Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How to Avoid the Traps of Success Part 3: The Recognition Trap

Gideon's success was astounding. Moving from fearful farmer to mighty warrior, he brought an end to pagan worship in Israel and defeated the Midianite army but his story does not have a happy ending.

"No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. They also failed to show kindness to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) for all the good things he had done for them." (Judges 8:33-35)

Gideon fell into the recognition trap. He took the gold earrings and had an ephod (a ceremonial garment) made as a memorial for this high achievement in life. He did not want to be forgotten.

In Genesis we learn of a group who wanted to be remembered. They tried to build a monument but God confused their language and scattered them. God does not share His glory!

Gideon demonstration that he had more money than he needed by commissioning this ephod made from the spoils of war. Some will use acts of conspicuous consumption for recognition – expensive cars, homes, jewelry. Some people will go into debt to show pretend wealth.

He was a hometown hero and put the ephod on the altar he built to the LORD. There are no stories of Gideon beyond this point. He would settle into a life of comfort and bask in the memories of past victories.

The choices Gideon made following his victory deviated from God's path only a little bit but the deviation put Israel on a path that took them far from God and, 40 years later, they had forgotten Gideon and his family.

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