Read Judges 8:21-32
Recently, I took on a new title. In addition to wife, mother, daughter and sister, I now proudly wear the title of “grandmother.” Due to complications, I didn’t get to meet my grandson until he was one month old, but, the moment I held him in my arms, I was in love.
His life is a miracle.
There’s something about welcoming a new generation that causes us to ponder our new role, the influence we have on a new life. As I enter into a new season, I realize the importance of leaving a godly legacy.
Today we come to the end of our study of Gideon. He has left a legacy as a hero of the faith. We have watched him grow from a coward, hiding in a wine press, to a mighty warrior, conquering an entire army. All along the way, he was a man of conviction and obedience until now. We all like stories with happy endings. I wish I could say Gideon’s is. But even though it doesn’t end well, there is a great challenge for us concealed within these verses.
Yet. A simple three letter word. It means up until the present time. It’s a transitional word that changes everything. After defeating the Midianite kings, the men of Israel tried to make Gideon and his heirs rule over them. Gideon refused and reaffirmed the truth that the Lord was their Ruler. Gideon should have stopped there, but the next verse ushers in the compromise. Yet. Gideon said the right words, but his actions proved something different. He compromised. In the absence of spiritual leadership, he thought his last responsibility was to create an ephod from the earrings and gold that were spoils of the Midianite kings. We read in Exodus 28 that the ephod was part of the high priestly garment. God gave specific instructions on its design and use. Gideon may have had good intentions, but he did not seek God’s guidance. Intentions do not equate to obedience without God’s direction. Just like Aaron in the wilderness, the new image became the downfall of the nation as they returned to idolatry, leaving God and His miraculous work in their lives forgotten.
As we continue to read, we see that Gideon accumulated wealth and wives. He may not have had the title king, but he chose to live like one. If you read further in chapter 8, you will see he didn’t have a good track record as a father either. His son, Abimelech, hung out with worthless and reckless fellows and killed all 70 of his brothers! (Judges 9:4,5) Gideon fell into the snare of compromise. As long as he said that God was in charge, he could live like He wasn’t.
What happened? The Gideon we see in chapters 6 and 7 was a man of conviction and obedience. Now he is a man of comfort and apathy, falling prey to Satan’s lie that he has earned a life of ease. He chose to trust in Himself rather than God. Read Judges chapter 8 carefully and see what is missing. Gideon’s conquests were his own personal pursuits. His former habit of seeking God is blatantly absent. Proverbs 3:7 says, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” Rather than turning away from evil, Gideon was trapped by it and it all began when he chose to ignore his relationship with God.
Next to Psalm 103:17 in my Bible is my grandson’s birth date. It was my prayer that morning and the promise God gave me. “But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.” Throughout his month in the NICU, I claimed Psalm 145:4 almost daily. “One generation shall praise Thy works to another and shall declare Thy mighty acts.” That is the longing of my heart, but I have a responsibility to the next generation. In this new season of life there is no room for compromise. I must live a life of conviction and full obedience to God. May all who come behind me find me faithful. The prayer of my heart is, “And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Thy strength to this generation, Thy power to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71:18) Only then will I leave a godly legacy to the next generation. Only then will I end well.