Title: Judges 8. Gideon, part 44: Rejection of grace brings woe to man.
When we left last time we noted how Gideon had returned home with the two Midianite kings, interrogated them for war crimes, which they confessed to, and then publically executed them. The people revered Gideon for freeing them from seven long years of tyranny, and then they made the fatal mistake of assuming that it was their lack of having a hero/king like him from the beginning.
“We should have had a hero/king like Gideon all along.” When rejecting the plan and commands of God, man has no choice but to seek within and amongst himself for reasons attributing success or failure.
Was it Gideon’s valiance as a warrior that won the brief war against Midian? God used Gideon in a completely unique way so as to ensure that no one could conclude that it was any man who delivered Israel.
JDG 7:2 And the Lord said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, lest Israel become boastful, saying, 'My own power has delivered me.'
Even still, Israel would conclude that the reason for their oppression was that they did not have a powerful king.
Even when God makes it obvious that He has worked on our behalf, man in his obstinacy seeks to determine a temporal and natural reason.
And when something of the natural world injures man, like a natural disaster for instance, they blame God and call Him uncaring and cruel.
Could they have elected Gideon to the position of king before God came to him? What was Gideon like before God transformed him? Why were they under such great oppression in the first place? They had rejected the covenant from God and did evil in His sight by playing the harlot with idolatry. Gideon was no hero before God made him one, and then very soon after, by reason of his inflated image of himself, Gideon would abandon the strength and virtue from God that makes men heroes.
JDG 8:22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, "Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son's son [a dynasty], for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian."
It is the rejection of God's grace that brings such woe upon man. If he would only receive from God and wait upon God's power, grace, and mercy then he would prosper in all things.
When things are miserable in a person’s life they often look for secular or temporal causes. The cause is always a problem with their relationship with the Lord.
God, in grace, provides all of man's needs so that he doesn't have to search for them in illicit ways.
They don’t need a human king. God is their king. They don’t need Gideon’s sons to be kings. One of them will try and we will soon see his quality.
God provides every need of man. This is grace. In grace He gave His only begotten Son. He gave man laws. He gave man commands so that he could discern good and evil. Most of all, He gave man the gospel so that he might be saved from sin and death.
Every need is provided for and that without cost. The world tells you that you need more than God’s providence and the “more” that it offers has a very high price tag.
Our knowledge of good and evil is corrupted. We cannot discern it. When we ate of the tree, we gained a knowledge that we cannot handle.
We read some of the woes pronounced by the Lord upon the Pharisees and we find the source of those woes in the prophet Isaiah.
ISA 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;,
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;,
Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
ISA 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And clever in their own sight!
ISA 5:22 Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine,
And valiant men in mixing strong drink;
ISA 5:23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
And take away the rights of the ones who are in the right!
We have received God’s commands so that we may discern good and evil, and by the power of the Holy Spirit we may walk in that goodness or righteousness.
God alone shows us good and evil.
'Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them, and they shall possess it.
God would march all of them to Mt. Gerizim and Ebal and from there the entire Law would be read, the blessing and the curse to which they were to shout “Amen.”
If we are alive, there is always time to rebuild. As with Nehemiah, when he returned to Jerusalem after the captivity, the walls of the city and the great temple of Solomon were in ruins, but he set about to rebuild both, and he did this as he was beset on all sides by enemies. In God’s grace we can always rebuild.