Intro: The best and worst aspects of Gideon's life are depicted in this text. The nation had just triumphed over their foes, the Midianites and Amalekites, thanks to this exceptional man. It was amazing to win! An army of more than 135,000 men was defeated by 300 men. Only 15,000 members of the enemy's army managed to escape at the conclusion of the battle, Illinois Judges 7:7; 8:10. It was a significant victory that was carried out in a way that made it clear that God had orchestrated it.
In Judges 8:4–16, Gideon took the time to deal with a few Israelite villages that refused to help his army carry out the Lord's will after the victory. Regardless of your motivations, it is dangerous to be on the wrong side of the Lord. Gideon must face the greatest test of his life now that the battle is over and he has secured victory. This peaceful farmer, who had been called by God to be a warrior, must have believed that his most difficult battles were over. Gideon had no idea that he was still in for the most difficult battles of his life. Gideon overcame the harsh criticism of his adversaries, the brutal enemies of his nation, and a great deal of unfounded opposition on his way to victory. When you read Gideon's story, you'll see that, with God's help, he was able to defeat every outside enemy, but he failed when he had to fight the inside men. He won the war on the battlefield, but he lost the war for his own heart. These verses deeply disturb me because of what I observe about Gideon's life. We learned from Gideon that it is possible to live a happy life and accomplish a lot for the Lord while still failing. Running the race is just as important as finishing it, if not more so. You can have a good life and then ruin it all by making one or two stupid choices. That is what we learn today from Gideon. I want to highlight some aspects of Gideon's life where he demonstrates both sides of his personality. In each of the three areas of his life, he was tempted. He achieved success in one area but failed in two others. Today, let's take a look at these aspects of Gideon's life and think about The Temptations of Gideon's Last Days. I. v. 22-23 HE FACED SECULAR TEMPTATION A. v. 22 There Is A Request – The Israelites come to Gideon to ask him to become their king because they are so impressed with his victory. The concept of "dominion" is implied by the word "rule." They are giving Gideon and his family a kingdom that will last forever. The offer, according to them, is for him, his sons, and his sons' sons. Israel's people are like people from every age. They were to rule over the man who could provide them with peace, security, success, and wealth. This is evident in Jesus' life. Jesus fed a large crowd in John 6:1–15. He fed approximately 20,000 people with five tiny loaves and two tiny fish! That day, our Lord performed a miracle that could only have come from a god. In fact, the miracle was all about that. Jesus wanted His followers and the crowd to understand that He was God. He wanted them to see Him as He really is. A man who could feed the crowd was what the crowd saw. As a result, in verse 15, they attempted to impose Him as their king. Because He would not wear the crown until He had paid for sin on the cross, Jesus slipped away from them. Israel's only concern is that Gideon is a skilled warrior who can provide them with safety and security. As a result, they approach him to give Gideon the crown. Israel will reiterate their request for a human king in 1 Samuel 8:19–20. Their motivation is their desire to emulate other nations. Instead of having to be the unique people of God, they would rather be like the other nations around them. In today's world, that same trend can be observed. Christians and churches alike are falling over each other in an effort to conform to society as a whole. Where are the courageous individuals who are willing to stand up for God's principles on their own? B. v. 23 There Is A Refusal: Gideon perceives their request as it is. The Israelites ought to have been praising God for the victory. Gideon is aware that He was not able to defeat their foes; He is aware that victory came from God's power. The people ought to have paid homage to God and expressed their gratitude for the victory they had just witnessed. They were blind to the fact that God was the one who wielded the weapon, despite the fact that Gideon was the instrument. Gideon performs exactly as he ought to. He turned down their offer and reminded them that they only belonged to the Lord. Moreover, that still functions today! Did you know that not all people are right? The majority of people shouted, "Crucify Him!" the day of Jesus' death. When Jesus spoke in the synagogue, the majority tried to throw Him off a cliff in Nazareth. The majority of the people disobeyed God's command to enter Canaan, resulting in the deaths of the rest of the nation in the wilderness. Avoid falling into the trap of thinking, "If everyone is doing it, then everything must be fine." It is not right that everyone engages in drug use, alcohol consumption, adultery, pornography, lying, stealing, and other forms of wickedness. Keep in mind that God expects us to submit to His will for our lives if we are saved. After all, He bought us, and 1 Cor. says that He wants to control our lives. 