Judges: Day 9

Gideon Pursues the Kings of Midian

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Today's Text: Judges 8:1-35, Deuteronomy 20:5-8, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Scripture Reading: Judges 8:1-35, Deuteronomy 20:5-8, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Where did we get the idea that the battle should be easy? Why did we start calling the Christian life a “walk” when it is more like a war? After all, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12).

Yes, we’re the sheep of God’s flock (Psalm 95:7), the tiny chicks He tucks up under His wings (Psalm 91:4) and His dearly loved children (Ephesians 5:1). But these tender images don’t tell the whole story. We are warriors, enlisted for battle against an enemy bent on rebellion against God and the destruction of His image bearers. Truth, peace, faith, and salvation are standard issue armor for Christ’s followers (Ephesians 6:14-17). Why fit us for battle if we’ll never be expected to fight?

In Judges 8 we find Gideon serving as the general of God’s army. He’s already led the charge in a battle that left the enemy bleeding and scattered (Judges 7:19-25). From our view on the sidelines, we wouldn’t have faulted this band of brothers if they’d simply let the remaining rebels limp away toward the hills. Instead we find them in hot pursuit. The front of darkness had been pushed back, yet they knew the fighting was not over. They were worn out, battle weary, low on energy and strength, and yet they pursued because there was still an enemy at large.

These words from Gideon’s story have sunk deeply into my gut: “exhausted yet pursuing” (v.4, ESV). They jar me into remembering that for the army of God, the orders haven’t changed. Until Christ returns for us, there will always been skirmishes between flesh and blood, good and evil, light and darkness. There will be times when God’s strength will empower us to push back the front of darkness, but the enemy hasn’t yet raised the flag of surrender. And in the words of Bible teacher Kay Arthur, “There’s no retirement in the time of war.”

As long as our enemy is on the run and still gunning for the people of God, retirement isn’t an option. Though we may find ourselves weary and worn out from the battle, or celebrating a God-given victory, let us not sit back and rest on our laurels. Let us raise our swords and keep fighting.

Fighting for truth.
Fighting for hope.
Fighting for love.
Fighting to make the gospel known.

In other words, “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9). Until the Lord blasts His trumpet, signaling the final fall of our enemy, may He find us like Gideon’s army—exhausted yet pursuing, and empowered by the strength of our Savior, who “is the power and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24).

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Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

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  • Wow this hit me hard. Everyday the Lord provides us with armor to fight the enemy and yet I take it off and lay it to the side thinking I got this on my own. I allow the enemy to throw lies at me that the belt of truth protects me from. I discard my shield of faith and try to survive the flaming darts of the evil one in my own strength and I fail every time. I was exhausted yet I was not pursuing. I was ignoring the one who came to save me. The one who already fought my fight. The one who died for me. I forgot that He made me a warrior and that He is the one that strengthens me.

  • Wow. Thank your for these words.

  • Kristen Elizabeth

    Exhausted, yet pursuing. It’s only God-strength that can keep you going in a battle like this.

  • Emily Gates

    No words. Just grateful.

  • So so good today.

  • Marla Rickard

    Although I am behind in this study I am moving forward slowly and so thankful. The crazy battle our family has been living through for the past 11 years has beat us down. So grateful for the Word if God in which we cling to, and the perfect examples of His provisions and yet…we as humans still forget, when we take our eyes off of Him. May we all learn from the past and know the importance of truly living in His presence each and every day

  • Alex Weikel

    Exhausted yet pursuing sounds like my life. I’m struggling in so many areas and I’m exhausted. But I’m still pursuing God and his will. Lately my biggest struggle is with my job. I have told myself to keep pushing and it’s not working. I’m ready to quit but we are moving in 10months…

    • She Reads Truth

      Thanks for sharing Alex. We’ll be praying for continued encouragement and peace during this time for you. We’re grateful that you’re here! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • Lindsey Bailey

    Exhausted yet pursuing. Yes! Too many times, as a Christian, I have retreated when the going got tough. Closed doors, not God’s timing, not His will. Although at times, these cliche phrases can certainly be true. For me they have become a crutch. God can give breakthrough. There are absolutely those ‘suddenly’ moments in our lives. That’s our advantage as Christians. But, there are also times, God wants us to use the grit and determination, the discipline and long-suffering that He has given us as Christians. He has equipped us. He has given us armor. He didn’t give us the tools, so we could sit down, look cool in our shiny armor and do nothing. We need to stand in His power and fight. We have the advantage, but we have to fight.

  • Susan Crosby

    When we pursue the things of God He will give us the strength we need to do the things He has called us to do. For things outside of His will and purpose for our life we face exhaustion, indecision, lack of confidence but when we are faithful and obedient we can have strength, certainty and confidence. Another thing that Kay Arthur says is to keep on keeping on. God will provide the provisions for us to accomplish His will. We just need to be willing.

  • The only thing I have to say is WOW. I am glad will continue to take me back after all the times I will fall. Lord thank you for all you have done and being there for me. Amen.

  • Oh my goodness, how this devotional resounds in my heart! May I be empowered by the Spirit and the Truth of God’s Word to fight the fight until the trumpet sounds!

  • Janna Jackson

    God had delivered the Israelites from the Midianites and confirmed that he is the one true all powerful God. Even when Gideon doubted, God was patient and kept showing him that this was his plan. Yet after all that God had done, Gideon still built a gold idol for the Israelites to worship. Why do we so easily run back to idols or addictions when we have the one real source of truth and life? Our heart is desperately weekend. Daily we need to go before the throne of grace and keep short accounts with God.

