Our kids will be going to their annual Master Clubs Regional this weekend to practice some of the important things they have learned in church this year. Our goal, as always, has been to instruct children to serve God with the talents and gifts that He has given them. Regional is an amazing opportunity for these kids to work on their Bible knowledge, their skills at presenting God's Word to others, and to have fun while doing it. We are always busy at Master Clubs teaching children all sorts of things, but I ran across a quote this week that got me thinking: "When your actions contradict your words, your words don't mean anything."
Most of us are very familiar with the story of Gideon ... at least the majority of the story. God uses a very flawed man to lead a very small army against a very strong enemy ... and He does this to receive the glory! Most of the stories I have heard about Gideon stop after the people shout, "... The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon." (Judges 7:20).
But the story doesn't stop there. The Israelites pursue after two of the princes of Midian, capture them, and kill them; leaving just a small part of the story left. To finally bring an end to the Midianite's rule over Israel, Gideon takes his army through the land in pursuit of two more princes of Midian. He eventually catches them and ends Midian's reign, ushering in a 40 year span of peace (Judges 8:28).
Through this story, we see Gideon's faith increase. We see that Gideon did not stop till the job was done - he practiced obedience in full. We see him use wonderful leadership skills in the beginning of chapter 8, but we also see him use pretty poor leadership skills at the end of chapter 8.
After Gideon leads his men in the defeat of Midian, the Israelites say, "... Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian." Gideon gives a wonderful response: "... I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you." (Judges 8:22-23).
The problem with Gideon's response was that his actions contradicted his words and the people followed his example, not his "teaching." What Gideon said was that God will be your king. What Gideon showed was that he was their king.
In Judges 8:27, the Bible tells us that Gideon made an ephod in his city and, in effect, all the people went to worship it. In verse 31, Gideon has a son and names him Abimelech, which literally translates to "my father is king." Obviously, there were some things at the end of Gideon's life that did not match up with what he said.
While studying Judges, God reminded me that while I may think that kids are listening to what I'm saying, they are probably going to learn more from what I am showing them through my actions.
Written by Ryan Williamson