Bible Study Lesson — Judges 8:1-21
In this episode, Gideon is once again challenged – not so much by the force of his enemies, Zebah and Zalmunna but by the refusal of people to help him and his army.
In earlier chapters, we saw Gideon as weak and without much faith.
Now he is a strong and zealous follower of God.
Let’s examine a few verses from Judges and see what happens next.
Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing.
He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who are following me, for they are weary, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”
The leaders of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give bread to your army?”
Gideon said, “All right, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will thrash your bodies with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.”
He went up from there to Penuel and spoke similarly to them; and the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered.
So he spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, “When I return safely, I will tear down this tower.” – Judges 8:4-9 NASB
Succoth and Peniel
Why did the people of Succoth and Peniel refuse to give food to an army sworn to protect them?
Let’s look at the facts. Midian is on the run. He has only 15,000 soldiers left.
Only 15,000? Remember that God had cut Gideon’s army to 300 so Midian had 14,700 more men than Gideon. It’s no wonder the leaders of Succoth and Peniel were afraid to aid a man with so little means to fight a major opposition.
They were afraid that Midian would turn and destroy this little group of men. I would probably feel the same way at such overwhelming odds, wouldn’t you?
The One Thing They Forgot
It seems that the major battle of Gideon vs. the Midianites was all but forgotten when fear crept into the hearts and minds of Succoth and Peniel. And, they would pay the price for their faithlessness.
Even though Gideon only had 300 in his army he had already defeated the major part of the Midian forces.
Or Did He?
I said Gideon, but in reality it was God who was victorious. Gideon was only the tool used by His mighty hand. Yes, the war did require some skills and the element of surprise but God controlled the outcome.
No one in his right mind would reduce an army from 32,000 down to 300 without tremendous faith.
Those who refused to help did not trust that God would be victorious – a big mistake!
Faith of Gideon
This is a man who started out with little faith. But, once he believed that God could work outside the realm of human thinking, he jumped in and remained focused on the task at hand.
Succoth and Peniel failed to recognize that God was at work and refused to join Gideon in victory – so they resigned themselves to failure.
We need to watch for those working for God and join in to help when we are needed. The work is going to get done whether we are involved or not so why not lend support to those who are engaged in the mission?
There is someone who is involved with a big project right now who needs your gifts and prayer. Do something to help them along.
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.
Read Today’s Passage Here:
New American Standard Bible
New King James Version