It’s obvious when you get to the end of Judges that everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes. But reading through the book a few weeks ago I noticed that the rot had set in with Samson when he asked his gather to get a Philistine wife, “for,” he said, “she is right in my eyes” (Jdg 14:3). The irony of Samson’s story was that he did the greatest good when his eyes had been put out.
But after listening to Bryan Chapell speaking today about Gideon, I wonder whether the rot had set in earlier. It doesn’t say that Gideon did what was right in his own eyes, but his ephod (Jdg 8) was a terrible snare to the people of God. His judgment was certainly faulty, and even though he refused kingship, calling on the people to acknowledge YHWH’s rule over them, his actions didn’t help commend this attitude to them.
Bryan stressed the importance of the preacher’s testimony in commending the message of Scripture. Perhaps Gideon illustrates what can happen when preachers fail to commend the message of Scripture wholeheartedly by their life.