Judges 8:22-28

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 12, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“The Israelites said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from 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.’ And he said, ‘I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.’ (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.)
They answered, ‘We’ll be glad to give them.’ So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it. The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.” (Judges 8:22-28)

We’ve been writing for the past few weeks about Gideon and his small army battling the Midianites. We read how God made it clear that He would get the glory for the victory, not Gideon, because the Midianite army was over 400 times larger than Gideon’s. Then we read how even after Gideon’s army made the Midianites retreat, they chased them and apprehended their kings.

Now, after all that, Gideon returns home as a triumphant leader. The people of Israel, knowing of Gideon’s great victory, want to make him their leader. They want to worship Gideon as being victorious, rather than worshipping God. Fortunately Gideon is humble and realizes this, and he puts a stop to it.

Gideon does, however, take a reward for his victory. He requests gold earrings from the people, which he makes into an ephod. I’m sure that’s just what anyone today would want, right? “Gideon, you’ve just won a huge victory over the Midianites, what are you going to do now?” “I’m making an ephod!”

So what exactly is an ephod? Good question. One commentary I read says, “The ephod was an apronlike garment worn by the high priest and was made of linen; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; and gold thread. Two shoulder straps and a waistband held it secure.” The ephod was an article of clothing that the priests would wear when they would consult with God. Making the ephod gave the people a way to honor Gideon without him becoming their leader.

It’s important to note that the gold for the ephod actually came from the Midianites. In verse 24 we see that it came from the “plunder,” which was the items they took from the Midianites when they fled. Gideon wasn’t asking for the Israelites to give up their possessions, but rather a small part of what they received because of his obedience to God that resulted in Israel’s victory.

But, the ephod was also associated with idol worship in that day. Remember how back in Judges 6, Gideon destroyed the people’s altar to Baal and their Asherah pole? It really wasn’t that long ago that the people were worshipping those idols. The people yearned to have a physical object to worship, rather than only worshipping the one true God. Old habits are hard to break, so the people began to worship Gideon’s ephod.

Even though the people were still not worshipping only the one true God, they still had peace from the Midianites for 40 years.

What can we learn from this? The main lesson for us today is that we need to worship God, not other people or man made objects. While I’m guessing you don’t have a gold ephod that you worship, we do have many other things in our lives that we treat as idols over God. We worship sports teams, musicians, movie stars, or even put our families and friends as more important than God in our lives. We often worship whatever makes us feel good, which is not necessarily God and can often be things that are sinful.

Follow Gideon’s example and worship God with your entire life, giving Him all of the glory for everything He has done for you.

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