumped forward to verse 28 of chapter 8. Thus, median was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon's lifetime, the land had peace for 40 years.

So despite Gideon's rebellion, God is merciful and grants the land peace for 40 years. So unlike Gideon, God is faithful to his people the whole time. Now let me let me move on to the second point, which is Gidiyan the self appointed king. So after the midianite defeat, the Israelites turned to Gidiyan and they say this. Rule over us.

You, your son, and your grandson because you have saved us from the hand of midian. The people are looking to appoint a king. Someone to rule over them. Someone to govern them. Someone to be there their sovereign.

And did you notice that phrase? You saved us. They say that to Gidi, and you saved us. Have they forgotten? You feel like shouting, don't you?

Have you forgotten chapter 7? Because it's god chapter 7 verse 7 says, I will save you and give the midi nights into your hands. Not only does god conquer the midianites, it's god who protects getting and his men. And keeps them safe in battle. They have forgotten that it was god who defeated the midianites.

Not Gidiom. But what what's surprising is his response in verse 23. I'll read that to you. Gideon told them I will not rule over you, and nor will my son rule over you. The lords will rule over you.

If you were marking this response, it would get an a star because this is the best thing gideon says all chapter. Because he he wisely declines the offer. He says, no, no, not not me. You got the wrong man. Let god's be your king.

Now ideally, this is where the chapter would end. We'd end on a high of chapter 8, but it doesn't. We have verse 24. Just 2 verses later, I mean, it kinda makes us wanna cry and scream and shout at getting all all at the same time. Verse 24 says this.

I do have 1 request that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunderer. And then verse 27, Gideon made the gold into an ephot, which he placed in Oprah his town. All Israel constituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family. So what we get here is a discrepancy between what Gidian's lips are doing and what his actions are doing. He's a conflicted man.

It's it's it's the mixed bag again. Initially, he declines the offer, But then moments later, he's collecting in the spoils of the war. So this would this would be a little bit like King Charles and 20 22 or or prince Charles then, announcing that he wasn't gonna become king. That wasn't gonna happen. But then we noticed in the backgrounds that photos come out of him getting ready, but a crown is being fitted to his heads.

The coronation service is being planned. Invitations are being sent out. There's a discrepancy going on between what is said. And what is done. So Gideon backtracks on his announcements, and he takes in the gold and the pendants, and the garments and the chains for for himself.

And I think what we're witnessing here is a a difference. Between the head knowledge of Gideon saying no, and the hard actions of greed and of pride. And I think if we if we could strap like a heart monitor onto Gideon, we'd see his rebellion of god. This this isn't what Giddens should be doing. He's going against what God has asked him to do.

He has a firm grasp of what shouldn't shouldn't happen, but chooses to not act that way. So like before, Gideon seeks the money, the glory, and the praise following the defeat. And looking at verse 30, things go from bad to worse. He had 70 sons of his own, for he had many wives. His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore a son, who named him Abimelech.

You feel like giving Gidi a shake, don't you? A really hard shake? We read here he's acquired many wives from himself, mean alarm bells should be ringing there. And not only that, he's acquired a concubine, a woman who he sleeps with, but without marrying more alarm bells are going off. The final nail in the coffin, it's Gidian, names his son, Abimelech, Anyone called that here?

Good. I'll continue with that. Because this name might sound good, but it means my father is king. So again, Gideon puts himself there as as king. The self appointed king.

But god was Israel's king. He is their sovereign, not not Gideon. There wasn't a vacancy for a king. And what a contrast of verse 23 where he declines the offer. And now he's becoming king.

He's acting like a king. 1 Samuel chapter 8 verse 6, there's this. But when they said, give us a king to lead us. This displeased Samuel. So he prayed to the lords.

And the lord told him, listen to all that the people are saying to you. It is not you they have rejected but they have rejected me as their king appointing Gideon as king in this way causes god great upset. They have rejected the king. As I said, there was no king vacancy. Gidien has overstepped the mark there.

A human king wasn't needed. He's effectively stealing the crown of god and placing it on his own heads. And he feels, I guess, that he's finally getting the recognition that he's deserved. Now this all seems a bit absurd, doesn't it? The giddens doing this, and a bit unbelievable that he's gone this far.

