God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that. ~Judges 8:3
How do you react when someone is unexpectedly angry with you and lets off a barrage of criticism, inflammatory language, and angry words? I think, sadly, most of us might tend to react in like kind. In those tense seconds after we have been verbally attacked, we must decide if we will react with similar anger or seek peace with the other person. Gideon gives us a great example of how to appropriately respond.
We see the conquering.
“And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan." Gideon called on the men of Ephraim to help him fight against the Midianites. He made a wise choice in calling them. They took the two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb, and slew them. The men of Ephraim were men of war and were well-suited to get the job done. By calling on the men of Ephraim, Gideon gained great advantage in his battle against the Midianites. A key thought for us is that when you involve someone to help, always enlist people who can get the job done effectively. Managers do things right: leaders do the right things.
We see the complaint.
“And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.” The men of Ephraim were greatly angered that they were not enlisted earlier to help. They felt like Gideon’s decision to enlist them when he did was an afterthought. They felt disrespected and insulted. They were strongly violent towards Gideon. "An angry man stirreth up strife." They were angry. They wanted to fight with Gideon. They didn’t approach him with civility and reasonableness. An angry person does not come to you with reason. His goal is to let you have it and make you feel beaten down.
We see the carefulness.
“And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you?” Gideon was complimentary in his response. He praised them for what they accomplished. Gideon was comparative. He asked, “What was I able to do in comparison to you?” He told them that Oreb and Zeeb would not have been defeated without their assistance. He was acknowledging his weakness in comparison to their strength. He carefully spoke to them. His words were like apples of gold in pictures of silver. The timing and tenderness of our words will gain a friend or make an enemy.
We see the calming.
“Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that." Gideon was able to calm them down and get them to be more reasonable in their thinking. "A soft answer turneth away wrath." Had Gideon reacted back with incendiary words, he would have had two battles on his hands. Be wise and discerning with your words. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." The right words at the right moment will result in the right outcome.
Have a courteous God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Job 1-4