The subject of last weekend’s sermon, Gideon, goes down as a hero of faith. But if you dig deep enough, you’ll find skeletons in his closet, things he’d probably rather hide from view if he could have.
First, there’s the skeleton of doubt. When the angel of the Lord came to Gideon and told him to enter into battle against the Midianites, Gideon doubted the angel and asked for a sign. Demanding proof isn’t exactly a hallmark of pure, childlike faith.
That was the beginning of his story. The end is much, much worse. The second skeleton is shameless idolatry. Gideon gave into pressure and made the equivalent of a golden calf. (It was a golden garment that priests wore.) He set up the garment for the people to admire, and they did more than admire it. “All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.” (Judges 8:27 NIV) Gideon’s unfaithful act was a huge blemish on his legacy.
Yet he’s remembered as a hero of faith. (Hebrews 11:32) Israel lived in peace for 40 years under Gideon’s leadership and he died “at a good old age,” (Judges 8:32 NIV) marks of a blessed leader. His memory is honored though his life was far from perfect.
Hebrews 11 honors him not because his military victories and good deeds outweighed his failures. The great Hall of Faith passage commends Gideon based on his faith.
Too often our guilty consciences want to condemn us because of our failures. But God doesn’t condemn us. (Romans 8:1) And it’s not because we’ve done more good than bad. That’s not God’s measuring stick. God loves and accepts us on account of faith in His one and only Son.
Faith clings to the mercy of Jesus. Faith trusts that Jesus’ death on the cross is sufficient payment for all of our sins. “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” (Romans 5:20 ESV)
None of can boast of a flawless legacy, not even the heroes of the Bible. But we can be at peace knowing that we have a perfect Savior whose grace covers all. As redeemed people, we are the legacy of Jesus’ saving work.