6:19-20. He expects us to live as if we are a people who have been saved, and if we don't, we will pay the price for our rebellion! Before we continue with the message, one more thought. Did you notice that this temptation occurred following a great success? In the immediate aftermath of a significant victory, you are never more susceptible to sin. With these words, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall," Pro, the wisest man who ever lived, he warned us. 16:18. With a resolute "No!" Gideon resisted this temptation. He took pleasure in bringing glory and honor to the Lord, denying himself glory and honor. Sometimes all you have to do is say "No!" When Potipher's wife tried to seduce Joseph, that is what he did, Gen. 39:8–12, 12. You have to say it to your friend from time to time. You have to say it to your family from time to time. You have to tell yourself that from time to time. Sometimes all you have to do is say, "No!" We need your help to have the guts to do it! I. He was subjected to secular temptation II. A. v. 24 There Is A Request – This time, Gideon makes the request. v. 24-27 HE FACED SPIRITUAL TEMPTATION A. v. 24 He has just fought off a significant temptation, but in the next breath, his actions contradict his words. "The people want Gideon to have dominion, but he wants a donation," one man stated. He asks them for the golden earrings they found among the dead soldiers of the enemy. Gideon is a contrasts study. On the one hand, he praises God and resists taking over the nation from the Lord. Gideon, on the other hand, gives in to the desire for wealth. He resists one urge only to give in to another. This one will ultimately turn out to be just as bad as the other one. B. v. 25-26 There Is A Response: The People Don't Even Think About It. Over 1,700 shekels of gold, clothing, and other ornaments are given to them as they spread a blanket and give it away. About 57 pounds of gold are represented by 1,700 shekels. This amounts to more than one million dollars in current currency. Simply because Gideon asks for it, these people give it to him. However, think about this: When they had the option of doing the right thing, they refused, 8:6, 8. Now, they grant Gideon's questionable request without hesitation. What a volatile group the Israelites were. Naturally, we shouldn't be harsh with them. How frequently have we fallen prey to actions that, in the end, dishonor God because we were just jumping on someone else's bandwagon? We must ensure that any cause we take up in our lives is supported by God's Word and will! Failure to do so will result in the Lord's rebuke and embarrassment. C. v. 27 There Were Results: Gideon made an "ephod" out of the gold he was given. A garment worn by the high priest was called an ephod. It was an outer vest without sleeves that reached the hips. On the front of the linen ephod that the high priest of Israel wore, there were twelve stones that stood for the twelve tribes of Israel. The "Urim and the Thumim," which were stones used to determine God's will, were kept in a pouch on the front. So, Gideon used gold to make an ephod, a prayer garment for the high priest, and then he put it in Orphah. What is so awful about Gideon's actions? We are informed that "all Israel" "whored after it." "to commit fornication" is what the word "whoring" means. Because it symbolized victory over their adversaries, the God-people pursued and worshiped this ephod. To worship at Gideon's ephod in Orphah, the people were swayed away from the Tabernacle in Shiloh. Anything that diverts you from worshiping the Lord should be avoided. Anything that prevents you from worshiping Him in His own way is dangerous and will cause you to become an idolater and apostate. It doesn't matter how right it seems if it doesn't go according to His plan. regardless of how many people are doing it! D. There Were Justifications—Why did Gideon act in this manner? We don't know, but if you'll let me, I'd like to make a guess. It's possible that Gideon wanted to be Israel's spiritual leader even though he didn't want to be king. The High Priest was not carrying out his duties appropriately or consistently. Gideon might have believed he could do a better job. Gideon had, after all, seen God face to face. He has been called and spoken to by the Lord. He has been used miraculously by the Lord. It's possible that he believed he was now qualified to lead the nation's worship of the Lord. Gideon was clearly in violation of God's Word if that was his intention. Gideon did not come from Aaron's family. Gideon didn't go to church. Actually, he persuaded the Shilohites to worship his ephod in Ophrah rather than the tabernacle there. Gideon was completely mistaken if that was his intention! For the time being, let's give Gideon the benefit of the doubt. It's likely that he was seeking God's glory. He might have had good intentions. It's possible that he wanted to set up a memorial to praise God for His enormous victory. That may have been true in heart, but doing right is always right! We are informed that the "ephod" turned into a "snare for Gideon and his house." The word "snare" connotes "a trap." Satan used that ephod to destroy an otherwise great man's testimony. As I mentioned earlier, Gideon was a contrasts study. Additionally, I would say that Gideon is a study in muddle! A man who claims to know the Lord appears to have done so. This man sacrificed personal glory to advance the Lord's glory. But here is a man who let himself fall into a trap that was so obvious to be wrong that if the outcomes weren't so terrible, it would be laughable. Be careful with your actions. There are a lot of things that come our way that, on the surface, seem so unimportant. We frequently fail to realize that the devil uses seemingly harmless things as tools and traps to undermine our influence and testimony. Before you act on the latest "good idea," before you support anyone's cause, before you join the latest bandwagon; Put some important questions to yourself. What impact will this have on my life? How will this impact the lives of other people? Is this idea going to hurt anyone else? Is this idea likely to exclude anyone? Does what I'm considering doing reflect well on God? Is the behavior I'm considering exhibiting true Christlikeness? Is it possible for me to carry out what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37–40? "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart, soul, and