“Why did God allow polygamy in the Old Testament?” I’ve heard that question many times. The truth is, it has always been sin, but at that time it was an acceptable sin by most people’s standards. What sin have you allowed to become acceptable?
Judges 9 & 10
Judges 9 & 10:
In Judges 8.30-31 we saw that Gideon fell into the sin of polygamy. Though it was tolerated in that society, it never was God’s intent. It always led to trouble and often outright evil as it did here in chapter 9. Sin always spirals downward unless repented of and forsaken. We meet Abimelech his son by another relationship (Gideon didn’t even marry this woman). Abimelech, not only conspired to become king of Shechem, but then went and killed all his brothers—70 of them—all except one who hid from him.
What is God saying to us through this story? What principles can we learn? Possibly about the dangers of compromise? If we trace this story back to 8.27, we see Gideon went from his great victory to making an ephod and setting it up in his hometown. An ephod generally referred to a sacred garment worn by a priest. Matthew Henry suggests this may have also included some kind of oracle to try to divine God’s will. Remember that the place of worship at this time was at Shiloh not here in Ophrah. The end of verse 27 says, “But soon all the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping it, and it became a trap for Gideon and his family.”
What’s your ephod?
Is there an area of your life, where you have allowed compromise to seep in? Is there some “ephod” you have created to remind yourself of a past victory that’s in danger of becoming an idol? Is there something that seems like “a little sin”—no big deal, that you are allowing to remain in your heart or life? Maybe it’s unforgiveness, envy, jealousy, covetousness, worry?
In reality, there are no “little sins”—just those at the top of that downward spiral of sin, those that perhaps are more acceptable socially. Worry isn’t even considered a sin by many, just as polygamy wasn’t by many in Gideon’s time, but look where it led!
The Judge of heaven and earth
Verse 1, “The Mighty One, God the LORD …” El, Elohim, Jehovah will one day come, not as the Savior, but as the Judge of heaven and earth (vv. 4, 6). When He does, He will gather His saints (v. 5), but it will be a day of judgment and wrath for those who do not belong to Him.
Until then He is drawing people to Himself and He has called us to be part of that process, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28.19-20). He doesn’t desire that anyone would be condemned. In fact, He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2.4).
True witnesses needed
Verse 25, “A true witness delivers souls ….” Are you being a true witness for the Lord? Each of us is called to deliver souls from that Day of Judgment.
The power of God for salvation
Luke 16.31 should be a great encouragement to us in our witnessing. When the rich man implored Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers, Abraham said, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”
Witnessing isn’t about us. We don’t have to have some great testimony, like being raised from the dead to go and warn them, or some great preaching ability, it’s about the all-sufficient Word of God. It’s the power of God for salvation. Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1.16).
What about you?
What keeps you from sharing your faith? Fear? Intimidation? Concern that someone won’t like you any more? The Bible calls that the fear of man? Is it not having the right answers? What is hindering you from being that faithful witness? If it’s lack of knowing how, there are many simple ways to do it. Learn one. Remember, it’s the Word of God, the Gospel, that is the power of God for salvation.
What sin have you allowed to become acceptable? Could you be sitting at the top of that downward spiral of sin? If you think you have it “under control,” you might be in more danger than you think (1 Cor. 10.12). Let’s pray for God’s help to be like the Apostle Paul who said, “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5.9).
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