ODJ: deflecting praise

May 8, 2014 

READ: Judges 8:22-27 

Gideon replied, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son. The LORD will rule over you!” (v.23).

We often celebrate a victory by heaping accolades and awards on the winners. Last week the Christian radio station where I work received an award for media excellence and we have a trophy as a reminder of our outstanding efforts throughout the year.

Gideon returned from battle, having triumphed over the Midianites. The Israelites rushed to honour him, shouting, “Be our ruler! You and your son and your grandson will be our rulers, for you have rescued us from Midian.” But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son. The LORD will rule over you!” (Judges 8:22-23).

Gideon is a great example because he deflected the praise of a nation off himself and on to the true source of his victory: God. Gideon’s next request, however, led to the eventual downfall of his family and the entire nation of Israel: “I do have one request—that each of you give me an earring from the plunder you collected from your fallen enemies.” “Gladly!” they said. So “Gideon made a sacred ephod from the gold and put it in Ophrah, his hometown. But soon all the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshipping it and it became a trap for Gideon and his family” (vv.24-27). The ‘trophy’ was made for the nation of Israel as a symbol of the deliverance and the provision of God, but it became the object of their worship and a destructive snare.

Recently, a well known pastor’s wife declined an invitation to receive a life-time achievement award. At 75 she simply desired to seek God’s approval, not the approval of man. Like that woman, let’s be careful in the way we give and receive honour. As followers of Jesus, we need to seek the praise of God alone (John 12:43). —Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

Job 1:1-22 ‹365-day plan

Read Matthew 6:1-18, where Jesus gives us clear instructions on Christ-like giving, serving and prayer. 
How can deflecting praise be a form of false humility? Why is it important for us to seek the approval of God alone?