Gideon: A Cautionary Tale
There is a very important prayer in Psalm 119:33-37 that is very relevant in these dire times that is difficult to be a child of God. The enemy knows that once he can distract a person from focusing on God, he wins the heart of such. This tact he had used through the ages and successfully too. In the above Psalm, the Psalmist started with God teaching him the meaning of the Word, getting understanding and obeying the Word. This prayer is great but the Psalmist did not stop there but went on to pray that he needed help to keep his heart from worthless things which he feels will snuff the life of God out of him. We see these verses come to life in the account of Gideon in Judges 6-8. Gideon had a wonderful encounter with God: God explained His Word and granted him understanding and grace to do the impossible. Gideon by the power of God raised a rag tag army of three hundred men that defeated a large Midianite army that had been harassing and oppressing the Israelites at that time. After this great victory, he was approached by the people to rule them but he refused by reminding the people that God is their King. However, the lure of success carries within it the poison of flesh as we saw with this account. Gideon’s outward show was totally different from his inward desire. Immediately he told the people that God was their King, he asked for articles of gold which he made into an idol that led the people away from the God that had revealed Himself to him. One could argue that what he made was meant to be a memorial to God, but the question is when he found that the people were prostituting themselves to it, why did he not take it down as he did his father’s idols? The truth is that, if we are not watchful, success sometimes makes our moral compass defective making our actions contradictory to what we say. James 1:14-15 warns that desire is the seed that births sin, therefore even though Gideon verbally denounced kingship he desired it, he showed this by receiving tributes and in essence the trappings of kingship. Friend, our desires must be filtered constantly by God's word and His perfect will.
Furthermore, when we dwell so much on our successes we gradually lose sight of who deserves the glory and inevitably God fades away from the picture placing us on a pedestal we are bound to fall from. Strict adherence to God’s instructions and commands are invaluable in our walk with God (Psalm 119: 33-37). Therein lays the wisdom needed for a victorious life. Friend, the greatest battle we face each day is within us, no one can predict for certain what lurks in the secret recesses of our hearts, like Gideon, many of us are triumphant in external battles but fail in the battle of the heart. Therefore our heart cry should be like that of the Psalmist when he said "Turn my heart to Your decrees and not to material gain. Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless, give me life in Your ways" Psalm 119:36-37. The Psalmist understood the tendencies of a man's heart to be overwhelmed by the trappings of his successes and bask in his glories forgetting that God is the source of all he has and who he is. The grace to focus on God and not lose sight of Him is released to you in Jesus Christ name.