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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

2019.07.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 8:22-32

Questions for Littles: What did the men of Israel ask Gideon to do in Judges 8:22? For how long? Why? How does Gideon accept their offer—Whom does he say will really be ruling (Judges 8:23)? What did Gideon ask them for in Judges 8:24? How did the people respond in Judges 8:25? How much gold did Gideon end up with (Judges 8:26)? What else did he receive in this way? What did Gideon make with it (Judges 8:27)? What did he do with that? And what did Israel do with the ephod? What did it become to Gideon and to his house? What was the military-political result of Gideon’s leadership for the nation (Judges 8:28)? Where did Gideon (Jerubbaal) go to live (Judges 8:29)? How many sons did he have (Judges 8:30)? How? What else did he have (Judges 8:31)? What did she do for him? What was the boy called? How did Gideon’s earthly life conclude (Judges 8:32)? 
It’s easy to give good-sounding answers in a moment of time. It’s much more difficult to follow it up with principled living. Gideon’s answer in Judges 8:23 is so self-effacing that it may seem at first that he has declined the people’s request that he become not just king, but the first in a new kingly line.

But we see him taxing the people in Judges 8:24, and inventing new ways of worship in Judges 8:27, and even naming his concubine’s child “my daddy is king” (something we first saw in Genesis, especially among the Philistines). So the passage as a whole makes it clear that he said, “yes.”

What then did he mean in Judges 8:23? Taken altogether, it seems that he was trying to put a “divine right of kings” spin on the people’s request. He’s been into signs thus far. This may be similar: something like “this is a sign that I am the one through whom Yahweh will rule you.”

But it’s not just kingship to which he presumes but high-priesthood. The ark was in Shiloh (or maybe Bethel?), and there was a high priest with the divinely designed and instituted ephod. But Gideon decided to expand his role.

Judges 8:27 tells us that the people loved it—not in the way you love the one that you’re supposed to love (your wife), but in the way that you love the forbidden alternative that seems so flashy and different (harlots). How easy it is to neglect the means that the Lord has appointed and find something else more interesting or appealing instead!

Of course, following after their innovative alternatives was ultimately a rejection of being ruled by Yahweh—the very thing to which Gideon had given lip service in Judges 8:23. But don’t we do that? How many of us are satisfied with the ordinary means of grace day by day in the home and week by week in the congregation? We slide into thinking some other thing is going to be the really effective and enjoyable way of growing spiritually. But if we favor our alternatives, are we really delighting to be ruled by Jesus?
What do you think are going to be the ways that Jesus rules you and grows you?
Suggested songs: ARP131 “My Heart Is Not Exalted, Lord” or TPH131B “Not Haughty Is My Heart”

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