Friday, 6th January 2023
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-3 The Life of the Tree of Life
Is our life really in the guidance of God? Is our life surrendering in God’s plan for us? The people of Ephraim were angry at Gideon for excluding them, but Gideon responded humbly. He knew everything he did was by God’s Grace, and was able to let the anger of the people of Ephraim subside. God wants to see us live in harmony with our brothers and sisters, and when we live under the fragrance of the Tree of Life, to humble, to obey, to deny ourselves and to benefit others.
Section Two V4-21 The Life of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
When Gideon came to the Jordan, he and the three hundred men who were with him crossed over, exhausted but still in pursuit. After Gideon received the victory, he thought he knew what to do next, and he stopped seeking God. He took the same three hundred people and thought they could receive the victory again, but when they entered this ‘doing’ mode, they started to feel exhausted but they still wanted to use their own strength to fight. We often look back in our lives, and we tend to do what we used to do before. But instead of always going back to God, we started to use our own strength. We thought by following the same method we could do the same thing and achieve the same goal. We no longer see God but only ourselves.
When Gideon was living under the Tree of Life, he was able to make peace with Ephraim. But when he was living under the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he was in his ‘doing’ mode, and he made enemies with the people of Succoth and men of Penuel. It’s easy for us to see the people against us, but it’s not easy to see our own problems. We strive to work hard, and we thought we are fighting for God, but we did not see the bitter root within our lives.
Gideon continued to live in his ‘doing’ mode, he destroyed the cities of Succoth and Penuel, killed their elders, and in front of the people, he was revealing his own strength. In the past, he was testifying the strength of God, but when he continued to stay under the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he was showing off his own strength. We were willing to let go of everything and follow God in the past, but gradually, we forgot about the first love an became prideful again. Where is our faith? Where is God in our lives?
Section Three V22-35 Snares in the Confusion
Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; 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.” God appointed Judges to manage the people, but Gideon did not take this authority. He was trying to act out his humility, but he still instructed the people to build a golden ephod and sinned against God. We are all given jobs and positions in our lives and in our church, do we take the responsibilities of what we are appointed to do? Or do we look down on what is given to us?
Gideon has forgotten about the life under the Tree of Life, he became selfish, he only looked at his own family, and he stopped taking up his appointed authority. Gideon’s family became the target of people after he died, and his life did not glorify God at the end. God called us today not just to deal with our own problems or to focus on our own family. God wants us to be raised up as leaders, to manage the land and to lead others to God. We must stop seeking the flesh desires of this world, and stop going back into our caves. When we walk under the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, then we will go back to our caves and our comfort zones. Let us see God leading us and let us follow Him wholeheartedly until the end.
士师记 8 – 人的生命怎样脱离神
V7-9 基甸的肉体需要没有得着满足，于是他就对疏割人和毗努伊勒人愤怒留下狠话。我们可能看到疏割人和毗努伊勒人这样回应基甸就论断他们见死不救, 其实问题不是出在那两个支派的人身。面对以法莲支派，基甸化干戈为玉帛，带下合一；然而，当他活在分辨善恶树下时，他带下的是负面、分裂，让别人都不想跟随他。我们是否不愿意休息、也不让我们所带领的人休息、取易不取难，于是带下疲乏，让人都不喜欢跟随我们？
V27 神明确说过我们不能造偶像，但基甸却做了一个以弗得 。以弗得本来代表神同在，如今基甸想让“神同在”只在他自己的城里而不在乎以色列十二支派。基甸只想自己的家好就满足了，不理会其他人的死活。我们蒙召，不是只处理自己的问题，而是能够处理人的问题。