9. IT IS NOT UNUSUAL FOR GOD TO TEST PEOPLE WITH WATER.
Judges 7:4 - "But the LORD said to Gideon, 'The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, "This one shall go with you," the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, "This one shall not go with you," the same shall not go.'"
God separated the 300 most-alert men to be Gideon's soldiers. They were the ones who didn't put their faces in the water while getting a drink. The water was a test, as is the case elsewhere in Scripture. Naaman was tested with water and he passed the test (cf. II Kings 5). New Testament baptism is a test that requires much water. Some pass the test by submitting to God's will; some don't (cf. Luke 7:29,30; Acts 2:38).
10. IF WE DON'T HELP THOSE WHO ARE FIGHTING ON THE LORD'S SIDE WHEN WE HAVE BOTH ABILITY & OPPORTUNITY, WE HELP THE ENEMY.
Judges 8:5,8 - "Then he said to the men of Succoth, 'Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.'...Then he went up from there to Penuel and spoke to them in the same way. And the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered."
Those who should have aided Gideon and his men were obstinate. They indirectly helped the enemy by their failure to help Gideon and his soldiers. Jesus once declared - "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad" (Matt. 12:30). We cannot be neutral or indifferent toward God's people. We must be actively for the Lord and His side!
11. TRUE LEADERS RECOGNIZE GOD'S PROPER PLACE AS RULER.
Judges 8:22,23 - "Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, 'Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.' But Gideon said to them, 'I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you.'"
Gideon shows his wisdom here. He knew whom Israel's real ruler was--the LORD! Is God the ruler of your life?
12. GODLY MEN SOMETIMES MAKE FOOLISH MISTAKES.
"Then Gideon said to them, 'I would like to make a request of you, that each of you would give me the earrings from his plunder.' For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites. So they answered, 'We will gladly give them.' And they spread out a garment, and each man threw into it the earrings from his plunder. Now the weight of gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camel's necks. Then Gideon made it into an ephod and set it up in his city, Ophrah. And all Israel played the harlot with it there. It became a snare to Gideon and to his house."There was no authority (or need) to create a special ephod (priestly garment). Gideon kept the people from worshipping Baal but made a poor choice here (cf. 8:33). Godly men are not immune to foolish mistakes.