Seeking Peace through Self-Control
Have you ever done something good only to be blindsided by others questioning your motives? On the light side, what if you purchased some low fat strawberry ice cream for your spouse knowing she really likes it. Would you promptly, perhaps angrily, receive the question, “Do you think I am fat???” What you say next is the center of our examination involving the judge Gideon.
Led by the Spirit of God, Gideon called the Abiezrites (a clan of Mannaseh) and the men from the tribes Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali (Judges 6:34ff). Gideon gathered these men that they might go up against the Midianites and Amalekites as the Lord had commanded. Ultimately, all but 300 would be sent home that the power of God would be seen in the victory. When the enemy was fleeing, Gideon called upon Naphtali, Manasseh, Asher, and Ephraim to pursue. Ephraim in their efforts would capture the Midian princes Oreb and Zeeb.
It seems this event would end in praises to God and kind words for Gideon. Instead, Ephraim voiced anger at Gideon for not calling them when the battle was first initiated. Did they believe Gideon was motivated by a desire for glory? Was jealousy the motivation Ephraim demonstrated anger toward Gideon? Judges 8:1 shares that Ephraim took the actions of Gideon as a personal offence and “they accused him fiercely.”.
Gideon could have responded angrily to Ephraim. He could have said things he would have regretted. The situation could have been escalated. Often times, man chooses the wrong words (James 3:5-6). Instead, Gideon diminishes his accomplishments and praises Ephraim’s. He declares what he and his clan had done was not even comparable to Ephraim capturing Oreb and Zeeb. These words bring about peace. Ephraim’s anger subsides. Gideon demonstrated self-control.
The apostle Peter provides direction for our lives akin to that of Gideon: “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:10-11) In our interactions, we always have a choice as to what our action and words will be. We can seek peace through-self control or we can unleash a storm through rashness.