Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Judges, Chapters 8-9 … To study these chapters, go to this link -
Highlight Reference Passage : Judges 8: 28-35 … 28 Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years. ,,, 29 Jerub-Baal [i.e., Gideon] son of Joash went back home to live. 30 He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek. 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. … 33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god 34 and did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.
My Journal for Today: Reading through the closing chapters on Gideon as a Judge for the Israelites (see linked chapters for your reading), we see that Gideon, once he surrendered to God’s leadership, under the guidance and authority of Yahweh and the Old Covenant, he was successful; and for many years he did well in leading Gods’ people, following His Lord; but as we read in the highlighted passages above, Gideon did not finish well.
We read in Judges 8: 28-35 that his later life was tinged by a lack of moral/sexual purity. He had many wives and likely many concubines (having 70 sons – and who knows how many daughters). And like we’ll later see in the life of Solomon, this lack of sexual vigilance produced one son, Abmelek, who later became a rotten apple, trying to become king and leading the people back into Baal worship (see Chapter 9 from the link above).
What this says to me – and probably should say to all Christians – has to do with steadfastness of faith. Our Christian lives are much better compared with a marathon than a sprint. Once our lives are converted and our eternal heavenly future is sealed by God’s grace because we have come into the family of God in faith, we begin the process of letting God’s Spirit reform us into the image of Christ (see Phil. 1: 6); but that process (i.e., sanctification), which God will accomplish, is either hastened and facilitated by our steadfastness and vigilance or, if we fail, it is retarded and dampened.
Gideon is an example of one who surrendered in faith (with some degree of wrestling) to God; but over the course of his life, he waned in vigilance and the “stickability” to finish his marathon well; and viewing what transpired after his death, we see [at least in my estimation] that his lack of spiritual vigilance and steadfast faith resulted in God’s people falling away from God’s will. And when that happened, the cycle of sinful and idolatrous living once again caused God to have to force the issue by His people being cast – for a season of selective abandonment – into subjugation by the pagan cultures which consumed God’s people.
Sure, God would stay with His children and discipline them over and over again. But these cycles of disobedience and subjugation were so unnecessary … just as are the consequences of sinful living in the life of Christians. Satan cannot have our souls once we’re saved; but he can have a temporary victory in our lives if we cannot, or more likely, will not, stay in vigilant surrender mode to the ways and will of God. It is only through living a vigilant and well disciplined marathon of Christlike faith that we can and will remain powerful in being able to witness and carry out God’s will and purpose for our lives.
May we all keep-on-keeping-on in our relationship, walk, and witness for Christ in our lives, shining His light into an ever darkening world and allowing others to see us wearing His robes of righteousness rather than displaying our rags of sin when we let our vigilance wane for even a moment.
Stay strong, my fellow warrior; and become that “hero” which God saw in Gideon before this Judge let his life slowly fall apart. I don’t know about you, my fellow Christian, on this April 1st; … but I want to remain vigilant and God’s warrior rather than becoming Satan’s April Fool.
My Prayer Today: … Lord, I run the race, this marathon of living, doing all I can to remain strong by surrendering to Your grace in my life. Amen