Fresh from living out his purpose in routing the warriors of Midian, Gideon is thrust into the position of diplomat. An intertribal argument awaits him before he has even rested:
Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have your treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” (Judges 8:1)
The Ephraimites are upset at missing an opportunity to increase their personal glory, indicating perhaps that the troubles that had separated Israel from God in the first place were still in need of attention in this Judges cycle. They had not only lost their perceived glory but a portion of the spoils of war as well. Sharp criticism draws a diplomatic response from Gideon. He placates their anger by alluding to their superior status in the tribal standings. They accept this as an apology and are quieted. We expect the familiar construct “and the land had peace for x years” but God is not finished yet.
Do people who look in on the internecine battles within God’s church see a similar situation? Does denomination A proclaim their superiority over church B, not in God’s glory but in their body count or the size of their fortress? Has God’s hand been forgotten in all things?