Today’s reading in our Judges plan is Judges 8. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • Ephraim’s leaders felt left out because Gideon had not called them to join in the initial stages of the battle.  But Gideon explained the vital and important role they played in capturing the Midianite leaders.
  • The leaders of Succoth and Penial refuse to help Gideon, probably fearing Midian’s revenge, should he fail.  Gideon carries out the threat he made by getting revenge on them for not helping him.
  • The Israelite people want to make Gideon king, but Gideon reminds them that the Lord is to rule over them.
  • While Gideon probably had good motives in making the ephod to remember the Israelites victory, the people began to worship it as an idol.
  • The last days of Gideon and the time shortly after his death saw the Israelites once again turn their backs on God.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Pride causes us to want recognition.  Ephraim wanted more recognition in the battle against Midian.  But not every necessary job is a highly visible leadership role.  Even small tasks are vital to getting any big task done.
  • We should do what’s right regardless of the fears we have.  The officials of Succoth and Peniel refused to help Gideon because they feared the enemy.  Yet this showed a lack of respect for God and the man God had chosen to save them.  We should help others because it is right, regardless of whether or not we will benefit personally.
  • Sometimes good motives produce negative results.  Gideon created an ephod as a visible reminder of the victory God gave them over the Israelites.  Unfortunately, the people began to worship the ephod instead of God.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Are you content to perform your role (at work and in the church) without a lot of attention and recognition?  Or do you resent the work God has given you?  What would it look like for you to live out Colossians 3:23-24?  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
  • In your plans and decisions, always take time to anticipate how a good idea might lead to a potential problem.  Consider negative consequences before taking action.