But Gideon answered them, "Now what have I accomplished compared to you? Are not the gleanings of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer?
I. THEY OUGHT NOT TO BE SUFFERED TO INTERFERE WITH THE CHIEF ENDS AND PRESSING CLAIMS OF DIVINE SERVICE. Gideon hastens after the routed and retreating foe. The sullen apathy of Ephraim, the refusal of Succoth and Penuel to meet the demands of patriotism and humanity, do not turn him aside. When the last blow has been struck and the power of Midian is laid low he will return and mete out to each according to their deserts. This is an illustration of how side issues may often arise, and of the manner in which they are to be dealt with. It is seldom that the difficulties and oppositions of life, however annoying and restraining they may be, can utterly prevent the graver duties or excuse dilatoriness. Frequently the petty nature of the opposition is revealed by steadfast continuance in the path of duty, and solitary resolution. We must do what we can, leaving with others the responsibility for their own conduct. The greatest workers in Christ's vineyard have had to labour and live on amidst misunderstanding, obloquy, and hindrance; but their work has been achieved nevertheless, and its moral effect has been all the greater.
II. WHEN THE PROPER TIME ARRIVES THEY MUST BE DEALT WITH ACCORDING TO THE NATURE AND DEGREE OF THE OPPOSITION. A wise discrimination is needed. Where gentleness will avail, harsh measures are to be avoided. Gideon knew the haughty character of Ephraim, the wound their ambitious spirit had sustained when the leadership was wrested from their hands, and so he exercised forbearance, and was gentle and pacific. Civil war was averted when it might have involved national ruin, and the generous side of Ephraim was appealed to. "A soft answer turneth away wrath." After all, Ephraim had atoned for past misbehaviour by the timely and effective service rendered even in the face of an unexplained misunderstanding. It is wise to credit our opponents with the best motives, and to speak gently and reasonably, abstaining from self-glorification. But where the hindrance had been a national crime and a violation of the first principles of humanity a different course was pursued. Here the functions of the judge were called into exercise. The punishment was stern and exemplary, but carefully meted out. Succoth and Penuel are visited with prompt and terrible recompense. But the princes and elders are punished, as being the chief culprits; the common people, who were helpless, were spared. All heresy and schism, unholiness of life, spiritual opposition, etc., is not to be regarded in the same light. Gentleness may win a brother. A little blame may rest with ourselves. Allowance is to be made for the failings of human nature. But we are to have no fellowship with the profane, the blasphemer, the unbeliever, etc. Difference of opinion may co-exist with real co-operation and fellowship. - M.
The children of a king.
1. First, I speak of our family name. To have conquerors, kings, or princes in the ancestral line gives lustre to the family name. In our line was a King and a Conqueror. Our family name takes lustre from the star that heralded Him, and the spear that pierced Him, and the crown that was given Him. What other family name could ever boast of such an illustrous personage?
2. Next, I speak of the family sorrows. If trouble come to one member of the family, all feel it. So, in the great Christian family, the sorrow of one ought to be the sorrow of all.
3. Next, I notice the family property. After a man of large estate dies, the relations assemble to hear the will read. Our Lord Jesus hath died; and we are assembled to-day to hear the will read. He says: "My peace I give unto you." Through the apostle He says: "All are yours."
4. Next, I speak of the family mansion. Almost every family looks back to a homestead — some country place where you grew up. But all the dwelling-places of dukes and princes and queens are as nothing to the family, mansion that is already awaiting our arrival.
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
I. II. III. IV. 1. They dwell in the royal presence. 2. They have constant access to God. 3. They have royal provision. 4. They have special instruction. 5. They have a kingly guard. 6. They have royal prospects.Learn: 1. The dignity and rights of the saints of God. 2. How full of consolation to believers in sorrow and affliction! (J. Burns, D. D.)
II. III. IV. 1. They dwell in the royal presence. 2. They have constant access to God. 3. They have royal provision. 4. They have special instruction. 5. They have a kingly guard. 6. They have royal prospects.Learn: 1. The dignity and rights of the saints of God. 2. How full of consolation to believers in sorrow and affliction! (J. Burns, D. D.)
III. IV. 1. They dwell in the royal presence. 2. They have constant access to God. 3. They have royal provision. 4. They have special instruction. 5. They have a kingly guard. 6. They have royal prospects.Learn: 1. The dignity and rights of the saints of God. 2. How full of consolation to believers in sorrow and affliction! (J. Burns, D. D.)
IV. 1. They dwell in the royal presence. 2. They have constant access to God. 3. They have royal provision. 4. They have special instruction. 5. They have a kingly guard. 6. They have royal prospects.Learn: 1. The dignity and rights of the saints of God. 2. How full of consolation to believers in sorrow and affliction! (J. Burns, D. D.)
1. They dwell in the royal presence.
2. They have constant access to God.
3. They have royal provision.
4. They have special instruction.
5. They have a kingly guard.
6. They have royal prospects.Learn:
1. The dignity and rights of the saints of God.
2. How full of consolation to believers in sorrow and affliction!
(J. Burns, D. D.)
1. In order to this, then, we must as far as we have opportunity cultivate physical power. There is truth in the phrase "muscular Christianity." To keep a healthy body for the home of the mind should be a persistent aim. We have no right to neglect it. We should be as unwise as would a cottager who, knowing that the rainy season was setting in, should neglect to stop up the gaping hole in the rotting thatch roof. We should strive to develop our powers to the full extent, and when we can go no further, we should conserve the force we have gained.
2. That which we say of the body applies also to the cultivation of mental faculties. The opportunity of strengthening the body may be brief, but that of the mind lifelong. We have but little power at first, but reading, thinking, and mingling with our fellows increases the conscious vigour of intellect.
