“Sinner and also a hero of faith”
And made Baal berith their god. —Judges 8:33
Read Judges 8:22-35
Gideon was a hero of faith, but also a sinner. To express their thankfulness, the people wanted to make him their king, showing that they had more esteem for Gideon than for the Lord and His work. What could go wrong, they thought, if Gideon became their king? In one word—everything. By making Gideon king in this way, the nation would be denying the Lord. Gideon showed true leadership when he declined this offer, telling the people that the Lord must rule over them.
And yet, Gideon took back with one hand what he gave up with the other. He began to act like a sovereign, demanding a portion of the plunder gained from their victory. From this money he made a high-priestly garment, an ephod, including a breastplate commonly used by God’s people to understand God’s will. Perhaps Gideon thought that in this way he would be able to keep the Israelites close to the service of the Lord, but it was a great sin that became a snare to him and his household. For forty years the land remained free from enemies (v.28), and still the nation was guilty of sinning spiritually (v.27). After Gideon’s death, the nation began to serve Baal, and Baal Berith in particular. Still, Gideon is mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of faith who gave a good testimony.
What characteristic reveals Israel’s dullness as a nation?