22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” 23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.” (Judges 8:22-23)
Put yourself in Gideon’s sandals. Your army of 300 men just beat the Midianite horde of 130,000. The angel of the Lord Himself referred to you as a “mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12). And then a grateful delegation asks you to be the beginning of the Gideonite dynasty. Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself, “No more threshing wheat in a winepress for me! I’m movin’ on up!”
But Gideon remembered something vitally important: the victory over the Midianites didn’t come because of Gideon’s strength or cunning. It came because of God’s good pleasure. And for Israel to have continued success over her enemies, they would have to submit to the Lord’s leadership, not Gideon’s.
At first, Gideon seemed to understand the corrupting influence of power, so he declined the offer to become Israel’s king. Sadly, the temptation became too great, and he eventually started to act like a king anyway. He makes an ephod for himself— the holy breast piece that only the priest was supposed to wear, and names his son Abimelech, which is Hebrew for “My Father is King.” Real subtle, Gideon.
Gideon started well and ended poorly. His story is the story of the Israelites told in miniature. Almost as soon as they entered the Promised Land, they forgot the one that got them there.
We have a saying here in Alabama: “You dance with the one who brung ya.” Don’t get to the ball and then ditch your date. For me, It is so easy for me to forget that the battle and the victory belong to the Lord. Let’s give God credit for the victory, and give Him the rightful place of leadership in our lives. I need to keep dancing with the one that brung me. Otherwise, with apologies to Billy Idol, I’ll be dancing with myself.
Father, You have delivered me. Help me remember to let you lead me.