vss 1-3 Gideon had to deal with the men of Ephraim
vs 3 Gideon points out that God gave the leaders of Midian into the hands of the
Gideon didn't bother to argue & fight
We can learn from this: We need not try to force brothers into a state of
spirituality that they have not attained to.
Like - everyone should be witnessing all the time/or with the group
everyone should be in community
Next Gideon deals with some traitors - vss 4-9
Two cities: Succoth and Penuel
They refused to help Gideon
LOOK AT Dt 23:3-4
These cities identified themselves with the Moabites, Ammonites and Midianites.
Look back at vs 6, notice "are the hands (or palms) of Zebah and Zalmunna in your hands?"
Now LOOK BACK AT Judges 6:1 - "the hand of Midian" is an expression
The Kings were still free and running, so the men of Succoth didn't want to take a chance.
"Like good liberals, they wanted to have peace by having detente with the enemy" (jbj p.142).
Penuel was a city that had a large fortress/tower.
God was not their mighty fortress.
"Like good conservatives, they trusted in their defensive armaments rather than in the Lord" (jbj p. 143).
vss 10 -13 Gideon goes on after the enemy
Gideon went all the way around the enemy camp and attacked them from behind.
LOOK AT the last line of vs 11 - "the host was secure," they were "unsuspecting" anything from that side
vss 14 - 17 Gideon came back and judged the two cities
Now what's the difference between these cities and the Ephraimites?
Ephraim was selfish, but did fight. They were in sin, but not in open apostasy. They did fight.
Neutrality is impossible in the spiritual warfare. The cities didn't fight for the Lord, so they were considered against the Lord.
vss 18 - 21 Gideon kills the two Midianite generals
vss 22 -28 KINGSHIP REJECTED
Who was it that saved Israel? Gideon or the Lord?
Gideon was a type of Christ, but Gideon knows it was the Lord.
(Side note: vs 23 deals with the lie about Christ as saviour but not as Lord)
Gideon rejected the offer of kingship, but asked for the spoils of war.
Deuteronomy (20:14) says spoils are lawful.
But what did Gideon do with them? made an ephod
What's an ephod? a robe that was to be unique to the high priest
-- connected to the breastplate of judgment
-- breastplate of judgment contained what????
-- Urim and Thummim, which are what???
-- LOOK AT Num 27:21
-- a way to make inquiry of God through the high priest
* Not the first time this has happened - LOOK AT Ex 32:1-4
The Israelites rejected God's leadership through Moses and their new government involved idolatry.
Now, LOOK BACK AT vs 27 in Judges 8 -
Again Israel played the harlot with a false ephod.
The connection involves govt. and idolatry.
Humanistic kingship or leadership of statism (whatever it may be called) allows Baal worship to creep into society.
LOOK AT I Kings 12:26-30
Men do not want God to rule over them, either in govt. or in their religion.
Look at the U.S.
Now Gideon had probably never intended this, however, God had not commanded Gideon to do any of this.
Christians can make similar mistakes:
-- We can take the gold out of Egypt, but not the philosophy
-- We can take the material goods of paganism and use them
-- Israel made the tabernacle out of Egyptian materials
-- We must not, however, take the material goods and build a golden calf
-- that is, we must not take the philosophies of the world
-- we must not adopt the thinking of the world
Commercial religion makes ephods out of parts of the Bible
-- The Apostle Paul taught the whole counsel of God
-- commercial religion preaches on safe sins ...
-- Swaggart uses the Bible as an ephod ...
Now LOOK BACK AT Judges 8:29-32
The story of Gideon didn't end with his death.
Humanistic kingship finally comes about, with a full fledged return to open Baal worship, and all this under the leadership of one of Gideon's sons: Abimelech.
-- Essence of Baalism = self-destruction
Look at our own society: drugs, sex, abortion, suicide
-- also, each man wants to play God
to play God means to rule everyone else
Before Gideon died -- polygamy and a second ephod
WE ACT OUT OUR WORLDLINESS
vss 33-35 Israel again plays the harlot with Baal worship
Israel worshipped a half-breed god, so the true God gave them a half-breed man for a leader: Abimelech.
