Animosity Against Abimelek

Judges 9:22-29

22After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, 23God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek. 24God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers. 25 In opposition to him these citizens of Shechem set men on the hilltops to ambush and rob everyone who passed by, and this was reported to Abimelek.

26Now Gaal son of Ebed moved with his clan into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him. 27After they had gone out into the fields and gathered the grapes and trodden them, they held a festival in the temple of their god. While they were eating and drinking, they cursed Abimelek. 28Then Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelek, and why should we Shechemites be subject to him? Isn’t he Jerub-Baal’s son, and isn’t Zebul his deputy? Serve the family of Hamor, Shechem’s father! Why should we serve Abimelek? 29If only this people were under my command! Then I would get rid of him. I would say to Abimelek, ‘Call out your whole army!’”

Introduction

We love to sing, “God is good!” And, we expect God to bless us with pleasant and good things. For sure every good thing comes from God. But God has ordained not only good but also unpleasant situations to accomplish His purposes.

It says in Ecclesiastes 7:14, 14When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.

All created things have unique identity. God created opposing nature. We’ve got night and day, hot summer and cold winter, stormy and fine weather. Can you agree that God created good and bad situations? Good situations remind us that God’s will is really good. In contrast, unpleasant situations remind us of unpleasant punishment for things done against God’s will so that we may avoid things outside His will.

For pleasant things, we can agree that it is God’s will. But, can we agree that it’s God’s will to make unpleasant things purposely? Why does God allow bad things when it is not His will? Although God makes both bad and good things, when we talk of good things within God’s will, we pertain to things that are acceptable in God’s kingdom.

And, God may ordain bad things to accomplish His purposes. We may conclude unpleasant situations as bad but with God, they are good instruments to fulfill His plan.

1. God

22After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, 23God stirred up animosity  between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek. 24God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers. 25 In opposition to him these citizens of Shechem set men on the hilltops to ambush and rob everyone who passed by, and this was reported to Abimelek.

In the original manuscript, the phrase, ‘God stirred up animosity’ was translated ‘God sent evil spirit.’ The evil spirit sent caused hatred between Abimelek and the people of Shechem. God provoked hostility between Abimelek and the Shechemites to avenge the death of Gideon’s sons. God punished them for their crime.

King Saul

When King Saul disobeyed the Lord, the Lord punished him with evil spirit.

It says in 1 Samuel 16:14, 14Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.

It also says in 1 Samuel 16:23, 23Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

It was not mentioned how the evil spirit tormented King Saul but he found relief whenever David played the harp. Why was David chosen to play harp for King Saul?

Did God design such opportunity for David to have close friendship with the son of King Saul, Jonathan? Was it God’s way of teaching David about punishment for disobedience? Did God ordain that situation for David to closely observe how to be a great king? Was it God’s strategy to prepare David to be the greatest king of Israel?

Previously, David killed the giant Goliath. Then, an evil spirit confused King Saul, and he was envious of David. It says in 1 Samuel 18:10-11, 10The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

David did nothing against King Saul but he wanted to harm David because an evil spirit from the Lord confused his mindset. Have you been in a situation when you do the will of God but others would not like what you did?

What should we do when others just cannot appreciate the ministry we do?

It reminds us in Romans 12:17, 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.

David did not retaliate against King Saul. He waited for God to bring justice to the animosity of King Saul toward him. When God allows difficulties in life, God may have been testing, training and building our character appropriated to the assignment He has prepared for us to do or to accomplish.

When Abimelek and the people of Shechem killed the sons of Gideon, nobody from the clan of Gideon retaliated. Jotham the youngest son of Gideon escaped after he predicted what happened. And, God raised Gaal to incite rebellion against Abimelek.

2. Gaal

26Now Gaal son of Ebed moved with his clan into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him. 27After they had gone out into the fields and gathered the grapes and trodden them, they held a festival in the temple of their god. While they were eating and drinking, they cursed Abimelek. 28Then Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelek, and why should we Shechemites be subject to him? Isn’t he Jerub-Baal’s son, and isn’t Zebul his deputy? Serve the family of Hamor, Shechem’s father! Why should we serve Abimelek? 29If only this people were under my command! Then I would get rid of him. I would say to Abimelek, ‘Call out your whole army!’”

The name ‘Gaal’ means to abhor, fail, loathe, detest, or reject.

When Gaal moved with his clan into Shechem, their lifestyle may have been very attractive to the people of Shechem. Gaal and his clan may have loved to hold harvest festivals. During festivals, they may have invited the Shechemites and offered food and drink abundantly. Abundant free food and free drink are attractive to many people.

So, when everyone got drunk, Abimelek was their topic. Gaal may have learned that Abimelek was Gideon’s son with his concubine. So, just as his name Gaal means to abhor or reject, Gaal rejected Abimelek as king. He presented himself as the better leader. The Shechemites did not know that they were just manipulated by Gaal.

Abimelek became king in connivance with the people Shechem. The same people of Shechem who helped him, conspired with Gaal to end his kingship.

Violent or undesirable personalities were instrumental to the accomplishment of God’s purposes. When God wanted to discipline the Israelites, He would send other nations to invade them. He sent deceiving spirit when King Ahab rejected His prophets.

Prophet Micaiah

King Ahab did not like Prophet Micaiah for prophesying against him. Ahab was one of the most evil kings of Israel. Prophet Micaiah warned Ahab in 1 Kings 22:19-22. 19Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. 20And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that. 

21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’

22 “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. “‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’ 23 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”

The false prophets surrounding King Ahab agreed to prophesy victory for Him. They unanimously encouraged King Ahab to go to battle in Ramoth Gilead. King Ahab disguised himself as an ordinary soldier but someone randomly shot his bow and arrow and hit King Ahab between the sections of his armor. He died eventually.

Unbelievers may think such random death of King Ahab as accidental. Believers trust that every situation, good or bad, happened according to God’s purposes.

There are many instances that we may not expect to happen. We plan for one thing but an outcome is not what we wished to happen. In church setting, leaders may do the best possible strategy that comes to their mind but others may not agree. Still, others may even do unpleasant or unacceptable things to oppose church leaders.

In your personal life, your purposes may be good in your opinion but still you are misunderstood or people would just malign you or be hostile to you. What should we do in such situation? How should we deal with people who are impossible to deal with?

It teaches us in 1 Peter 3:9, 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

We are called to bless not to curse. We inherit God’s blessing when we bless.

We normally hear people say, “Yeah! It’s easier said than done!”

Exactly! It’s true! Why? It’s godly instruction, and we need God’s help to obey it.

And, we can never live in Christian lifestyle without the help of Christ.

There are great results of repaying evil with blessing–we inherit blessing, we testify about Christ’s work in our, we also earn our eternal treasures, and God will certainly reward us with blessing or supreme happiness.

Have you experienced animosity from other people lately? Praise God!

You are given an opportunity to inherit blessing or supreme happiness!

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

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