A Glimpse of the Dark Side

The Story of Abimelech: Judges chapter 9

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Excerpt from Video:

Do we get the leaders we deserve?

Even if we are not tempted to this level of evil, the methods and machinations of an Abimelech are not absent in the church.

Do we sacrifice truth and integrity for our own ends, thinking the end justifies the means?  Do we ever sow division, do we play political games, or the tribal card of race, or party, “ Listen to me.  I’m one of you”  ?  Using people.  This first glimpse of a world without God sees people acting purely on the basis of self-interest; that is what Abimelech appeals to in  v2 “Which is better for you”- and they were inclined to follow him, because “He’s one of our lot”, “He’ll stand up for us”.  

I’m sure it is the same in all countries, but I grew up in  place where peope were voted into high office regardless of their abilities or ethics or morality, purely because they were of my creed or tradition.  And it led to festering bitterness and exploded eventually into violence.  Just like here.  And the violence is harsh and bloody.  

And yet, from beginning to end, God is at work.  Although his hand seems to be hidden amid the manipulation and machinations; amid the savagery and the slaughter, nothing is happening without his oversight.   He is there of course also in the voice of reason, the voice of Jotham speaking truth.  But when that voice is silenced he removes his restraining hand from the brakes.  In between verses 23 and 55, he is ‘actively passive’.   His people need to learn that left to their own devices, following their own path, they will destroy themselves.  

Do you have a problem with this God? If so, can I suggest we should have more of a problem with Abimelech and the Shechemites.  Often when we are tempted to accuse God of unfairness, we should be driven instead to examine our own hearts and attitudes and rather be impatient with our own hypocrisy and sin.  In Judges, He has already repeatedly shown himself to be patient and forgiving and gracious, willing to give his people chane after chance when they call to him for mercy.  When they don’t- they get an Abimelech.

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