Judges 8:1-3, 22-27, 32-35
When there is a success, everybody thinks that he ought to have been in it, and blames somebody else that he was away. It is not quite so clear that had these complainers been invited they would have welcomed the invitation. Those who grow angry because they cannot claim a share in the honour, are usually the very persons who would have had least taste for the conflict.
A soft answer turneth away wrath. It shewed a noble spirit in Gideon, that though the sole conqueror by right, he covets no monopoly of the praise, but even magnifies the exploits of others beyond his own. Better yield to absurd people, than engender strife among brethren.
Judges 8:22, 23
Here again Gideon shines. He had no eye to a dynasty, his eye was single for the Lord only. At the same time, it is natural that our deliverer should be our ruler, and if the Lord Jesus has indeed set us free from sin and Satan, it is but meet and right that he should rule over us.
What a pity that so good a man, with so good a motive, should do so wrong a thing. What need or right had he to fashion sacerdotal garments, when the only highpriest was elsewhere, and was adorned with all needful priestly robes and ornaments? A world of evil has come into the world through priestly dress. There is One Priest above arrayed in glory; how foolish and how wicked to dream of making priestly vestures for mortal men.
From worshipping God in a wrong way, to the worship of a wrong god, is an easy step. Alas! Gideon, what evil didst thou do.
It is no wonder if those who forget God, forget also all others to whom they are indebted. This chapter practically admonishes us to keep close to God’s rules of worship as laid down in Scripture, for the slightest divergence therefrom may lead to deadly errors and innumerable evils.
Lord, from habits keep me free
Which incline the least to sin,
Lest they prove a snare to me,
And my soul be held therein,
Reverent to thy sacred will,
May I all thy word obey;
Shun the very shade of ill,
From each idol turn away,