But I think this does give us something for us to think about. From the looks of things, it's unlikely that any of us are gonna be king, just saying, That's my guess. But we do need to be careful not to elevate ourselves above god. To make ourselves more important. And there is that risk in Christian ministry that the goal becomes for us to receive the honor and the glory.

It's asu has to be seen. His asu has to be on the stage. It us, we have to be noticed for the ways that we're serving. We need to keep god's glory as our primary concern in life and in service. Consider notice, we don't, see Gideon talk to god in chapter 8, there's no prayer.

He doesn't consult god about what he's doing. So I think there's a health check for us there. Are we talking to gods? Are we praying? Or are we, carrying on blindlessly in our mission to receive the honor and glory that we think we deserve.

And I think for leaders, there's a lesson here. You know, whether that be, as a parent, as a teacher in Sunday school, as a husband, as an elder, there's a lesson for us here that we are to be under shepherds We are not the shepherd. We're to care for the flock, not lording it over them. We're to serve, we're to love, we're to give up our rights, give up our comforts, sacrifice them so that we may serve and love people. Those are the marks of a true Christian serving, and Flippins chapter 2 says this, verse, verse 3.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility, value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests, but each of you. To the interest of the others. That'd be a good lesson to take away from today. Now let's let's move on to my third point.

Third point is Gideon, the rival priest. When we read there in verse, verse 27, how Gideon chooses to spend his gold. He makes an effort. Gidi makes the golden to an e Ford, which he placed in Oprah, his hometown. Now I'm guessing this isn't the top of your Amazon wish list.

But this is what Gideon chooses to do. Now an e Ford was a garment worn by a priest. And it's believed that this garment had 2 plates in it that would help priests determine what was right and what was wrong. It would help make decisions. So you could work out what was a yes and what was a no and what was a maybe.

And this is what Gideon chooses to make. And the second half of verse 27 shows us what happens. What are the consequences of this? All Israel prosecuted themselves by worshiping it there. And it became a snare to Gideon and his family.

What Gideon has effectively done is set up a rival place of worship, and ultimately, a rival god to be worshiped. Gidians' place of worship, therefore distracts. It confuses. It diverts. And it pulls people away from god.

So instead, which was his job of directing people towards god as a rest he's drawing them away from the 1 true god. And instead of encouraging faithfulness, He's actively promoting unfaithfulness from god. Now Gideon's father He'd previously been the caretaker of Vyle's Otters. And now, Gideon, Well, they've become the caretaker of this new object or this new idol for them to worship. And the cycle of sin here, the downward spiral of Israel, is evident, isn't it?

In just 27 verses, Gideon has neglected his most important job as deliverer. And he has appointed himself as a rival priest. And the language is very vivid here, isn't it, of how Israel responds? They gave themselves over to this idol. And the language you shows that god's people are worshiping another god, and therefore it it amounts to spiritual adultery.

That's how god sees this. They are turning away from their spiritual husband Yahway to this false man made gold idol. This is serious. And more importantly, it is deadly. Because following god's rescue in chapter 7, you'd expect them, wouldn't you, to honor and love and worship gods That would have been the right good response.

But shockingly, they they've made themselves an idol. A man made golden idol. How tragic to see that this object has become a snare A lure, are pulling people away from the 1 true god. But it's not just pulling people away from god. It's also a sense of entrapping people that people are trapped worshiping this.

Trapped in in sin. And it's easy to look at, Gillin's behavior. And kind of laugh at its craziness. It's almost absurd, isn't it? But I think there's a lesson for us to avoid idols.

Avoid the trap, the deadly trap of worshiping anything other than god's. Why? Because it is a a snare, a trap. The risk is you will get addicted to sin and fall away from gods. It's a it's a bit like a a wild animal.

They get they get trapped with a snare. And what eventually happens is they die because they're stuck there. These idols pull us away from gods They demand our worship, our time, and they force our attention onto something other than the 1 true god. They force our attention onto a lie, a deceit, a distraction. So let me ask us a question.

What have you given yourself over to? Whether that be your time or your money your possessions, your lifestyle. What do we need to repent of in this area of a dollar a idolatrous worship. What idols do you have in your life? Later on, we're gonna be having communion a a chance to, repent and to come before our lord Jesus and ask for forgiveness.

