The Two Sides of Gideon I

In a Judges cycle that has definitely taken an unexpected turn for the worse, we catch a glimmer of hope.

The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.”

But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.”

At the inappropriate request, Gideon flashes his devotion to the Covenant. “The Lord will rule over you!” The tribes had pledged their absolute allegiance to Yahweh as their king at the base of Mt. Sinai and this near history should not have been lost on the people raising this cry. Certainly, it must have at least crossed someone’s mind that to take Gideon and his sons as a dynasty would have broken their covenant agreement?

Gideon does, and emphatically demonstrates his loyalty to the agreement. This catches our eye so quickly after he has acted impetuously out of his own anger in Succoth and Pineil. For a man with such respect for the covenant and Yahweh’s lordship, he did not hesitate to act in vengeance of his own volition. Maybe the reason this catches our interest is that it all sounds so familiar. We’ve been there. We recognize the struggle to make our actions match our theology. It’s harder than it looks.

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