“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.”
Judges 8:22, 23
God used Gideon in a powerful way to lead Israel to victory over the Midianites and Amalekites. You will remember that the Lord first reduced the size of his army from thirty-two thousand to three hundred. Then God demonstrated His ability to defeat His enemies, whether through many or through few. Afterwards, the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule thou over us.” Gideon replied by saying that neither he nor his sons would rule over them, but “the LORD shall rule over you.” The gratitude and admiration of the Israelites moved them to try to elevate Gideon from being a judge to establishing him and his family as the royal dynasty. As we know, Israel later demanded a king because they did not want God to reign over them. They wanted a king like the rest of the world.
In this case, Gideon refused their offer. He was willing to act as a judge, but the Lord alone was to be the King of Israel. Israel was not to be governed by a king but was a theocracy, governed by God. Gideon demonstrated a spirit of humility and a commitment to God’s ways when he refused the position of king. Lesser men would
have jumped at the opportunity.
God certainly uses men in positions of leadership. I am thankful for the ways God has helped me and guided me through the capable leadership of those He has placed over me at various times. We see this principle of human leadership in the home, the government, and the church. However, people should not be in those positions because they have an ambition to rule over people or tell people what to do. Rather, people should be in those positions because they know God has placed them there and they humbly serve in that capacity. There is something prideful when a man wants to rule over others.
Rather than personally ruling over people, we, like Gideon, want to see the Lord ruling over the lives of His people. Those we serve and lead are not to be our subjects, but they are the subjects of King Jesus. We should be loyal to those in authority over us, but our primary allegiance is to our Savior. He is our King.