Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Judges 8:4-6 (NIV)
Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it. He said to the men of Sukkoth, “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” But the officials of Sukkoth said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?”
Judges 8:4-6 (MSG)
Gideon and his three hundred arrived at the Jordan and crossed over. They were bone-tired but still pressing the pursuit. He asked the men of Succoth, “Please, give me some loaves of bread for my troops I have with me. They’re worn out, and I’m hot on the trail of Zebah and Zalmunna, the Midianite kings.” But the leaders in Succoth said, “You’re on a wild goose chase; why should we help you on a fool’s errand?”
“So Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over [the river], he and the three hundred men who were with him—exhausted, yet [still] pursuing [the enemy]. He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who are following me since they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.” But the leaders of Succoth said, “Are Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give bread to your army?” -AMPLIFIED
Gideon had been faced with some tough situations already, but now he was faced with another. He and his troops were in need of some help and moral support; yet they did not receive it. We all know that remaining strong and steadfast when others do not believe in us is a difficult place to be.
Gideon and his men had been up all night. They had confronted the enemy and put them to flight; while they gave chase. Now, Scripture tells us, they were hungry and exhausted. Gideon and his army approach Sukkoth, people who would be from the tribe of Gad, their fellow Israelites; they answer they received was not exactly what they expected though. The leaders of Sukkoth said, “Have you already chopped off the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna that we should go to the trouble of feeding your army?” -(VOICE)
Hospitality was one of the basic laws traditions of Eastern cultures. This conventional tradition was an unspoken law that demanded people meet the needs of strangers as well as relatives. It basically said that if there was someone in need of food, water or shelter that whomever was approached must fill that need. Yet these leaders of Sukkoth turned Gideon and his men away.
Gideon’s response to their rejection was harsh, but truly a warning. Gideon knew what God had told him. Gideon was holding fast to that promise and he was not going to let anyone else’s doubt sway him from his mission. Gideon’s response to the leaders of Sukkoth was this, “All right, then. When the Eternal has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hands, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and thistles.” -Judges 8:7 (VOICE)
This doubt in Gideon and his men did not stop at Sukkoth though. Gideon and army traveled 6 miles to the east and approached Peniel with the same request for food. Once again they were met with negatively and rejection. His response to their rejection was this, “When I return here victorious, I will tear down your tower!” -Judges 8:9 (VOICE)
Here is Gideon on a mission for the Lord, called personally by God, having good results once he got passed his own insecurities and yet the very people who should have been supporting him are now doubting him. That is very discouraging. Gideon could have been swayed by their attitude. He could have very well been influenced by their negativity and wavered from the mission that the Lord had st him to do. Thankfully he did not. Tired, hungry and maybe even a little discouraged he pressed on and in the end God gave him a great victory.
Gideon and his small army pursued Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian, and he captured them. Scripture tells us that the armies of Zebah and Zalmunna were terrified of Gideon and his men. (We need to remember that the Lord was fighting for Israel.)
Do not let others doubt in you sway or detour you from accomplishing what God has called you to do for Him. Do not let the doubters cause you to stumble.
* “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:14(NIV)
* “May we never tire of doing what is good and right before our Lord because in His season we shall bring in a great harvest if we can just persist.” -Galatians 6:9 (VOICE)
Lord, let my ears be in tune to you always. When the doubters and nay-sayers try to sway me from what you have specifically called me to do for you, let me remain true to you. Help me not to become discouraged when it appears that everything is against me. I do need those reminders to press on, to keep on and to remain true to you and the high calling that you have placed on my life. I am so glad that you are always with me, Lord. Thank you!