  • Ann Duncan

    Love this line, “Though we may find ourselves weary and worn out from the battle, or celebrating a God-given victory, let us not sit back and rest on our laurels. Let us raise our swords and keep fighting.” Because Gideon didn’t quit and eventually his land knew peace and so will we. I love that God chose him and that he still struggled (vs. 27). I still have things that I wrestle with in this life, things I have to bring before God, but it doesn’t keep God from using me, so long as I keep bringing it before him and making myself available. Because we are, all of us, warriors.

  • Kristin L

    Yes! Love this rally call to fight! As long as we are on this Earth, we have a mission to complete, and the end goal isn’t out comfort, entertainment, or 401K.

  • Anna Damiano

    I had a different, much-needed perspective on this passage this time reading it:

    God did not choose Gideon for his faith – he needed reassurance FOUR TIMES before he would obey God. He didn’t choose him for his position, his courage, or his talents. And He didn’t choose Him for his humility or his righteousness – I mean, he took an offering of a bunch of gold to set up a big golden statue of himself, and even last chapter he told all the guys to say “For the Lord **and for Gideon.**”

    It’s so reassuring to me to know that God can call me no matter who I am or how I am, because lately I’ve been feeling pretty useless, like I’m not well suited for anything I could do for God. It’s almost like “If Gideon could do it, so can I.”

    But it has to be done for praise of God, not my own recognition. I guess when I feel useless it’s because I’m looking at my own abilities instead of God’s abilities. If I try to use my own strength for my own recognition, I’ll keep on being a nobody, quickly forgotten by the same people I helped. If I go in God’s strength for God’s recognition, He will reward me for eternity.

  • Sarah Powell

    I definitely feel like that old Twila Paris song “The Warrior is a Child” sometimes. Trying to keep all this armor on and keep fighting. Yes, I’m exhausted sometimes – sometimes it feels like all the time. I am thankful though, that just like Gideon, I’m not battling on my own, without help. Thanks be to God who has the victory! Who infuses me with His strength making me a contender for the faith. And I’m thankful for the army of community around me that fights with me and reminds me to get up and keep going and not give up doing good. New day today. New mercies. Fresh strength. Still pursuing and pushing back the enemy that will never prevail.

  • Kelly Chataine

    Speak hope! Speak love! Speak life!
    We focused on the battle that rages around us, and I have a fight that rages within me. One of the most potent lessons God has demonstrated for me is the importance of controlling my thoughts and words. Much of the battle takes place on these two fronts for me.
    God be glorified in all! God is worthy!

    • Carol M

      Kelly, your posts are so encouraging to me… I hear others, who are in similar circumstances, and I thank God for your heart, that is, by His grace, submissive to Him.

  • What a wonderful and perfect devotion to start this day. I’m like Kristine, “exhausted yet pursuing”. Students come back tomorrow. I teach high school and as I’ve said many times, “life is chaotic, but life with teenagers is like chaos on crack!” I am so thankful for this reminder that I am a warrior princess for God and right now my battlefield is my classroom. My students need me to fight for them.
    I pray for all of us, but especially for teachers, that we will remember that Almighty God, the God of angel armies, goes before us and stands behind us and is right beside us every minute of the day. My classroom is a battleground. Satan wants to do all he can to destroy my witness. But I have been given all I need to be victorious to “keep fighting for truth, for hope, for love, and to make the gospel known!”
    Be blessed precious warriors of God.

    • Patti

      Thank you for that, Kathy. I’m a kindergarten teacher. This year I feel “exhausted” in many areas. My team has 2 brand new teachers straight out of college. Patience. As I respectfully mentor them and direct their expectations. Compassion. For a 5 year old in my class who is child #13 in her family. Perseverance for all the challenges of teacher evaluations, student learning targets, expectations for student behavior, and just the day to day battleground that is life. Everyday I pray : “Jesus, let your light shine through me”

    • Laurie T

      So thankful for your word -especially for us teachers! Yes the classroom is looming but it is my battlefield for these minds and hearts of the next generation! —“….exhausted yet pursuing!” May our strength be in Him!

    • Robin W.

      ❤️

  • Kristine Loughman

    Exhausted yet persuing pretty much sums up my state of being right now – mothering, teaching, back to school… But let me not grow weary of doing good, of showing His love. Let me always be moving forward.

  • Churchmouse

    Gideon was the guy in the white hat. The Israelites had routed the enemy with trumpets and lighted pitchers. This was not conventional warfare so they knew this victory was not from themselves. I’m thinking, though they were “exhausted yet pursuing, ” they may have been a bit exhilarated as well. The high from this battle perhaps made them feel invincible. In this self congratulatory stance, they stumbled. They worshiped their plunder in the form of an ephod. It became a snare, a trap that drew them away from the One who had given them victory. They lived in peace for 40 years so this indiscretion surely was no big deal. Gideon dies at a ripe old age. This thresher of wheat turned warrior for God is then forgotten by the very people he led into victory. He had done such good for the nation but they showed his remaining family no kindness. This is a sad story. The Israelites continued on the downward spiral of sin – they became prostitutes to a foreign god. This is a tragic story. Yet Gideon is no failure. He responded to God’s call and he fulfilled God’s purpose. His personal legacy shines even though Israel descended into darkness. May I not look for recognition by others as much as I stand secure in integrity before my God. May I not look at my possessions, my plunder, as much as I am grateful for my God’s provision. May I give all glory to God for the victories in my life and may I not tolerate that which could become a trap to trip me up from fulfilling God’s purpose. Let me boast only in the Lord. Amen.

  • Yes, help me Lord. I can’t do battles without You. I want to be undone like Isaiah in the presence of a Holy God. I want to know the weight of my sin to be in awe of Your sacrifice and fall in love with You. Please change me into who You want me to be, Amen This link talks about falling in love with Jesus. https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2017/12/26/how-to-fall-in-love-with-jesus

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