A while back I had taken a detour back into the book of judges and realized that I hadn’t read it for a while. I had remembered the story of Samson and Gideon, among a few others, but while Samson was as I remembered, Gideon was a different story.
In Sunday school they had taught us about Gideon and how the angel had come to him and called him a mighty warrior before he had ever done anything great and how he defeated a massive army with a mere 300 soldiers, so that God could have the glory. There was just one part I don’t remember them telling us in Sunday school and I don’t know if they left it out on purpose or if they simply forgot. Gideon was a mighty warrior but at the end of his chapter I would say that he turned away from God. He set up an Ephod that all of Israel then worshipped, in other words he set up an idol. When his journey with God began he was asked to tear down an old idol but with his own hands he built another one. The bible says that it became something that tormented his family thereafter and I had to ask myself how this happened? How did Gideon end up making the same mistake the Israelites have been making when he got to be personally close with God? And did God give up on him afterward?
After thinking about it for a while it made sense to me. There are many times where we can walk away from our purpose and calling because it’s not easy or it doesn’t look right to us. There are also times where we might be tempted to seek out excuses instead of seeking out God, forgetting that it’s that closeness that guides and strengthens us on our journeys. When we lose that closeness with God it’s easy to see how we can make the same mistake as Gideon.
If you have seen any posts about relationships or marriage you’ll see that the discussion on intimacy is a common one. It is the necessity of staying close and connected to prevent drifting apart. In the same way I think Gideon, like the Israelites, forgot about their need for intimacy with God, and they drifted away. They forgot about God, like a husband or wife forgets about their spouse when they cheat, and a common excuse is that “we’ve just been so distant,” but to prevent distancing you have to keep working on your intimacy. From this perspective I feel that even if Gideon was connected with God, it’s no different from all of us, who hear from God, we can do great things with him by our sides. But we are also capable of turning away from him or allowing things to creep into our lives that distance us away from him. What we have to do is keep seeking him and if we find that we’ve grown distant we keep our eyes on God and let his love fill up that space.
As for whether God gave up on him after that, the answer is no. Have you heard from your pastors that God’s arms are always open and that it’s us who turn away? Or have you heard how we are always righteous in his eyes? If you haven’t but have been told you’re just a sinner in his eyes then I’m happy to tell you that that’s not true. When Gideon turned away from God, God did not turn away from him. Yes, trouble still came to his house but that’s because when you turn away from God, you turn away from the one who protects and comforts you, you turn away from light, and all that’s good. Therefore, what are you turning towards? A pastor once explained it to me that God never brings anything against us it’s simply a consequence of being in the world, turning away from God is like turning back to the world. However despite the things that happened to his family when Gideon died and the Israelites allowed his sons to be killed and his home to be disrespected God was angry. Why? Because he loved Gideon and still saw his worth, even if he ended his story badly God still saw the good.
I feel like so many people need to understand that God loves you and has amazing things planned for you, like he did Gideon and even if you mess up God doesn’t and won’t hate you, he is still on your side. No matter what you have done God still fights for you, his arms are still open for you to come whenever you are ready. So are you ready to go to him?