Today you should read: Judges 8:22-35
“Self-denial is the test and definition of self-government.”
If given praise and authority by others, would you respond the same way Gideon did in today’s Jumpstart reading? After striking down the kings of Midian and winning plenty of battles beforehand, the people of Israel are ready to give Gideon the authority to rule over them (v. 22). Most men would have taken it in a second. Gideon knew that they couldn’t handle it. They needed to be reminded that only God could be their ruler (v. 23). Sadly, they didn’t take heed to the reminder. Soon after Gideon died God’s people forgot who the true source of all their victories were because they started worshiping false gods like the people around them (vs. 33-34). To make matters worse, they also forgot everything Gideon did for them and didn’t honor and love his remaining family the way they should have (v. 35).
Here are a couple of things we should ask ourselves after reading this devotion.
- Do we give glory back to God when people praise us and want to give us more responsibilities? It’s not always bad to take these types of leadership positions and it could even be God opening up doors. But, do the people you are in authority over know that it’s God who is really doing the leading, and are you pointing back to Him every step of the way?
- When people that God used in our life go away, do we start turning away from God? As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites started worshiping false Gods again. It’s amazing how many churches, student ministries and para-church ministries start losing people when a strong leader leaves because, let’s be honest, those people were following a leader and not Jesus.
- Do we honor the families of those that God places in authority over us? It’s sad when pastor’s wives and children have more negative stereotypes than positive ones. Here’s a mainstream article on the stresses that pastor’s families go through.
We need to love, honor, and take care of the families who have to sacrifice so much for the ministry.
Posted by: Erik Koliser