3. Further, we should be strong in convictions of duty. We should have principles. Our arms should be nerved by moral earnestness.
4. It is well to cultivate a confidence in our powers and principles. Jether was fearful as to his powers, and so he drew not his sword. We should have no hesitancy in doing that which our heavenly Father directs, in our consciences or in His Word, to be undertaken. Yea, we should seek to go beyond others in service. We should arouse ourselves to the putting forth of strength, that by effort we may gain greater strength. We are not urged to put forth effort to attain knowledge and spiritual power in our own strength. We must "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." Needless to say, there must be humility, penitence, faith. This conscious spiritual strength and fearlessness are necessary in various circumstances.(1) In the effort to prosper in lawful undertakings, to provide things honest in the sight of all men, and "to provide for our own." The strain on bone and brain at this day is very great.(2) They are necessary in view of some of the contingencies of life. It is useless to be thinking always that something dreadful is about to happen. Fearlessness is a far better spirit in which to meet trial. But it must be a holy fearlessness, because we know that our God cares for us. We need to put aside fear when we stand before that which may cause us a greater anxiety than any circumstances of trial, personal suffering, or even death, the prosperity of Christ's Church and triumph of His truth. We may be concerned, like Eli, for the ark of God. We may hear the roar of the bulls of Bashan — the attacks of infidelity. We may shudder as we see the strongly netted leash of worldliness thrown over the Church. Even then we must not be paralysed by fear, as Jether before Zebah and Zalmunna, for the Spirit of the Lord can lift up a standard against all evil. He can defend His cause.
As the man is, so is his strength
(R. A. Watson, M. A.)I. As a man is PHYSICALLY, so is his strength. If we are to estimate him by his muscular strength, we must take into account his bodily form, his age, his health, his build, his stature. Gideon belonged, as we may say, to the order of nature's nobility. Now, it is perfectly true that we cannot give to ourselves a handsome mien, nor add one cubit to our stature; nevertheless, it is equally true that we can do much to promote our health, to build up our constitution, and even to give dignity to our physical presence. By a regular life, by scrupulous temperance, by due bodily exercise, by habits of order and cleanliness, every one can do not a little in this direction.
II. As a man is INTELLECTUALLY so is his strength. I use the word "strength" here as meaning power of work, capacity for accomplishing the ends of life, and making the world the better for his existence. I suppose that, during the past hundred years, no proverb has been more often quoted, as none has been more largely illustrated, than the pithy aphorism of Lord Bacon, "Knowledge is power." In order to succeed, it is requisite to have intelligence and brains. The commerce of England is not indeed in the hands of learned scholars; but it is, for the most part, in the hands of shrewd, clear-headed, practical men, who understand their business, and know how to push it. Thus intellect becomes an equivalent for strength, and mind means money. In real power of work, the skilled artisan leaves the mere labourer far behind, and the thoughtful clerk the mere mechanical penman; so that as a man is in intelligence so is his strength.
III. As a man is MORALLY AND SPIRITUALLY, so is his strength. Character and faith, I will venture to say, more than anything else, determine your power of overcoming difficulty and of accomplishing good. This is the sure gauge of your personal force in society and in the world. A man with a resolute conscience will always be a power.
IV. As the man is IN FAITH, so is his strength. Ah! that's the main point of all. What a work that brave soul accomplished all through unshaken confidence in his God! Be that faith yours, young men, and you shall be strong, and shall overcome the wicked one. There is no strength in the world to compare with that which faith imparts, especially the faith which lays hold of a risen and all-sufficient Redeemer. The splendid undertakings of an Alexander, Hannibal, a Caesar, are nothing to the achievements which it has accomplished. It has mastered legions of passions, quelled the turbulence of lust, overcome the world, driven the devil to flight, and thrown open an entrance to the palaces of heaven!
(J. T. Davidson, D. D.)
PeopleAbiezer, Abiezrites, Abimelech, Gideon, Ishmaelites, Israelites, Jerubbaal, Jether, Joash, Midianites, Nobah, Ophrah, Oreb, Penuel, Zalmunna, Zebah, Zeeb
Places0, Abiezer, Heres, Jogbehah, Jordan River, Karkor, Midian, Nobah, Ophrah, Penuel, Shechem, Succoth, Tabor
TopicsAbiezer, Abi-ezer, Abi-e'zer, Aren't, Better, Compared, Comparison, Ephraim, E'phraim, Ephraim's, Full, Gleaning, Gleanings, Got, Grape, Grape-cutting, Grapes, Harvest, Isn't, Vintage
Outline1. Gideon pacifies the Ephraimites
4. Succoth and Penuel refuse to deliver Gideon's army
10. Zebah and Zalmunna are taken
13. Succoth and Penuel are destroyed
17. Gideon revenges his brothers's death on Zebah and Zalmunna
22. He refuses government
24. His ephod the cause of idolatry
28. Midian subdued
29. Gideon's children, and death
33. The Israelites' idolatry and ingratitude
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJudges 8:2
LibrarySeptember 21. "Faint, yet Pursuing" (Judges viii. 4).
"Faint, yet pursuing" (Judges viii. 4). It is a great thing thus to learn to depend upon God to work through our feeble resources, and yet, while so depending, to be absolutely faithful and diligent, and not allow our trust to deteriorate into supineness and indolence. We find no sloth or negligence in Gideon, or his three hundred; though they were weak and few, they were wholly true, and everything in them ready for God to use to the very last. "Faint yet pursuing" was their watchword as they followed …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
The Christian Faith
Subjects of Study. Home Education in Israel; Female Education. Elementary Schools, Schoolmasters, and School Arrangements.
Of the Power of Making Laws. The Cruelty of the Pope and his Adherents, in this Respect, in Tyrannically Oppressing and Destroying Souls.
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