April 2, 2017. Judges 8-9.
A great lesson on how to deal with people that hate you for doing the right thing can be learned from this narration of God’s leading in the life of Gideon. After a rout against the Midianites, it seems there was jealousy among the other tribes in the Nation of Israel towards Gideon and his family. Throughout Gideon’s life, he fought for Israel and honored God, but it seemed every good thing that he did was misconstrued, twisted towards evil, or at the very least, unappreciated.
8:1 But the tribal leaders of Ephraim were violently angry with Gideon. “Why didn’t you send for us when you first went out to fight the Midianites?” they demanded.
8:35 Nor did they show any kindness to the family of Gideon despite all he had done for them.
Has that ever happened to you? You did what God led you to do, you did something good, and the next thing you know, someone is mad at you and flinging accusations or slander. What in the world? How does that even happen when all you were trying to do was help?
Abuse, criticism, and opposition towards Gideon came from his friends and culture, and from strangers as well. Keep reading chapter 8 and see how the leaders of two different cities gave pitiful excuses for refusing to help Gideon and his men. In the end, Gideon wins, and those in opposition to him would fall.
Gideon’s life offers lessons to help you to deal with people that are angry with you, in opposition to you, hostile towards you, and critics of what God is leading you to do. One thing that Gideon did was to help his fellow countrymen to see God’s working in their own lives (Judges 8:2-3). Once they were able to see that, they calmed down and were happy with Gideon. Help other people, especially your critics, to see themselves as God does, and to see what God is doing in and around them.
What about when your cause is good and your need for help is real and obvious, but people refuse to help you; what do you do? That happened to Gideon also. When people will not help you, rest assured that if God is leading you, He will always help you. That is what Gideon and his men experienced.
Gideon is dead by the end of chapter 8, but notice this commentary of his life’s efforts:
8:28 That is the true account of how Midian was subdued by Israel. Midian never recovered, and the land was at peace for forty years—all during Gideon’s lifetime.
The enemy never recovered. The land was at peace for 40 years during Gideon’s lifetime. Pretty nice rewards, even if none of his peers appreciated him or recognized the value of his work and sacrifice. Who cares what others say and think about you – continue to do right and follow God. The rewards from God, like defeated enemies and peace in your land, are priceless. BTW - Gideon’s family enjoyed that peace as well.