Judges 8:1-3  Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this?  Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?”  And they criticised him sharply.  But he answered them, “What have I accomplished compared to you?  Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer?  God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands.  What was I able to do compared to you?”  At this, their resentment against him subsided.

Gideon is such an interesting and complex character, and there is so much for us to learn from God’s dealings with him.  God called him from an insignificant situation, equipped him with very limited, meagre human resources, and then achieved an impossible military victory through both his faithful, obedient submission and his own bravery and cunning.

He went on to lead God’s people in peace with great success for 40 years (28).  All this was achieved amid much criticism and active opposition (6:28-30; 8:4-6, 8, 35), mingled with weaknesses and UNgodly features in his own character (8:7, 9, 27, 29-31) with very UNhelpful consequences (especially with respect to Abimelech, the son of his concubine – chapter 9).  So his very complicated life story shows there is hope for any and all of us in God’s hands if we are but willing for him to work out his sovereign purposes in us!

But the particular thing I want to learn from all this is the humility Gideon displays in today’s verses.  In spite of his amazing personal achievements he was prepared to trivialise them in order to build up his Ephraimite critics and thus pour oil on what could have become very troubled waters for the future of tribal/family relationships.  For all his faults, Gideon was a humble, self-effacing PEACEMAKER,  exemplifying the ‘blessedness’ Jesus talks about in the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12).
– Bruce Christian