The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us–you, your son and your grandson–because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.” (Judges 8:22-23, NIV)
You have to respect the heart of a man like Gideon who could have been made king, but realized that there was already one King who sat upon the throne that the Israelites needed to acknowledge with their hearts. It is easy to fall for the words and praise of those around us, but we would do wise to remember that there is already one King and His throne is not to be shared.
George Washington is often described as the “man who could have become king” or the “man who would not become king”. In the early years of our frail Republic we felt the need for a strong unifying leader, and George Washington was called upon to serve as our first president. The term president was initially chosen due in part to its humble tone; Washington was not to be a Chancellor, Emperor, Prime Minister, nor King, but more of a presiding officer. He could have become king, but instead resisted running for a 3rd term.
When King George III asked the American painter, Benjamin West, what Washington was gong to do after winning independence West replied, “They say he will return to his farm.”
“If he does that,” King George replied, “he will be the greatest man in the world.” And history records that is precisely what Washington did, returning to his beloved Virginia.
But George Washington’s motivations were different than those of Gideon. Washington knew that our democratic republic needed him to step away from office in order for America to stand up on her own and develop into the great nation that he knew it could become.
Gideon, on the other hand, was no framer or founding father, he was simply a man who knew his role and God’s authority. He could not take praise or position that belonged to God. Gideon knew that his victories, ALL OF HIS VICTORIES, were won by God and not by his hand. He could not become king, because God was already king…the problem was too many Israelites did not recognize that truth.
You and I may never have the chance to turn down becoming a king, but every day we have an opportunity to make God king of our lives. In both big and small decisions we either acknowledge His rule over our lives, or we deny his rightful reign.
A.W. Tozer wrote in The Knowledge of the Holy, “The mighty God, the maker of heaven and earth, will not be one of many treasures, not even the chief of treasures. He will be all in all or He will be nothing”. Today, decide to make God all in all and decide to let Him rule over you.