Just because you are a leader doesn’t mean you are perfect, always right or invincible. That is why it is so important for spiritual leaders to remain in a position of accountability to others. We all need to be able to allow other spiritually mature people to speak into our lives and challenge our motives and actions.
When the people wanted to force Gideon to reign over them as king he refused. He reminded them that it was God who had won the victory and it was God they were supposed to follow. He did not feel adequate nor was it appropriate for the people to follow him instead.
We all need to remember that, too. God may bless us with a wonderful ministry. He may cause many folk to join our church, etc, but we must always encourage everyone to follow Jesus, rather than us. Jesus is still Head of The Church and we must never forget that. Jesus said, “If I am lifted up I will draw all men to Me.”
I believe that is a divine principle. I must raise Jesus so high that people follow Him rather than me. As John the Baptiser said, “I must decrease, He (Jesus) must increase.”
Gideon did well. Then he made a huge mistake. He invited the people to do something for him. He asked them to give him a gold earring, which was made into an ephod. It was like a memorial statue. In principle, a harmless act – in reality, it became an idol.
Yes, Gideon started well. He trusted God for an overwhelming victory against Israel’s oppressors. Indeed, Israel went on to enjoy peace for the duration of Gideon’s life. But as soon as he died, the people returned to their idol worship and forgot about Gideon and his family. And the problem was exacerbated by the ephod Gideon set up.
We are not responsible for the actions of others but we are responsible for all we do. None of us is perfect and that is why it is such a relief that Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty of all our sins. However, that does not give us licence to live just as we like, but rather challenge us to live holy lives and allow the Spirit of God full reign in us.
The challenge for each of us is to finish well – like Paul, the apostle. We need to run the race and finish the course.