Gideon made the gold into a sacred ephod and put it on display in his hometown, Ophrah. All Israel prostituted itself there. Gideon and his family, too, were seduced by it. Judges 8:27 (MSG)
I love old family stories and history. However, I have a hard time comprehending some historical events in my contemporary brain. I don't get why my maternal great-grandfather would commit suicide on his son's birthday after being diagnosed with tuberculosis. I can't fathom it. I wonder at my paternal great-grandfather being so upset that he up and left both his family and homeland to emigrate to America by himself. Nor can I understand his mother not wanting him to return to see her when he offered to do so.
It's difficult to get our heads wrapped around the times and realities of family just a few generations back. How can we expect to fully understand the equally flawed humans who lived in the brutal, chaotic time of the Judges three thousand years ago?
And yet, there is a common thread of fallen man that connects us all. Gideon makes an altruistic refusal to be Israel's leader, telling them that God will be their leader. Good for you, Gideon. What spiritual maturity. What humility. What a guy. A few verses later I'm scratching my head as Gideon turned his spoils of war into a "sacred" ephod which becomes the center of idol worship.
I'm perplexed. But, should I be? The same sinful, hypocritical blood flows in my veins. How often do I do and say things that leave people scratching their heads? How often are my actions during the week incongruent with my words on Sunday?