Judges 8:33 says, “as soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and worshipped pagan gods.”  The wording almost makes it sound like the people were simply waiting for him to get out of the way so they could do what was always in their heart.  Gideon failed to establish any real lasting reform in the nation.

Someone once suggested that the true test of successful leadership is what happens when the leader moves on. If this is true, the Gideon was a failure.

Jackman suggests why Gideon failed. “Gideon was unable to change the heart of the nation because his own heart had not changed. When we first met him he was an idol worshiper; and although he did not apparently return to the cult of Baal, nevertheless the end of his life sees him barely holding on in a situation where the wheel has virtually turned full circle. It is the sad downward spiral of Judges, once again.”

It was not in Gideon’s heart. In many ways he continued to live his life as a worshipper of Baal while publicly professing to believe in Yahweh. Any such hypocrisy leads directly to failure. It might accomplish something on the outside but there is truly no substantial change.

In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception “that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior.” He goes on to say, “It is revival without reformation, without repentance.”

It seems like this describes Gideon’s judgeship. May God keep it from describing ours!