God led the Israelites to a great victory through a man named Gideon. It was done in such a way, by God’s direction, that no man could take the credit. Only God could be worshiped as He led Gideon to pare down his army from 33,000 men to 300 and win a victory against 120,000 men!

Handling Success

But here’s where the danger begins. Success is often more dangerous to deal with than failure. The spoils of victory became Gideon’s downfall.

The men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, 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.”

Yet Gideon said to them, “I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) They said, “We will surely give them.” So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels’ necks.

Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household (Judges 8:22-27 NASB).

Gideon’s Folly

Gideon made a foolish choice. He began to treat the spoils of war as if they were his own. All he wanted was the earrings—the smallest spoil—yet it became a snare.

And it led to worship. God described this as playing the harlot.

How does this apply to us?

If we are not careful, we can begin to worship our success. We talk about it, tell others about what has happened … parade it.

There is a fine line between testimony for God’s glory and bragging for our own. We can even disguise this in religious talk; but if we are not careful, it turns into worship. At that point, success becomes our god.

Only ONE accomplishes anything of value through us. And only ONE is to be worshipped.

Guard your heart against the lure of worshiping your success—even spiritual success. God will share His glory with no man!