"Very well," Gideon replied, "when the LORD has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with the thorns and briers of the wilderness!"
A splendid and really forced
march. Humanly speaking, it was the real battle. The grandest qualities were called forth, and the greatest results secured. A picture of the Christian life.
I. GOD OFTEN SUFFERS HIS SERVANTS TO ENDURE HARDSHIP IN DOING HIS WILL.
II. THOSE WHO ARE DOING IMPORTANT SERVICE UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES OF HARDSHIP OUGHT TO BE ENCOURAGED AND SUPPORTED.
III. DUTY AND THE HIGH CALLING OF CHRISTIANS OUGHT TO TRIUMPH OVER WEAKNESS, HARDSHIP, AND OPPOSITION.
IV. THE GREATEST RESULTS OFTEN DEPEND UPON PERSISTENCY EVEN AMIDST DISADVANTAGES. - M.
The princes of Succoth... The men of Penuel.
Instead of being supported, as they had good right to expect they would have been, by those who profess to be the Lord's people, instances are by no means rare of men of Gideon's stamp being met on their part by scoffs and insinuations, and positive refusals along with cold prudential admonitions to attend to their own business, and allow matters just to take their course. Nor is this all. There are some who go even farther still — men who, while professing to be the friends of truth, are found actually, out of deliberate malice, envy, or jealousy, refusing to lend a lending hand and casting obstacles in the way of accomplishing the reformation on which their generous hearts are set. Now of all this we are furnished with a striking illustration in what is here recorded as having passed between Gideon and the men of Succoth and Penuel. Yet mark how nobly he continued to restrain the impulse of his resentment — an example which naturally reminds us of that of one greater far than Gideon, when He met with treatment similar, yet worse still, at the hands of those whom He had come to seek and to save from a servitude more deplorable by far. Oh, how amazing was His long-suffering forbearance! How analogous also to the conduct of Gideon, while infinitely more worthy of our admiration, was the patient perseverance with which He went on His way, still carrying forward the work which His Father had given Him to do, and for the sake of those very people who thus shamefully requited His love and service and self-denial, exposed Himself to still greater privations and still severer sufferings than any He had yet borne! Oh, if we wonder at the behaviour of the Ephraimites and the men of Succoth and Penuel toward Gideon son of Joash under provocation so aggravated, what ought we to think of Jesus the Son of God in bearing with us as He does! Yet, from what afterwards took place, let us beware how we presume on the long-suffering to which we owe so much. If the promises of Christ are yea and amen, so also are His threatenings; let us never for one moment lose sight of that! Gideon contented himself meanwhile with simply threatening the men of Succoth and Penuel, the former that he would tear their flesh with thorns (ver. 7), the latter that he would "break down their tower" (ver. 8) But afterwards, when he returned from taking vengeance on his country's enemies at Karkor, thereby crowning his enterprise with complete success, then he fulfilled these threatenings to the very letter. And even so it shall be with all the enemies of Jesus, with all who decline to come to the help of the Lord against the mighty, at that day when He shall "come again, to be admired of all them that love Him," and to "take vengeance" on all besides. Sooner or later the judgment He has threatened shall descend upon them.
These men were blind to the glory of the common cause — selfish, poor-spirited creatures, that shut themselves up in their fenced cities, and were satisfied to let God's soldiers starve, and God's work come to an end for want of support, so long only as they had bread enough to satisfy their own hunger. This was a state of mind not to be corrected by a mere civil speech or explanation. Gideon taught them, not by expostulation, but by the sword and with the briers of the wilderness. Can we say that there are none now who merit the same punishment? none who resist every appeal to assist those who are faint by pursuing God's work? There are still men who have no eye for spiritual importance, but measure all things by their outward appearance and by their relation to their own comfort; men who fortify themselves in their ungenerous selfishness by asking, as these men of Succoth did, "What have you made of this pursuit in which you want us to assist you? what great good have you done, that we should help you? Are Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should acknowledge you as useful men, and give you what you ask to help you on in your pursuit?" For such persons, who despise the day of small things, who cannot recognise God if He takes on Him the form of a little child, nor His Church when it exists as a grain of mustard-seed, there remains the doom of seeing the whole work of God in the world finished without their aid, and of hearing the voice of God Himself in rebuke, "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish!"
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
TopicsBed, Bodies, Briers, Crushed, Delivered, Desert, Flail, Flesh, Gideon, Giving, Grain, Grain-floor, Hands, Instruments, Replied, Sharp, Stems, Stretched, Tear, Thorns, Thrash, Threshed, Threshing, Waste, Wilderness, Zalmunna, Zalmun'na, Zebah
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 8:4-7
5496 revenge, examples
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
Scripture references: Hebrews 11; Matthew 9:29; 17:20; Mark 10:52; 11:22; Acts 2:38; 3:16; 10:43; 16:30,31; Romans 1:17; 5:1; 10:17; Galatians 2:20. FAITH AND PRACTICE Belief Controls Action.--"As the man is, so is his strength" (Judges 8:21), "For as he thinketh in his heart so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:28,29). "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). The Scriptures place stress upon the fact that …
Henry T. Sell—Studies in the Life of the Christian
Subjects of Study. Home Education in Israel; Female Education. Elementary Schools, Schoolmasters, and School Arrangements.
If a faithful picture of society in ancient Greece or Rome were to be presented to view, it is not easy to believe that even they who now most oppose the Bible could wish their aims success. For this, at any rate, may be asserted, without fear of gainsaying, that no other religion than that of the Bible has proved competent to control an advanced, or even an advancing, state of civilisation. Every other bound has been successively passed and submerged by the rising tide; how deep only the student …
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life
Of the Power of Making Laws. The Cruelty of the Pope and his Adherents, in this Respect, in Tyrannically Oppressing and Destroying Souls.
1. The power of the Church in enacting laws. This made a source of human traditions. Impiety of these traditions. 2. Many of the Papistical traditions not only difficult, but impossible to be observed. 3. That the question may be more conveniently explained, nature of conscience must be defined. 4. Definition of conscience explained. Examples in illustration of the definition. 5. Paul's doctrine of submission to magistrates for conscience sake, gives no countenance to the Popish doctrine of the obligation …
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion
For the understanding of the early history and religion of Israel, the book of Judges, which covers the period from the death of Joshua to the beginning of the struggle with the Philistines, is of inestimable importance; and it is very fortunate that the elements contributed by the later editors are so easily separated from the ancient stories whose moral they seek to point. That moral is most elaborately stated in ii. 6-iii. 6, which is a sort of programme or preface to iii. 7-xvi. 31, which constitutes …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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