It was a trap: Judges 8.22–28 (24 July 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Judges 8

Gideon's story doesn't have a happy ending. A mopping-up operation sees disgruntled Israelites placated, unco-operative Israelites punished and captured Midianite leaders executed. Gideon acts wisely and – given the times he lived in – with appropriate ruthlessness. Perhaps he's wisest of all when he refuses the kingship the people offer him, saying, 'The LORD will be your ruler' (verse 23).

If only the story could have ended there. However, in an extraordinary twist, he makes an idol out of the gold collected from his defeated enemies. 'All the Israelites abandoned God and went there to worship the idol. It was a trap for Gideon and his family' (verse 27).

We aren't given any kind of insight into Gideon's thinking. We should bear in mind, though, that everything about the time of the judges was a good deal more confusing than it was to become later; moral, ethical and religious lines were blurred. Gideon appears to have thought that some kind of image made out of captured gold was an appropriate tribute to the God of Israel. It was not.

It turns out that Gideon faced his greatest danger at his moment of triumph. Perhaps it was a victor's self-confidence, in contrast to the fear and self-doubt he felt before his battles began. Then, he relied on God and talked to him; afterwards, he didn't bother.

And we might face our own moments of danger, not when times are hard and we know we need God, but when things are going well and we think we don't.

Pray

Pray

God, keep me from thinking that I know best. Keep me rooted in your word and attentive to your voice.

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