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The Parable of the Trees (1 of 15)
Series: The Parables of the Old Testament
This is a rough and tumble world that we enter when we open our Bibles to the Book of Judges. Men are a law to themselves, and the result is lawlessness and unrighteousness. Everything is on the heroic scale- mirth, sorrow, revenge, hate, murder, anger, love of country. Silhouetted against this dark background are strange and unforgettable characters who move across the stage of Israel to the music of strong passions: Shamgar, Gideon, Samson, Deborah, Jael, Jephthah, Jotham. Jotham speaks and is gone, but his message remains.
The bright day of Gideon's work for God and Israel had set in darkness and in gloom. The hero of the victory over the hosts of the Midianites had fallen a victim to the glory of that victory. Out of the golden earrings, pendants, crescents, chains, wristlets, and anklets taken from the fallen foe, Gideon made an ephod which was worshiped by Israel as an idol. ''And Gideon made an ephod even in Ophrah.''
''Even in Ophrah!''-as if the sacred chronicler would tell of his grief and surprise at the last end of Gideon. Where was Ophrah? It was beneath the oak at Ophrah that Gideon was beating out the grain to hide it from the Midianites, his heart burning with anger against the invaders, when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and cried, ''The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.'' It was in Ophrah that God called him. There the fire came forth to devour the offering on the rocks, and there Gideon pressed the fleece of wool together and wrung out the dew, a bowl full of water. ''Even in Ophrah!'' You would think that if Gideon were going to forget God and worship idols, he would have set up that idol anywhere save in Ophrah, with the great and holy memories of his youth.
Yet is not this what we often see in life, idols built in Ophrah? Take the man who has long ceased to name the name of God back to the church ...
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