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Judges 8. Gideon, part 47: Conclusion; lessons learned from Gideon's history.

length: 63:27 - taught on May, 4 2017
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Title: Judges 8. Gideon, part 47: Conclusion; lessons learned from Gideon's history.



JDG 8:33 Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god.


Baal-berith - "the Covenant Baal". Baal becomes to them the covenant god. This may imply that several cities united in a league to worship Baal in a central shrine, which would have been at Shechem.


After the death of Gideon the center of activity moves from Ophrah to Shechem where the temple of Baal-berith resides.


We might remember that Shechem was the place that all of Israel went with Joshua to hear the Law of God and shout amen to every curse uttered.


This is appropriate and important to remember for it bears heavily upon the events that we are about to study.


JOS 8:33 And all Israel with their elders and officers and their judges were standing on both sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, the stranger as well as the native. Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had given command at first to bless the people of Israel.


JOS 8:34 Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law.


JOS 8:35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them.


We go to Moses in Deuteronomy to hear what Joshua said concerning the blessing and the curse.


DEU 27:11 Moses also charged the people on that day, saying,


DEU 27:12 "When you cross the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.


DEU 27:13 And for the curse, these shall stand on Mount Ebal: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.


DEU 27:14 The Levites shall then answer and say to all the men of Israel with a loud voice,


What is the first curse uttered? Making idols.


DEU 27:15 'Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.' And all the people shall answer and say,' Amen.'


This is the Mosaic Covenant from God to His people. It is a grace gift for their benefit. They ratified it with their "Amen." Their "Amen" is their signature affixed to the line labeled "recipient." They are bound by this contract for their own good. But now they call Baal the god of the covenant.


JDG 8:33 Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god.


At the death of Gideon, Israel signed their name to a different contract. They entered into a covenant with Baal.


At Shechem there is a temple to Baal-berith also known as El-berith, El being the common word used for God/god. It could designate the God or a pagan god, as the English word does.


JDG 9:44 When all the leaders of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the inner chamber of the temple of El-berith.


The worship of Baal-berith, as performed at Shechem, was an adulteration of that worship, in which Baal was put in the place of Jehovah.


As in the Tabernacle we see that they constructed an "inner chamber" in the Baal-berith temple. By using "berith" in the name, they are revealing that they attempted an imitation worship of Jehovah, but in reverence to Baal. One wonders if they performed rituals in the manner of Leviticus but in honor to Baal and in his temple.


Shechem is a Canaanite city and Israel associated with her as the cult center in which the Baal of the covenant was worshipped. They worshipped the cult in their own lands and homes, which God gave them, and they likely made pilgrimages to Shechem to honor Baal-berith at his temple.


EXO 13:3

And Moses said to the people, "Remember this day [Passover] in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the Lord brought you out from this place.


They were to continue to remember this as they performed and ate of the Passover every year in the Promised Land.


The Sabbath was also given to them so they would remember His deliverance.


DEU 5:15 'And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.


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DEU 8:18 "But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.


DEU 8:19 And it shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God, and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you shall surely perish.


DEU 8:20 Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the Lord your God.


The Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Sabbath are all fulfilled in the person of Christ. His cross made all of them a reality and so all of them for us are crystallized in the one ritual of the Lord's Table.


JDG 8:33 Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god.


JDG 8:34 Thus the sons of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side;


JDG 8:35 nor did they show kindness to the household of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon), in accord with all the good that he had done to Israel.


They forgot about God and they forgot about Gideon, the Baal-fighter.


In this relapse into the worship of Baal they not only forgot Jehovah, their Deliverer from all their foes, but also the benefits which they owed to Gideon, and showed no kindness to his house in return for all the good which he had shown to Israel. When the historian refers to Jerubbaal he is drawing attention to Gideon as the Baal fighter. They have so deeply forgotten Gideon's benefit to them that they deal with his family harshly and they once again put themselves under the worship of Baal. The Baal fighter freed you and now you are back under Baal. They should consider, "Isn't it as if he wasted his time and energy on you?"


What they forgot about Gideon was how God transformed him from a weak and scared young man to a mighty warrior and how through him, God delivered Israel. Though Gideon afterward wrongly behaved like a king, that fact does not disannul the work that God had done through him. This is all forgotten, even their promise that they would have his sons as kings over them.


They did not show kindness to the household of Gideon. They had said to Gideon that they wanted to make him king and also that they wanted his sons after him to be their kings. Though Gideon did not accept this, they forgot about these sentiments anyway. The people delivered by God through the Baal-fighter have gone back to Baal.


The Hebrew word for "kindness" is chesed, which is very often used for God's kindness to Israel in the covenant. The people made a covenant to honor Gideon's family and they broke it.


This brings us to the end of Gideon. I think you'll agree that many lessons were learned. As the NT says, "These things were written for our benefit."


If anything positive happens in the lives of the people of God, it is because of the grace of God.


Grace is God working for the benefit of the creature. It is in every covenant God makes with man. Adam's covenant, Noah's covenant, Abraham's covenant, Moses' covenant, David's covenant, and the New Covenant in Christ's blood are all of God giving to man. Only one of those is a conditional one, the Mosaic, yet that was also for man's blessing.


With God on Israel's side, no enemy is invincible. 300 could defeat 135,000.


With God, all things are possible. God takes joy in serving His creatures and in blessing them. When God can bless us due to our faith, and only our faith, it pleases Him and glorifies Him. "Surely, goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Who can stand against the child of God when the battle is the Lord's.


To reverse this and say that God needs our benefit or help is blasphemous. Grace only flows one way, downward from God to us.


The greatest obstacle to the work of God is the faithlessness of His people.


We are the greatest hindrances to the power and wisdom of God flowing through us. The reproach of the enemy against God's people is not a hindrance at all. In all cases reproach is to be trial and trial is always designed to test the purity of the strength already present in the believer. It is our own unfaithfulness that clogs up the rivers of living water.


Those called to leadership in the divine program will face temptation to exchange the divine agenda for personal ambition.


Even Christ was tempted by Satan by offering Him the kingdoms of the world. When we excel in leadership by trusting in God we can see God's power flowing through us to the good and guidance of others. The flesh always lurks. When it sees power it wants to grab it for itself and then take credit for its source. Such temptations are always lurking for the leader and he must always have his alert system in good working order.


Gideon, by behaving like a king, actually helped Israel along on the road to idolatrous sin.


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