mind." The first and most important commandment is this. The second is similar to it: you must love your neighbor as yourself. All of the prophets and the law are hung on these two commands. How will this concept impact my church? What effect will this idea have on the community's perception of my church? What effect will this idea have on my testimony? How will this concept affect people's perceptions of the Lord Jesus Christ? You have to understand that a lot of people identify as Christians. The same people frequently treat others badly. The Lord's teachings are opposed by the same people. The Lord and His will are at odds with these very same individuals. In the name of self-will and self-worship, these same individuals commit numerous sins. That makes no sense to me. Because he failed to prioritize God over all else in his life, Gideon lost his testimony. Any individual in this room may experience the same thing. We need to be certain that the things that drive us through this life are God, His will, His Word, and His worship! First, he had to deal with secular temptation. He was subjected to Spiritual Temptation III. v. 28-35: HE OVERCOMED A SOCIAL TEMPTATION (Illinois) Gideon overcame one temptation successfully; In another, he failed miserably. Gideon fell short of a final temptation in a glorious way as well. In the area of social temptation, he failed.) A. Gideon Was a Celebrity – I'll only touch on this because it's been discussed before. In Israel, Gideon was a household name. As a result, he was subjected to various temptations. There were opportunities for fame, power, and wealth. Gideon let his success take a toll on him! Great success can sometimes result in great defeat. The life of Elijah exemplifies this truth. In the power of God, the prophet stood atop Mt. Carmel and witnessed God grant a great victory, 1 Kings 18:20–40. After that, despite the fact that Elijah was walking and the king was riding in a chariot, vv. 41-46. Then, out of fear, Elijah fled when Jezebel, the wicked woman, threatened him, 1 Kings 19:1–3. After his greatest achievement, Elijah experienced his greatest setback. Be careful; the same could happen to your life and mine. B. v. 30-32: Gideon Was a Compromiser: It is stated that Gideon had "many wives" for himself. Although the number of wives Gideon had is unknown, it was sufficient for him to have 70 sons. Gideon even had a concubine, or mistress, indicating that such a large number of women were insufficient. Israel accepted polygamy, but God never authorized it. In fact, according to Genesis 2:18–25, marriage was always between one woman and one man for a lifetime. Lamech, a man, was the first polygamist, according to Genesis 4:19. He has no regard for God's will and comes from the Cain family. In Deut. It was forbidden for the rulers of Israel to have multiple wives in 17:17. Because of the multitude of wives, the kings' hearts would be divided and they would turn away from God. 1 Kings 11:3 demonstrates this clearly in King Solomon's life. In fact, problems abound whenever polygamy is mentioned in the Bible. Abraham, Solomon, David, and others It appears that Gideon was of the opinion that the Law no longer applied to him. He appeared to believe that he could act however he pleased without incurring any repercussions. For his rebellion, he paid a high price. We will, too! We are deceiving ourselves when we reach the point where we believe that we are free to act however we please, regardless of the cost to God and others. Disobedience always comes with a price, and it's a high one! C. Gideon Perished: This great man lost his family, influence, and testimony in the end. The people continued their downward spiral into idolatry after he passed away, verses 33–34. He was relegated to the past when Gideon passed away. According to verse 35, the very people he spoke to forgot about him. We are told in chapter 9 that one of his sons, Abimelech, who was the son of Gideon's concubine, decided he should be Israel's king. He was made king after killing all 69 of his brothers through a series of events. As a result, Gideon lost both his family and everything for which he had worked. The gist of this is this: There is a terrible price to pay for disobeying God when we walk in paths and ways that are different from His. People around us may have a negative impression of the things of God as a result of our foolish decisions. When it comes to God, His people, His Word, and His will, our actions speak louder than our words. Because what you do will have an impact on those around you, be careful with your behavior, words, and activities! Don't fall victim to a rash decision that seems right at the time. Be a different Gideon! Conc: It would be shameful to live your life to the glory of God in victory and power only to see it all vanish because of a poor decision. These tragic tales can be found all over human history. Numerous individuals have performed admirably only to have everything taken away from them in the end. Our lives do not have to be like that. We can enjoy both our lives and our departures. We can complete our course in a way that honors the Lord and leaves a positive legacy. We are not obligated to become like Gideon! I hope none of us will! The time to obey the Lord is now if the Lord has spoken to you about a part of your life that needs to be brought back under His control. You can return to Him today if He has demonstrated to you that you are engaged in a fool's errand. The time to get out of that situation is now if He has demonstrated to you that other people are leading you astray, as Gideon did with Israel. Does He speak? You need to pay attention to His voice if you want to do well at the end and avoid the temptations that killed Gideon!

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