Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you. (Jdg 8:22-23)
Wouldn't you like to be King? You could make everything RIGHT for a change! Yeah man, just give me all that power and I'll get it right! Fortunately most of us will never get that chance because if we did the power of the King would most likely be our downfall. If anyone had a right to claim Kingship, it would have to be Gideon. He was one of the heroes in the book of Judges that turned the tide against the enemies of Israel and the Israelites were so grateful that they were willing to let Gideon rule over them. How many of us would turn that offer down especially if we were the one who led the army to victory?
Gideon could have given any number of reasons why he didn't want to rule. He could have said that he didn't want the obligation, or that he didn't feel he could do a good job, or that he had other things to do, etc. But the reason Gideon gave was that it was not his position to rule. Gideon had been given a specific task to accomplish. He was called by God to lead an army against the enemies of Israel and that's all he was called to do. So, that's what he did. To go beyond that calling would be to act against the will of God. It wasn't Gideon's intent to make a name for himself or to gain power over others. In fact, Gideon was very reluctant. If you read Judges chapters six through eight you find that Gideon is one of the more hesitant heroes in the Bible. Time and again he is asking for a sign of some kind to get his courage up. Nevertheless, he got the job done.
There are a lot of good lessons from the story of Gideon. You can learn of God's patience with Gideon, putting up with his doubts and fears. You can learn how one man, empowered by God and acting in faith can accomplish great things. You can learn how God can accomplish His plans with only a small number of people and resources. The other important lesson to me is that you do what you have to do without any desire to get put up on a pedestal and praised for it. That attitude foreshadows what Jesus would do.
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. (Joh 5:30-31)
I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? (Joh 5:41-44)
When we are called to do the work of God the temptation is always there to expect some acknowledgement or reward from other people. After all, if what we say and do is from the Lord, then shouldn't we expect others to see it, recognize it and proclaim it? No. Because, it's not important what others think and say about us. It's very important what God thinks of us. Our reward and benefit comes from God alone in response to the act of obedience itself.
We always have to remember that God doesn't need us. He can with only a word change anything to conform to His desire. However, we would learn nothing from that. Man's fall begins with an act of disobedience. Man's redemption requires a return to obedience. This is another reason we are called to do God's work. It puts us to the test to see if we will be obedient to God's will without any consideration of the opinions and attitudes of others. Whom will you serve? Will you follow the commands of the Father with no concern for receiving honor of men? That's the test we must all pass.