Right Answer, Wrong ActionJon Burgess
23But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” 24And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” Judges 8:23-24
I always wonder what would have happened to Gideon's legacy if he had just left it at that. "The Lord will rule over you" so that you don't seek to make an idol out of an ephod or a god out of a man. Gideon knew that victory came from God. Gideon knew God hated idolatry. Gideon knew the right answer but took the wrong action. His deeds didn't match his words. He said, "it's not about me" but "let's talk about me". He said, "worship God alone for we belong to Him" but "let's set up a gold ephod in MY town so no one forgets who led them to victory." Well, everyone did forget it was God who had led them to victory: 33No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god 34and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. The painful truth is that they also forgot about Gideon as well: 35They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them. The true test of a legacy is what outlives us. If Gideon's last recorded actions had matched his last recorded answer then perhaps we would have seen a change that lasted beyond his life.
The right answer is always "Jesus". Having grown up in church I learned this lesson early on. All you have to do is answer "Jesus" to any question the Sunday School teacher asks and they will be happy and you will be right. Sadly, this is still how many of us live. We may say "Jesus" is the answer but are we showing "Jesus" in our actions in the world around us? A recent Barna study revealed that a growing number of Christians (the answer is right) do not: attend church, share Christ with others, or believe Jesus is the only way (the action is wrong). They identify themselves as "spiritual but not relgious" or describe themselves as "loving Jesus but not the church". This is very similar to Gideon saying "only worship God" but "give me gold for an ephod". It sounds very spiritual but doesn't line up with God's Word or will. You can't separate Christ from the Church. He is the head and we are the body. In my own life I must examine whether my walk matches my talk. As I do a lot of "talking" for a living it would be easy to pull a Gideon. Saying what should be said from the pulpit while living what I want throughout the week will result in an anemic legacy of self rather then a permanent focus on the Savior. In other words its not about my words but the life I live in submission to His Words! The validity of yesterdays answers are determined by the integrity of todays actions.
Thank You Jesus for this reminder this morning. In a world of "Fake News" and "Alternative Facts" it doesn't do anything for my witness if my walk doesn't match my talk. More so my walk must match Your walk otherwise all I am is the sum of my words rather then a son walking in The Word in the world around me. Call me on my hypocrisy in secret so that what I live in public will look like You and lead many who are seeking to see You for who You really are!