|Judges 8 |
1 Now the men of Ephraim said to him, "Why have you treated us like this, not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites?" And they chided him sharply.
2 And he said to them, "What have I done now in comparison to you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?
3 God has delivered the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, into your hands, and what was I able to do in comparison to you?" Then their anger was abated toward him when he had said that.
4 And Gideon came to the Jordan and passed over, he and the three hundred men who were with him, faint yet pursuing them.
5 Then he said to the men of Succoth, "Give, I pray you, loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are faint, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian."
6 And the princes of Succoth said, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?"
7 So Gideon said, "For that, when the LORD has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with the thorns and briers of the wilderness."
8 Then he went up from there to Penuel and spoke to them in the same way, and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered.
9 So he spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, "When I come again in peace, I will tear down this tower."
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna [kings of Midian] were in Karkor with their army, about fifteen thousand men, all that was left of all the army of the children of the east, for a hundred and twenty thousand men who drew sword had already been slain.
11 So Gideon went up by the road of those who dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah and smote their camp, for the army felt secure.
12 And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed all the army.
13 Then Gideon, the son of Joash, returned from battle by the ascent of Heres,
14 And caught a young man of the men of Succoth and questioned him, and the young man wrote down for him the names of the officials of Succoth and its elders, seventy seven men.
15 Then he came to the men of Succoth, and said, "Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you ridiculed me, saying, 'Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?'"
16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns and briers of the wilderness, and with them he taught the men of Succoth a lesson.
17 And he tore down the tower of Penuel and slew the men of the city.
18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, "What manner of men were they whom you slew at Tabor?" And they answered, "As you are, each one resembled the son of a king."
19 And he said, "They were my brothers, even the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not slay you."
20 And he said to Jether his firstborn, "Up, and slay them." But the youth did not draw his sword, for he feared because he was still a lad.
21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Rise yourself and fall on us; 'For as the man is, so is his strength.'" So Gideon arose and slew Zebah and Zalmunna and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.
22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, "Rule over us, both you and your son and your son's son also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian."
23 And Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you."
24 And Gideon said to them, "I would like to make a request of you, that every man would give me the earrings of his plunder." (For the Midianites had golden earrings, because the Ishmaelites wore earrings.)
25 And they answered, "We will willingly give them." And they spread a garment, and every man cast on it the earrings of his plunder.
26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold, besides ornaments and pendants and purple robes that were on the kings of Midian, and the chains that were about their camels' necks.
27 Then Gideon made an ephod [a priest's garment made of gold] of it, and put it in his city of Ophrah, and all Israel went there and paid homage to it and went a whoring after it,1 and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.
28 Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quiet and peace for forty years in the days of Gideon.
29 And Jerub-baal [Gideon] the son of Joash went home and dwelt in his own house.
30 Gideon had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives.
31 And his concubine, who was in Shechem, also bore him a son, whose name he called Abimelech.
32 Gideon the son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again and went a whoring after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god.
34 And the children of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side;
35 Neither did they show kindness to the house of Jerub-baal, that is, Gideon, in return for all the goodness that he had done for Israel.
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1 Then Gideon made an ephod [a priest's garment made of gold] of it, and put it in his city of Ophrah, and all Israel went there and paid homage to it and went a whoring after it. The golden ephod garment, which was intended to be a reminder of God's powerful triumph over the Midianites, became an idol to be worshiped for itself. Christendom has done the same thing with the cross. We make crosses of brass, gold, glass, metals; hundreds of feet high, on our flags, around our necks — we pay homage to the symbol, but we have forgotten the words of Jesus regarding the necessity of picking up the cross ourselves, the inward cross of self-denial, without which we can never be his disciple, nor will we escape Hell, nor will we escape the destruction of our souls:
If any man desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23
He who does not take his cross, and follow after me, is not worthy of me. Mat 10:38
Whoever would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Mark 8:34
And whoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27
So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:33
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. For if you live after the flesh, you will die;
but if through the Spirit you mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, you will live. Rom 8:8,13
So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members:
sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry. Col 3:5
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Gal 5:24
Wearing a cross is like wearing an idol. Wearing a cross is a mockery of carrying the inward cross of self-denial. Wearing a cross is trying to tell everyone you are a Christian; yet you are still sinning; yet you haven't been taught and changed by the Lord. If you become more than a make-believe Christian, if you have been delivered from sin, then the moderation of your conduct and conversation will be evidence of your true Christianity.
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