Desperate Choice

Judges 9:7-15

7 When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. 8 One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’ “But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’ 10 “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’ 11 “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’ 12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’ 13 “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’

14 “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’ 15 “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’

Introduction

There is no such thing as perfect candidate. So, who should you vote at election? Someone said, “Choose the lesser evil! Compare credentials! Check their philosophies!”

We may choose the person we prefer but we cannot dictate how others decide. Nonetheless, we believe that all authorities are established by the Lord. So, whoever God allows to be elected, we should pray that He grants wisdom to them—elected officials in the government and in the church as well.

Previously, the son of Gideon with his concubine from Shechem, Abimelek eliminated his half-brothers. Jotham, the youngest son of Gideon, escaped but he shouted to those who crowned Abimelek after he heard what happened.

Jotham told them a parable of trees that were desperate to have their king.

1. Trees

7 When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. 8 One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’ “But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’ 10 “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’ 11 “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’ 12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’ 13 “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’

Why did God allow the sons of Gideon to be murdered except for Jotham? Did Gideon’s sons join the worship of Baal-Berith, the covenant god of people in Shechem? The Shechemites murdered Gideon’s sons to make it sure that nobody would oppose when they crowned their relative Abimelech as their king.

The Lord God may have allowed the youngest son of Gideon, Jotham to escape from being murdered by Abimelek because he might not have joined his brothers in the worship of Baal-Berith. Someone suggests that Jotham could have gathered men from his clans to avenge his brothers but he did not. Instead, he rebuked those who crowned Abimelek as king and pronounced the consequences of their wickedness.

In his parable, Jotham compared the attitude of Shechemites to trees that were very desperate to have a king for themselves. This lesson of rebuke to the people of Shechem serves as admonition to all who wish to do things outside the will of God.

Probably, Jotham was referring to cedar trees in his rebuke. Cedar trees are very prominent among other plants because of their height and long life. Yet, those cedar trees in Jotham’s parable desired to have someone ruling over them. They asked the olive tree, the fig tree, and then the vine to be their king. The olive tree, fig tree, and vine rejected to be king over the trees. They were created for special purposes not a king.

The olive tree has oil used to honor gods and humans. The fig tree has sweet fruit for food. The vine has wine used to cheer both gods and human.

The olive tree, fig tree, and vine are taken care of by their owner, whereas, the cedar trees can thrive without nobody taking care of them. But, when they grow huge and tall, they will be cut down for building purposes. Those cedar trees in Jotham’s parable bowed low to crown a king they hoped to save them from being cut down.

Similarly, Israel defeated their enemies like trees towering over other plants. But when they worshiped Baal-Berith, they were stricken with fear. Since Gideon has died, they became desperate to have a king to lead them in case enemies attack again.

Choosing a leader out of desperation is very dangerous move.

Desperation should prompt us to be more prayerful for right decision.

King David prayed in Psalm 142:6, 6Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.

David prayed when King Saul chased him. David was an expert soldier but he relied upon God for survival. God honored David’s dependence upon Him. God made him great king and mighty warrior. God gave David wisdom to defeat his enemies.

When we are in desperate situation, as a church or as an individual person, let’s remember that we can rely upon Christ as our Savior. Desperate situation can spark worry but it’s also another opportunity for us to trust Christ as our Lord.

Christ has solved the problem of death. Should we trust Christ less for our problems in our practical life? If Christ offers eternal life, does He ignore practical life?

The Shechemites were like the cedar trees that were desperate to have king. Abimelek, as king of the Shechemites, was like thornbush among cedar trees.

2. Thornbush

14 “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’ 15 “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’

A thornbush is far lower than cedar trees. It has nothing to offer but thorns. And, since the cedar trees pleaded to the thornbush as their king, they were required to bow down lower than the thornbush. The cedar trees sacrificed their prominent stature as the tallest among plants in their desperation to have a king that has lower stature.

It says in Proverbs 28:28, 28 When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.

After the people of Shechem crowned Abimelek as their king, Abimelek ruled over them for 3 years, and then, their king-subject relation went sour. Those who crowned him as king planned wicked things against him. Such turn of events happened as a rebuke about scheming things that are not within the boundary of God’s will.

Reconcile

The Lord has given us the ministry of reconciliation. Yet, this ministry has been misinterpreted that resulted to detrimental undesirable experiences in the church. To reconcile with brothers and sisters in Christ or in blood relation is a highly appreciated.

Reconciling with love ones is not the same as the ministry of reconciliation.

It says in 2 Corinthians 5:17-19, 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Does the message of reconciliation include a responsibility to reconcile and bring back to church disgruntled or disappointed individuals who left us? Should we spend precious time running after those who left the church when there are still others who haven’t heard the good news that we should spend time with?

This ministry of reconciliation is about reconciling non-believers to Jesus Christ.

How does Christ, the head of the church view someone who left the church? The local church is a body of Christ. When church members leave church, would Christ, the head of the church be happy about it? Do they belong to Christ’s body in the first place?

If those who left the church are genuine believers, we’ve nothing to worry about. Whatever reason they had, God caused them to go and to be used in another location.

Parable of the Prodigal Son

In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the younger son left his father and spent his inheritance recklessly. The father did not leave home. He did not spend much time searching for his son. He waited for his son to recognize his mistake. Why? Was the father not loving enough that he did not spend time looking for his lost son?

The father had other chores. He also took care of his first son who remained loyal to him. He was a loving father, for sure. He did not require any punishment when his prodigal son returned home. The tough experiences of the prodigal son were enough punishment for him. Interestingly, the prodigal son was very repentant.

It says in Luke 15:21, 21The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

Christ accepts repentant believers into His church. If former church members are repentant and wish to return, the church should be willing to accept them back into our fellowship. If they wish to become church members again, they would be willing to go through the process of membership acceptance again.

We should be more focused on bringing into the church fellowship new believers and not recycled ones. Recycled Christians with spiritual baggage can be thornbush.

Pray for our church leaders to decide according to God’s plan when deciding to accept returning church attendees and other matters that may involve decision-making.

Pray that more God-chosen leaders would accept the challenge of leadership.

Pray also for the coming election in Winnipeg. May God-chosen officials win!

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

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