My Choices Affect Others

30 03 2008

Scripture:

Judges 8:27 Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.

29 Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live. 30 He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelech. 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and 34 did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show kindness to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) for all the good things he had done for them.

Observations:

After Gideon (Jerub-Baal) captured and killed the enemies, he asked for a small token of the plunder, the earrings. This amounted to 43 pounds of gold. From this he made an ephod, which later was worshiped by Israel. After he died, the Israelites went back to their idol worship. Gideon had many sons through many wives and a concubine. It seems that Gideon’s weakness for women once again paved the path to idol worship in his people – especially through his son (via the concubine), Abimelech.

in the Hebrew Bible, Abimelech was a son of the great judge Gideon (Judges 9:1); thus his name אֲבִימֶלֶךְ / אֲבִימָלֶךְ can best be interpreted “my father, the king”. “Abimelech”, a name claiming the inherited right to rule, was also a common name of the Philistine kings. He was, however, merely the son of Gideon’s concubine, and to make good his claim to rule over Ephraim, he resorted to force. Aided by his mother’s relatives, he put to death all of his half-brothers, seventy in number, “on one stone,” at Ophrah, only the youngest, Jotham, escaping. Abimelech ruled just three years in Shechem after the death of his father (Judges 8:33-9:6).

He was an unprincipled, ambitious ruler, often engaged in war with his own subjects. When engaged in reducing the town of Thebez, which had revolted, he was struck on the head by a mill-stone, thrown by the hand of a woman from the wall above. Realising that the wound was mortal, he ordered his armor-bearer to thrust him through with his sword, so that it might not be said he had perished by the hand of a woman (Judges 9:50-57).

Applications:

I’d like to think that I am an island and that I can make decisions independent of others and that those decisions won’t affect anyone else. I’d like to think that my past mistakes, won’t affect my leadership today. I’d like to think that my present choices, especially the secret ones, won’t affect me (ha!), my family, and/or my church. I’d like to think that a secret cookie here, that no one else is aware of, will not lead my children to make poor choices now or in the future. I hope that my missed opportunities to be faithful will not affect my moral leadership of this church.

But, I know better. In fact, the Bible is full of examples like this one. Gideon, a great leader for God – and one of my favorite stories; fell far short of the potential he had. His multiple wives and lack of discipline in this area of his life, was a shining example to the Israelites. His concubine; his mistress; is monogamous prostitute bore him a son. This son went on to kill 70/71 half-brothers and led the country into spiritual prostitution.

If I have a secret cookie here, what secret sins will my kids adopt there? If I take a shortcut in my spiritual life here, how will that affect my church’s decisions there?

The fact is, I’m not perfect and I will make mistakes, but that doesn’t give me an excuse for submitting to temptation. Character is important. Every time I surrender to temptation (moral, ethical, health, relational, discipline, etc), I miss an opportunity to expand and improve my character. I may even tear down my character and harm it, depending upon the decision or issue. Every time I make the right choice, no excuses, I grow and thereby improve my ability to be a moral leader in my family and in my church.

As Bruce Springsteen once said, “No Surrender.”

Prayer:

Father God, give me the courage to make the right decisions and to surrender to you, not to temptation. Teach me to be disciplined and not lazy when it comes to making the right choices.

I love you too! gw

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3 responses

1 04 2008
Martin

Very interesting reading to be sure. I can see getting stuck as a parent, becoming imobile, like the “deer in headlights” for fear about how my kids will turn out because of my “Gideon” ways. My many sins commited in secret have been sure to “find me out”. But what about the ones commited in front of my children! To admit the wrong and ask forgiveness not only of God but of those around me has become key, at least in my view, to show others I’m human, and to set the example of what to do in case of sin, which any one of us could fall into at any time. What it makes me think of is my relationship to God, control and the lack there of, of my kids choices. Surely I have seen their mistakes and no amount of punishment, words of wisdom can “make” them change their minds into my “enlightened” way of thinking. So what to do?!! This freedom of choice is quite the two edge sword! Sometimes I think all I can do is pray for those around me and my self! I’m SURE the Great and Merciful God in heaven has shook His head many times as He sees His child (pronounced “me”) awkwardly trying to do things the way “I” see fit.
As I read through what has happened to those of old I can see nothing has really changed on our side, and nothing has really changed on God’s side! We’re still the same “stiff necks” when it comes down to it. Your prayer says it all, for we are COMPLETELY helpless and doomed without the Father’s compassion. Thanks be to God the Father, and His Son, our Saviour, for ever and ever for His great Love! It truely is wonderful, beyond human ability to fully understand! I believe He is faithful to help us grow into loving children but only as long as we keep our hearts attached to Him. One day when all is said and done, and God has fully perfected our character, we will be apauled to look back and see just what kind of pressure has been exerted against us to submit to temptation, then will we glorify God the more as we realize even more the Love/protection He gives.
thanks for your thoughts! Inspiring! Thanks too for letting me give my 2¢
-M

18 06 2008
Deadlock

Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

cheers, Deadlock.

15 10 2013
Nick

Enjoyed your post. So many times we hear ourselves or someone else say ‘well it’s my life’. While this is true and each of us indeed has our own life we must always remember our actions affect others.

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