Archive for the ‘Abimelech’ Category

Who do you go to?

Amazing how Tola didn’t merely “judge” Israel, like the previous judges did. He had to actually “save” Israel. And after reading about Abimelech’s dysfunctional reign which ended in civil war in yesterday’s chapter, it sounds like Israel really needed something more than just a judge. They needed a savior.

And without any other notation regarding Tola, he gets two verses for his quiet, uneventful, nation-saving reign. Abimelech on the other hand, the wicked murderous fellow he was gets the glory of the longest chapter in the book of Judges. Sounds like the same good guy:bad guy coverage ratio we have in today’s media!

But that’s not what really convicted me in today’s chapter of Judges 10.

It’s not difficult to miss the error of their ways.

  • Did evil
  • Served Baals
  • Served Ashtoreths
  • Served gods of Syria
  • Served gods of Sidon
  • Served gods of Moab
  • Served gods of the people of Ammon
  • Served gods of the Philistines
  • Did NOT serve the Lord Jehovah

And who do you suppose ended up being their oppressors? None other than the Philistines and Ammonites who they were trying to fit in with!

But they are driven to repentance and cry out to the Lord for forgiveness. And because the Lord could lno onger endure the misery of Israel, He set out to deliver them.

However, the most convicting part of the passage is in the last verse, the verse that serves as an introduction to chapter 11. Here, read it again…

And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin the fight against the people of Ammon? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

What do you suppose would have prevented them from asking God that question? Maybe they were a little skittish around God because of their past 18 years of poor behavior. Or perhaps they just weren’t used to going to Jehovah God. Or maybe they didn’t really think it would prove very helpful to ask Him.

I don’t know why they didn’t (and I’m sure in their minds, they had the perfect rationalization as to why they shouldn’t) disturb God with this question. But it drives home to me the question posted as the title: “Who do you go to for guidance?” “Who do you go to for help?” “Who do you go to to get clarity in an issue?”

For me, my sister-in-law is the one I probably go to most. And that’s not bad, but I desire to make 2008 a year where even before I go running off to her or my friends, that I meet up with God first.

Lord, whether I am trying to come out of the midst of chaos like the Gileadites, or just trying to get a to-do list for the day drawn up, oh incline my heart to You first. I want to sort out the quandaries of life with You first and foremost. Thank you for Your compassionate and patient heart.

Another Identity Chapter

I’d have to confess, this was a hard chapter to feel fed from. I mean, reading all of the dysfunction, and unhealth, and outright bondage contained in Judges 9…where is food in that?

But to me, I’m struck by the fact that I’m a child of Royalty, a daughter of the King. And if I can rest in that, be secure in that, I won’t go about behaving as a child in bondage (verse 18).

You’ll notice the dysfunction in Abimelech in more areas than just his murder. He manipulated his brothers, he was determined to get his way, had insufferable sibling rivalry, had someone else do his dirty work, hired worthless and reckless men, wanted to be “king” (notice it wasn’t merely a “judge”) of everyone, and everything he involved himself in seems to have ended in destruction, one way or another…including his suicidal death. Trying to manipulate even the way he died.

He was the son of bondage. And he remained in that bondage until the end.

Yet he was confronted with a turning point. It is as if his brother Jotham laid before him the right road to chose (yeah for Jotham to have the courage to even face the man who killed his 68 brothers). Notice how forward and forthright and thoughtful Jotham’s confrontation with Abimelech was. It seems so healthy, so bold.

It seems Jotham took after his liberating father, Gideon, while Abimelech continued in bondage.

And then just one last thought…it is interesting that in this chapter of chaos, evil, injustice and outright brutality, that the writer makes it clear, that God was still in charge. He isn’t wringing His hands in fear that Abimelech might thwart His ways. Everything is being worked out according to Love’s goodness!

Oh Father, I desire to take after You and live in Your liberating love. Help me to be as bold as Jotham and make amends where ever there is a need. And thank You for being so faithful to visit with me even through hard chapters like today’s.