In 2003, Country music star Martina McBride released her song “This One’s for the Girls.” Well…for our devotional this week, this one’s for the guys. (Girls, you are certainly invited to participate in this as well! After all, you’ve heard the saying that behind every good man is a woman rolling her eyes.) This devotional is also serving as a promotion to encourage registrations for STEEL. This is a virtual father-son event [generally it’s for any guy] that will take place on Wednesday, May 6 at 7:00pm. It’s a LIVE event! You can register here.
One of my favorite books is Kingdom Man, by Tony Evans. Dr. Evans defines a Kingdom Man in this way: “A kingdom man is the kind of man that when his feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, ‘Oh crap, he’s up!’” The world needs more Kingdom Men.
In the book of Judges, we’re given a peak into a time in Israel’s history as they attempted to fully occupy the land God had promised to them. Although under Joshua’s leadership they had largely conquered and occupied the territory, there remained several Canaanite strongholds that proved to cause many problems for the Israelites. Over and over in the book of Judges we find Israel getting in trouble, losing battles, and taken captive. How did this happen? They had been so successful under Joshua’s leadership, so what changed? The answer is found in the last verse of the book of Judges: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” Israel was without leadership.
As Israel drifted away from the Lord time and time again, He would allow the Israelites to fall into the hands of their enemies. Victories were replaced with losses…and the winning streak under Joshua had come to an end. In their distress, Israel would cry out to the Lord for help. God would hear their plea and raise up a judge to lead them out of captivity. There are many of these judges in the Bible, but perhaps two of the most famous are Samson and Gideon. Of the 21 chapters in the book of Judges, one third of them focus on these two. (You can find the account of Samson in Judges 13-16. The account of Gideon is found in Judges 6-8.) Take some time to read these chapters as they relate to this devotional.
Let’s assume we don’t know anything about the outcomes of the book of Judges. Let’s pretend we’re meeting Samson and Gideon for the first time. Based on first impressions, we know that Samson was bold, confident, and the strongest man who ever lived. Gideon, on the other hand, was timid, a coward, and possessed very little self-confidence. Samson was always out in front…in the spotlight. Gideon was hiding from the enemy when we first meet him in the Bible. Samson was the life of the party. Everyone knew Samson! Gideon came from a family without any clout in town…and Gideon admitted that he was the weak link in his family. In other words, the lowest of the lowest.
So again, let’s assume we don’t know anything about the outcomes of the book of Judges.
- Which of the two would you pick for a game of pick-up ball?
- Which of the two would you hire in a job interview? Who would get the big promotion at work?
- Which of the two would you want to hang out with and be associated with?
- Which of the two would you select to lead your family into a battle over life and death?
- Which of the two would give your team the best chance to win?
Sure, Samson had a few big victories and his highlight reel is pretty impressive. But zoom in closer. Samson emotionally hurt many people, including his parents. He wasn’t a good husband either. He was a liar. He was hot-tempered, arrogant, and proud. He fought alone and failed to inspire others to march with him. When the chips were down, he choked. He was eventually enslaved and treated like an animal. Ultimately Samson, with both eyes gouged out, was crushed to death under the rubble of an idolatrous temple. Although it seems that he turned back to the Lord just before his death, his legacy is one of defeat.
Gideon, on the other hand, was humble and a team player. He never tried to take credit for success. He frequently beat the odds! He inspired people to successfully take on impossible tasks. Gideon led by example. Israel enjoyed peace for 40 years during Gideon’s term. He died of old age and was honored by family and friends at his funeral. He is remembered to this day as a winner.
So now that we have the full story, let’s re-ask the question: Who had the stronger purpose? The stronger courage? The stronger leadership? Who’d you pick? I’ll take Gideon.
Application: Simple this week, fellas! Register for STEEL.