Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.  Judges 8:28

The word forty is mentioned 146 times in the Bible. It represents a time of testing or trial. Moses, Elijah, and Jesus all fasted in the wilderness 40 days. In the book of Judges, 40 years of peace came after Othniel (3:11), Deborah (5:31), Gideon (8:28), and 80 years after Ehud. There is also a pattern. Israel forgot God’s goodness to them, they sinned and cried out to him in their distress “save us”. God sent a judge, they returned to God and lived in peace. When the judge died, they forgot God, sinned and cried out to God again. This happened over and over until the twelfth and final judge Samson, blinded and humbled, destroyed the Philistines and their temple by pushing apart the stone columns with them in it. Then God gave Israel the kings they wanted, first Saul, David, and Solomon and each reigned 40 years.

As we have soaked in the Old Testament narratives of Gideon this week, several points are worth making note of. There are more chapters and narrative about Gideon than any other judge. He is also the only judge to whom an angel speaks. The people sought to make him king and he lived like a king (8:26–27, 30, 32). In verse 23 he says the right things, but his actions show something different. His words give glory to God but his actions claim glory for himself. We are all like him in this respect. We claim for ourselves that which only God can give.

The judges delivered Israel from the consequences of their sin, but not the cause of it. God planned for them to live in peace in the Promise Land, but they were distracted, forgot and followed other passions they thought would satisfy. Isn’t that like individuals today, trying to find peace in so many other people, things and systems but they don’t deliver. There is only one source of true peace, it is in the person of Jesus. A person must receive the gift of forgiveness to restore a right relationship between their heart and God’s. Pray for the peace that only He can give through his son and only he can put in your heart. Pray for many to come to know the real peace in Jesus in our world today. Tell someone about the peace he brings you.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

By Donna Burns