And remind ourselves of what he has done on the cross, and that would be a wonderful time to do that. Because because of our sin, we are in need of a deliverer. And in fact, we are in need of the deliverer. We are in need of the perfect deliverer, the perfect king, and the perfect priest. Angidian, he has fallen short on so many of those accounts.

He's changed. He has switched from being a friend of god. To an enemy of gods. He switched from being an idle smasher to an idle creator He's changed from being god fearing to people fearing Gideon. And lastly, he has changed from seeking the lord's will.

To going against god's will. Gidien was meant to be a a guide for the spiritual blind. Spiritually blind, but we discover, don't we? That he has become blind himself. And for the last part of the sermon, I wanna spend a short time looking at how Jesus Christ perfectly fulfills all these roles.

He is the perfect deliverer, the perfect king, and the perfect priest. Let's look at those because I want I wanna spend some time looking at how how good Jesus is. So firstly, it's Jesus our perfect deliverer. Romans chapter 6 and verse 22 says this. But now that you have been set free from sin, and have become slaves of god.

The benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. Jesus's death and resurrection means that we are no longer slaves to sin. He has delivered us from that. He has rescued us from that. And we have been rescued to eternal life.

The battle against Satan has been won. It is secure. It is guaranteed. That has been completed on the cross. And unlike Gideon and Israel, this defeat, this deliverance is permanent.

It has been achieved once for all. Jesus is our perfect deliverer. And then secondly, Jesus is our perfect king. Psalm 47 verses 6 and 7 say this. Sing praises to god sing praises, sing praises to our king, sing praises.

For god is the king of all the earth sing to him asama praise. There are kings and queens in this world. There are those who appoint themselves as kings and queens. There are those who position themselves as demanding respect and authority of what they've done or for who they are. They call for our praise and our worship, but there is only 1 person.

Jesus Christ, who deserves the praise and the worship, written about in this Psalm. He is the 1 we are to treat as king. Not anybody else. He is the perfect king who we can trust, who we can follow. And lastly, Jesus is our perfect high priest, and I've chosen the verse from Hebrews chapter 4.

Versus 14 and 15. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who was ascended into heaven, Jesus, the son of god. Let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have 1 who has been tempted in every way. Just as we are, yet he did not sin.

Well, he see here that Jesus, the son of god is our great high priests. He has died for our sins once for all. And this act leads us back to god, not not away from him. Jesus, we're told he was tempted in every way, but did not sin. Unlike gideon.

He he is the better gideon. He is the true priest. And he is able to empathize with our weaknesses rather than lording it over us. He understands us. He loves us.

He forgives us. This is the high priest that we need. And unlike Gideon, he is eternal. His deliverance lasts forever. He will not die.

Gidian, as I as I think I've shown miss mister Mark in in many ways, but he is used by gods despite his failings. And therefore, I think there's an encouragement for us to continuing god's work despite our failings. We are to love the lords, to honor him, to serve him, because god uses weak people He uses people that make bad choices. People like you and me. He chooses to do his work.

And in god's kindness, he uses people just a mustard seed of faith. So tiny, it looks insignificant. But god uses it for his glory. So be encouraged, continue to point and to lead people back to this wonderful savior that we have just talked about. And wherever possible, at any time, anywhere and everywhere, give him the glory that he deserves, and pray that god would use our fallen and broken works to give him the glory and therefore to grow his kingdom.

Let me pray as we close. Father we thank you that in Jesus we have a better gideon, 1 that can truly deliver us, 1 who is the perfect king, 1 who is the great high priest, And therefore, it is you who deserves all our praise. All the joy it is to know that there is 1 who loves us. 1 who calls us to work in his kingdom. Law, we know that we, like Giddin, have fallen short in many ways.

We rebel against you. We demand honor and praise. We are foolish in our decisions sometimes. So he asked for your forgiveness that that you would still use us in your mighty works Father, we're we're about to take a communion. And we pray that there'd be a chance for us to think and reflect on areas in our life where we have, put ourselves or have put something else above you.

We have worshiped something. That is not you. Please help us to think and apply this passage through the week. I'm in.


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