Scripture Read: Judges 9:4-6 . They gave him seventy pieces of silver from the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, and they followed him. Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself. All the men of Shechem and all Beth-millo assembled together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar which was in Shechem.
Application: Abimelech has maneuvered himself into becoming King. Remember, we have no comments on what these 70 descendants of Gideon were thinking about concerning becoming king themselves. This was all in Abimelech's vain imagination. This is a common trait in those that plot evil. The very evil they think others are planning is in reality at the heart of their plans.
He had them slain on one rock - this would be typical of either a sacrifice or a public execution. This kind of brutality was the norm in this day and the sin of polygamy exasperates the evil because there is no love lost when dealing with children that come from one father but raised by different mothers. The darkened heart will allow all kinds of evil to gain its desire! Consider:
* The murders of the 70 sons of Ahab by Jehu (2 Kings 10:7)
* The royal descendants of Judah by Athaliah (2 Kings 11:1)
* The house of Jeroboam by Baasha (1 Kings 15:29)
* The house of Baasha by Zimri (1 Kings 16:11, 12)
It is said that when Timour conquered Bagdad he made a pyramid of 90,000 human heads!
Caesar stated that it was safer to be one of Herod’s pigs, than one of his sons!
The brutality that the lust for power can breed is overwhelming.
Abimelech was also positioned well for the goal he had. His new home was Shechem, a very important location to Israel. Abraham traveled through it and it was there the Lord appeared to him.
Genesis 12:6–7 Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.
Joshua twice spoke to all of Israel in Shechem, reviewing the Law, the commands of Moses and challenging the nation to follow God. Joshua 8:30–35
Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, in Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the sons of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of uncut stones on which no man had wielded an iron tool; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings. He wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written, in the presence of the sons of Israel. All Israel with their elders and officers and their judges were standing on both sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, the stranger as well as the native. Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had given command at first to bless the people of Israel. Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them.
Joshua again speaks to the nation after they had conquered the land, this is the time that he stated his famous words on where he and his family would choose to stand. (Josh. 24:1-28)
The Truth that screams to us from this passage is how, if we choose to, we can manipulate circumstances to “make” the things we desire to happen. The tragic reality is that when we do that, we invite terrible consequences into our life. This is the difference “Faith” makes in a life. When we entrust ourselves to God and His plan, we do not have to “make” things happen. That is what the Flesh wants. As we will see, all involved here will have a tragic end, but let’s continue to consider how we approach life. If we claim we trust God and believe that He has a plan for us, how do we measure between our faith – which is an action step, versus manipulation of circumstances and maneuvering to see the result we want to come to fruition? It is a fine line I agree, however, it is a very important line. The key I have found in my walk with the Lord is what I pay attention to. When I pay attention to the outward circumstances, I find myself trying to control things that really are beyond my control. This is when I step out of faith and try to accomplish something in my flesh. If, on the other hand, I focus my attention on myself...am I right with the Lord, am I living in obedience to all I know, am I surrendered fully to God? This is when I live by faith. I am doing all I can do to make sure that I am where I should be with my God...now the rest is His responsibility. Whatever He desires for the outcome of any given situation, not only will He bring it about, He will prepare me to receive and rejoice in it. Even when the outcome is difficult, His grace will enable me to be content that I am remaining faithful to who I am...a child of God, desiring to follow Him.
Meditation Questions: “Let go and let God” sounds good, but is that real faith? Do you believe your actions are needed when it comes to being fully surrendered to God? Are you tempted to control circumstances? How do you deal with that? How hard is yielding to God for you? Why? After you have seen something in your life come to completion, do you take a moment to evaluate how it happened? Faith or flesh? How do you tell the difference?