Scripture Read: Judges 8:18-21 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?” And they said, “They were like you, each one resembling the son of a king.” He said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if only you had let them live, I would not kill you.” So he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise, kill them.” But the youth did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a youth. Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise up yourself, and fall on us; for as the man, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments which were on their camels’ necks.
Application: Talk is cheap...but it can also be very expensive when it comes to our life. Again, this passage is difficult for many of us, because we are not people of war. As a Christian we are commanded to live a different lifestyle. Once again I must point out though, there are believers that have been called to live as warriors to keep the innocent out of harm’s way. I know many of them and their love for God is great. However, the vast majority of believers do not have vocations that would require weapons and harsh actions, so when we read passages like this we may struggle. This was the way of life for Israel during the period of Judges. War has been a way of life for Israel much of the time. So we need to read all of this in that context.
Gideon was a man that loved the Lord and was open to being used for the glory of the Lord. The amazing thing in the story of Gideon is the underestimation of Gideon. Individuals continue to wrongly judge Gideon and his commitment to his word. Here it is done again. Instead of seeing that Gideon was trying to give his son the honor of destroying the enemies of Israel and the murderers of his uncles, they think Gideon is a coward. Their mistake is short lived as they dare Gideon to prove he is a man by slaying them himself. He does that quickly. Despite our natural difficulty dealing with the brutality of this era, there is an important theme we would do well to learn. Gideon was a man of his word. He may have hesitated at first, it may have taken some loving patience from the Lord, but once he committed to the task, he stayed true to it. This is vital in the life of all believers. God is very patient, longsuffering and forgiving. He is not a taskmaster, so he understands our weaknesses.
Yet, when we decide to follow Christ with all our heart we need to stay focused on that commitment. Despite failures and mistakes, when we are committed to following Christ, that very promise to Him, is the strength we need to get back up and continue in the race that we have entered. If our word is not sure, one of the tests or failures that life throws at us will be enough to knock us off course and maybe even out of the race. However, when we remain steadfast to our word, even if we are crawling on the racetrack, God will see and by His grace we will receive the strength needed to arise and begin the race anew! To finish well, we need to be committed to our word to follow Christ!
Meditation Questions: What are the promises you have made to God? How are you doing? Do you need to recommit? What would stop you? How do others view your word? Why? What areas of your integrity could use some readjustment? Are you willing to ask God for help? Do you understand it may cost you something? Do you believe God wants you to finish well? Why? Why Not? Have you invited at least one other person into your life to help you evaluate how you are running the race? If not, would you be willing to?