“Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” And they challenged him vigorously.
But he answered them, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” At this, their resentment against him subsided.”
Have you ever stepped out in faith and been met with resistance from “friends” or others that either had less to risk or were too fearful to change?
I like what Matthew Henry’s commentary on this passage says:
“Those who will not attempt or venture anything in the cause of God, will be the most ready to censure and quarrel with such as are of a more zealous and enterprising spirit. And those who are the most backward to difficult services, will be the most angry not to have the credit of them. Gideon stands here as a great example of self-denial; and shows us that envy is best removed by humility. The Ephraimites had given vent to their passion in very wrong freedom of speech, a certain sign of a weak cause: reason runs low when chiding flies high.”
Rather than scolding or lashing out in kind at the Ephraimites, Gideon responds by deferring to their leadership among the tribes of Israel, totally diffusing their complaint. He knew what God had done in his life and for Israel through him, and that was enough.
Next time you hear from others that would criticize your reliance on God, meditate on these verses from Peter:
“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:5-6 NIV
“God, as I rely on You, please teach me to put You first, others second and myself last. When I’m tempted to respond with harsh words, give me words of humility or even silence instead. You are my rock. In Jesus name, amen.”