“Then Gideon took the elders of the town and taught them a lesson, punishing them with thorns and briers from the wilderness. He also tore down the tower of Peniel and killed all the men in the town.” (Judges 8:16-17)
In this chapter, Gideon and his 300 men were chasing Zebah and Zalmunna, the two Midianite kings who only had 15,000 warriors out of 135,000 left. On their way, they stopped to ask for food from the elders at Succoth and Peniel, because they were exhausted. But both towns refused to give them food until they had captured the two kings. For this, Gideon said he would punish Succoth by thorns and briers and pull down Peniel’s tower, which both things he did after the victory. But he also killed all the men in the town of Peniel. After he did this, he killed the two Midianite kings. Once Midian was defeated, the people of Israel asked Gideon to be their ruler, but he refused, as he said the Lord is their ruler. This was Samuel’s response to the people too, but eventually the people had their way and got a king for themselves. Israel was never meant to have a king, because the Lord is their King.
Because Succoth and Peniel didn’t show hospitality to Gideon and his men, he punished them severely. Paul, in the New Testament, talks about showing hospitality. In fact, he says that it is a requirement of an elder, that he must enjoy having people in his home, being hospitable. As believers in Christ, we are a family, and as a family we are to show hospitality to eachother. I preached a series once on “the especially’s of God,” which there are 5 of them. One of them is that we would do good, especially to the family of believers. Jesus said that the world would know that He is real because of our love for one another. Part of showing love to eachother is showing hospitality and really caring for eachother’s needs, as a family would. If we can’t show love to eachother, how will we ever show love to the world?
“Lord, I pray You would help me love like You do, and walk as You did in this world. Forgive me for not showing hospitality to the family of believers, help Your church to love one another as You have loved us, that the world may know that You are real, and that they need You most of all in their lives- in Jesus’ name, amen.”
*Rom 12:9-13; Gal 6:10; 1 Tim 3:1-2