They wanted a humanistic type of govt. with a king, so God gave them one.
Commercial religion is the same. Swaggart, Bakker, Robertson, Copeland, Hagin and others want to grow, so God gives them what they want: MONEY, POWER, AND WORLDLY SUCCESS.
And of course DISNEY LAND FOR THE DEVOUT.
LOOK AT Judges 9:1-21
rulers/men of Shechem = "baals" or lords (#1167 in Strong's)
Abimelech refers to Gideon as "Jerubbaal" - why?
It seems the Bible teaches a govt. of one God and many "diversified human rulers."
Abimelech wanted a centralized govt. with one human ruler, but as many gods and idols as you want, a pluralistic society.
When Gideon reestablished worship of Jehovah, what did he do?
(sacrificed a bull)
When Abimelech reestablishes Baal worship here, what does he do?
(sacrifices the 70 sons)
"ALL HUMANISTIC SOCIETIES ARE BUILT ON THE SACRIFICIAL MURDER OF MAN" (jbj. p.161).
Hitler murdered millions - National Socialism
Stalin murdered even more - Communism
Mao Tse Tung murdered millions - Communism
The U.S. Supreme Court allows the murder of millions - secular humanism
LOOK AT Josh 24:23-27
Now LOOK BACK AT Judges 9:6
Jotham's parable - What's it mean?
Trees desire a king - Israel desires a king
Trees have a king: their Creator - so does Israel
The olives, figs and vines all have productive tasks in life.
They are productive and serve God and man.
The bramble is like our Govt. and any other humanistic govt.; it produces nothing. It can only give away what it first takes from someone or something else.
Everyone must be reduced to the lowest common denominator, which means everyone will become unproductive because they won't be allowed to out shine or out produce the govt.
Jesus teaches in the N.T. that if you want to be great, then be a servant.
"The only kind of men who desire political authority for its own sake are bramble men--unproductive men who seek to attain fame and forturne by taking it from others who are productive" (jbj p.165)
Christians believe the solution to modern society's problems is faith in God and productivity.
Secular humanists believe the solution is looking to Big Brother, the govt. to solve all our problems.
LOOK AT Judges 9:22-45
Abimelech's short reign = example of why conspiracy theories are weak.
hatred, strife & suspicion among evil men
Conspiracy theories = selective depravity (blame a group for world problems)
Christians believe in not just Total depravity but UNIVERSAL depravity as well - no one is without excuse
Sin is the problem, not conspiracies.
LOOK AT vs 23 - Satan delights to do evil, God uses Satan and his demons to oppress, judge and punish people on Earth.
"When Satan oppresses God's people, it is with [God's] permission, and all for our good" (jbj p. 169)
Basically, what happens here is the fulfillment of Jotham's parable & prophecy.
LOOK AT Judges 9:46-49
Just like Jotham's parable, Abimelech uses fire against Shechem.
Abimelech tries to act like Gideon -- vs 48 "What ye have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done." (cut a tree limb)
The people were hiding in the house of their false god.
So, what is really important in Abimelech's false religion? Abimelech, of course.
False gods only exist to serve men.
LOOK AT Judges 9:50-57
Sin, literally destroys the mind of man.
Once again a woman crushes the head of the serpent.
LOOK BACK AT vs 56 and remember vs 23 (God sending an evil spirit)
God was avenging the family of Gideon.
The Scriptures teach that vengeance belongs to God.
One last thing to consider --
All of chapter 9 came about as a result of compromises made by Gideon.
We need to be alert so we won't compromise our testimony.
There's plenty around us for us to participate in.
Gideon said he didn't want to be king--that was the right thing to do. But, he began living like a king and took the spoils and made a false ephod.
Gideon's children suffered for his compromise.
We need to make sure we don't make similar compromises.