Beware whose example you follow

Pastor Kim Riddlebarger on Judges 8: 

In 1 Timothy 6, the apostle Paul warns us of many of the same things that Gideon brought upon Israel. He speaks of men who “teach a different doctrine[which]does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness.” Ironically, Gideon did this very thing when he built an Ephod and took a Canaanite wife, both of which became a matter of stumbling to Israel and were direct violations of God’s commandments. What is more, Gideon certainly did not heed the important principle behind Paul’s words in verses 6-10.

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

Gideon loved his power, and he used his position of authority to do pretty much his own thing–like create an Ephod, relocate the center of Israelite life to his own hometown, and attempt to establish a royal dynasty of sorts–even though he denied that is what he was doing. Just as Paul warns that riches can be a snare to us, Gideon’s power was a snare to him.In all of this, Gideon is an example to us, because he is just like us! He is the perfect example of how power corrupts and how the blessings of God can become a snare to us, if we forget the source and purpose of those gifts. Gideon is the perfect example to us of how not to take for granted God’s work in our lives, and use it for personal gain and advantage. I guess we won’t come up with a “What would Gideon do?” wrist-band any time soon. No doubt, Gideon confessed the truth when he stated to his fellow Israelites, “the Lord will rule over you.” But then Gideon acted like a king. Like the rest of Israel’s judges, Gideon is both saint and sinner.

Contrast this to our blessed savior, Jesus, whom Paul says humbly stood before Pilate (a Roman bureaucrat) and gave a good confession. Jesus could have summoned a legion of angels. He could have brought down the palace on Pilate’s head. But no, Jesus humbled himself to fulfill the commandments of God, and was willing to even go to the cross, where he saved us from our sins. It was this same Jesus who was the LORD who ruled over Israel in the days of Gideon. It was this same king who laid down his life for our sins and was then raised from the dead. Beloved, Jesus is that Lord who rules over you, and unlike Gideon, Jesus both made the good confession, and then fulfilled all righteousness through his perfect obedience.

Therefore, with Paul, let us all confess that [Jesus]is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

To read the rest of the sermon by Kim Riddlebarger, please click here:

2 thoughts on “Beware whose example you follow

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