‘For the Lord and for Gideon’ (7:18). Notice who comes first. It is not Gideon. It is the Lord! ‘The men of Israel’ attached too much importance to Gideon – ‘Rule over us…you have delivered us’. Gideon gave all the glory to God – ‘I will not rule over you…the Lord will rule over you’ (8:22-23). What happens when people make too much of the man and not enough of the Lord? – As soon as the man is taken away from them, they forget the Lord (33-34). It seems like they were just waiting to turn away from the Lord. The moment Gideon was no longer there to keep an eye on them, they were back to their old ways again (33)! We must never let the servant of the Lord become more important than the Lord. When God’s servant has become a distant memory, we must keep on ‘remembering the Lord our God’ (34).
Things were going from bad to worse! The people of Israel had forgotten ‘the Lord their God’ (8:34). ‘The enemy’ was ready to ‘come in like a flood’ (Isaiah 59:19). Abimelech – Gideon’s son by ‘his concubine who was in Shechem’ (8:31) – was very unlike his father. Gideon had pointed away from himself to the Lord (8:23). Abimelech was eager to draw attention to himself. He murdered his seventy brothers, paving the way for himself to become king (1-6). Abimelech spelt trouble! Things were only going to get worse with Abimelech. There was ‘an evil spirit’ at work among God’s people (23). Where was God in all this? – ‘Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct’ (Romans 1:28). What kind of person are you becoming? Each of us must choose!