Forgetting and Neglecting
“And the Sons of Israel did not remember Yahweh their God who had saved them from the hand of all of their enemies which surrounded them and they did not show faithfulness to the Sons of Jeruba’al (Gideon) for all of the good things which he did for Israel.”
We have spoken before about the Biblical importance of memory. When the people remember the good works of God they remain faithful. But when the people forget, they fall into sin. And we see this pattern showing up over and over to us in the scriptures and in church history.
But remembering is not just the intellectual recognition that an event took place; remembering also reflects a life that has been influenced by those events that took place in the hopes that we not repeat the same errors that brought us to the condition we were in. Yet, how often we as a church are also near-sighted and forget God’s work amongst us to deliver us from the evil that lurks in our midst.
And, too, how often people forget the faithfulness of those who served them well. Gideon was far from perfect as a leader, but he was God’s chosen tool to deliver the people from their oppressors. In the same vein, pastors and church leaders, too, are not perfect. Yet, if they are faithful to God’s calling, they are deserving of the respect of those they serve — “double-honor” to use Paul’s language in 1 Timothy 5:17-19. Yet, how often have there been times when, for a single misstep, congregations have turned on their pastors like a pack of angry dogs. Such is the way of sin.
Unlike what we have seen with the previous judges, we do not shift immediately into the next cycle of leadership. Instead, we see a cycle within Gideon’s own house, where the sons will vie for position in Israel’s leadership (remember our earlier discussion of Gideon wanting to pass down his role to his sons). And sadly, it will be Abimelech who rises to the forefront…God’s punishment on Gideon’s household for their sin and arguably even God’s punishment on Israel for their forgetting…