Read Judges 8
Ephraim's complaint against Gideon; kings of Midian slain; Gideon's children; his death; Abimelech made king: death of Abimelech.
And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply (Judg. 8:1).
When Gideon, a peasant from the small half-tribe of Manasseh, blew the trumpet to summon volunteers to fight the Lord's battle (see 6:34), the so-called superior tribe of Ephraim stayed at home. The tribe of Ephraim was much larger in number, and they had the distinction of having the Tabernacle located within their territory. But because of their spirit of self-importance, God could not use them to share in the victory of Gideon's three hundred. Not until the battle was over and the Midianites were being pursued could God use them.
One would have expected them to apologize to Gideon and to express their regret for not having volunteered to help. But instead, after the major battle was won, they criticized Gideon for the way he handled the whole affair. Their finding fault with Gideon was actually a complaint against God, who had called and guided Gideon in bringing defeat to the Midianites.
Gideon's humility became apparent when he replied, What have I done now in comparison of you? Although he used diplomacy, he was faithful to God in reminding these proud complainers that the glory of all achievements belongs to God. For he concluded by saying, God hath delivered [them] into your hands (8:2-3).
True humility is the result of recognizing our utter dependence upon God. The humble person will not permit thoughts of jealousy or envy to dwell in his heart, for he has learned to say with the Apostle Paul, I be (am) nothing (II Cor. 12:11).
If God uses you in accomplishing His will, you can be sure that it is not because you possess greater abilities or talents than others, but because you recognize that you are nothing. Without His indwelling, nothing of eternal value is accomplished. Jesus said: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Phil. 2:3).
Thought for Today:
In all our achievements, let us be as Gideon and give the glory to God.
By Gideon, who delivered the Israelites from Midian (Judg. 8:22-23). The Lord Jesus has delivered us out of the hands of our spiritual enemies, and it is fitting that He should rule over us. Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world (Gal. 1:3-4; II Pet. 2:9; Rom. 11:26).
8:1 chide, contend; 8:3 was abated, subsided; 8:9 in peace, victoriously; 8:12 discomfited, defeated; 8:26 collars, necklaces; 8:27 ephod, priestly garment; whoring, worshiping false gods; snare, stumbling block; 8:32 sepulchre, tomb; 9:2 your bone and your flesh, your relative; 9:4 vain and light, worthless and reckless; 9:17 adventured, risked; 9:20 fire, fiery destruction; 9:25 liers in wait, men in ambush; 9:38 mouth, boasting; 9:52 went hard unto, approached near; 9:56 rendered, returned.
Pray for Country: Vatican City (900) in Rome, Italy • Major languages: Italian and Latin • Religious freedom • Approximately 100% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Trust in God and offer up your prayers night and day (I Tim. 5:5).
Optional Reading: John 16
Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 2:16