Remember, the book of Judges is the story of the inconsistency of the Israelites and the permissive lifestyle in which they lived. Looking around at their neighbors, they were attracted to the bright lights and pleasures, and the possessions and wealth of their neighbors. Instead of living a life of holiness, righteousness, and spiritual separation, the Israelites began to compromise with their neighbors and live the very same permissive lifestyle as the unbelievers who surrounded them. They gave in to the immoral, covetous, and idolatrous ways of the Canaanites, even to the point of intermarrying with them. And once intermarriage took place, it was just a short step to serving and worshipping the false gods of the Canaanites.
This compromising, permissive lifestyle even had a significant impact upon Gideon, influencing him greatly. Despite the wonderful growth and victorious faith experienced by Gideon, he too began to demonstrate a heart that was not pure toward God, and a life that was not totally committed to Him. Tragically, as Gideon aged — from this point on until his death — he slipped more and more into the permissive, wicked lifestyle of his unbelieving neighbors. He compromised more and more until by the time of his death he became an utter disgrace to the holiness demanded by God. He had rejected the throne, but he had lived like a king: requesting wealth from the people, securing a large harem and family, acquiring the royal, purple robes worn by kings and making an ephod, a breastplate to be worn only by the priests. Gideon did not exalt himself to be king, but he lived like a king. The permissive, compromising life he lived up until his death is clearly spelled out by Scripture. Gideon had become a man who, like the world around him, had an inconsistent testimony and witness.
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