Bible Study Lesson — Judges 8:22-35
The study today is about wealth, power and worship. Gideon made an ephod (explained below) out of gold the people of Israel donated.
He, like many of us, became obsessed with wealth, which led to envy, which eventually led to idol worship.
But, Gideon did put God first when it came to choosing a leader.
The Ephod of Gideon
Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.”
But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.”
Yet Gideon said to them, “I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)
They said, “We will surely give them.” So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil.
The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels’ necks.
Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household. – Judges 8:22-27 NASB
What is an Ephod?
This was my first question when I read this Scripture so, as a curious person, I looked it up online.
Dictionary.Com® explains that an ephod is:
“a richly embroidered, apron like vestment having two shoulder straps and ornamental attachments for securing the breastplate, worn with a waistband by the high priest.”
The Ephod was Beautiful – But was It Worthy of Worship?
I picture this as something similar to what we would see a Roman soldier wearing for armor – only made of gold.
So, the ephod was probably a spectacular sight to the people, and I would suspect presented an icon of power and wealth.
There is nothing wrong with admiring something majestic and beautiful but the Israelites began to consider wealth the most important thing in their life, leading to later worship of idols – again.
The People Want a King
Although we are still in the middle of Judges, the people want Gideon as their king to rule over them.
As we know, this is not going to happen. This is a dark time for Israel with the root problem being sin.
There is a pattern – they fall away from God and get into trouble. They beg God to help and He sends a judge to lead them out. They fall away ..
It’s an endless pattern. We know the outcome – they didn’t.
“In those days Israel had no king: everyone did as he saw fit.” – Judges 17:6
Who’s in Charge?
There’s no doubt Gideon could have been king. And, many would say he deserved the title after leading Israel out of the hands of the Midianites.
But Gideon knew that this was not the time for a king. God was the ruler – he was the channel.
Gideon Followed God Till the End
This is what impresses me about Gideon. He never stopped putting God first in his life.
Gideon was a good leader – but he was also a good follower when it came to the Lord.
How about today? Do you put God first? Do I? Let’s work on it!
Love in Christ
If you would like to discover more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16 here.