Human Inclination

Judges 9:1-6

1 Abimelek son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother’s clan, “Ask all the citizens of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?’ Remember, I am your flesh and blood.” When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelek, for they said, “He is related to us.”

They gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelek used it to hire reckless scoundrels, who became his followers. He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding. Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelek king.

TV Show

In one TV Show, a rich person tried to intimidate another person. An influential person tried to manipulate a relative to have an honorary director position in a prestigious company. Successful professionals disrespect the role of their father. And, gangsters tried to scare others to force what they want to happen.

Such themes of movies are not just fantasy. They are actual events in life. Intimidation, manipulation, or disrespect are not surprising attitudes of people who strive to be at the top society. The wickedness of humanity disregard fair share of living.

In Genesis 6:5, 5The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

Our wickedness as humans denies us of living a godly life. Godly life is supposed to be the best kind of life we can experience on earth but wickedness polluted our mind to understand that reality. This is another reason of our need to let Christ reign in our hearts for us to understand the best life He prepared for us.

Abimelek the son of Gideon or Jerub-Baal showed how wickedness destroys others and himself when he desired to be the ruler of Israel.

1. Rule

1Abimelek son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother’s clan, 2“Ask all the citizens of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?’ Remember, I am your flesh and blood.” 3When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelek, for they said, “He is related to us.” 

Abimelek was a son of Gideon with his concubine from Shechem. He challenged the citizens of Shechem and they supported him because he was related to them. It was a turn of event that Abimelek was fully supported by the people of Shechem. There was no clear reason except their blood relationship.

Isn’t this true to many different ethnic groups? In Winnipeg, there are different associations identified with their ethnicity. Even in churches, believers would prefer to associate in a group with relatives. In most cases, it is great to have the support of relative but Abimelek and his relative had no good intention in mind.

Lion King

In the movie Lion King, Mufasa the king lion ruled over the animal kingdom in the Pride Lands. From its throne the Pride Rock overlooking the animal kingdom, it explains the responsibilities of kingship to its son Simba. Mufasa’s younger brother, Scar, covets the throne and plots to eliminate Mufasa and Simba.

In the animal kingdom, survival of the fittest is animal instinct to exist, but in human society, it is more of unwillingness to submit that humans resist authorities and desire to be the ruler over others. That is one thing that Christ wants to change in us.

The Lord teaches us in Matthew 20:25-28, 25You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

For church leaders to serve others, we certainly need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. When empowered by the Lord, Christ is glorified and not the leaders. Such godly servant leadership was actually exemplified by Gideon. After they defeated the Midianites, the Israelites wanted Gideon to rule over them.

It says in Judges 8:22-23, 22The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” 23But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” 

When we are filled with Christ Spirit, we always sense that attitude to witness for Christ. We want others to look up to Christ and not to us. Human instinct dictates that we covet appreciation but like Gideon, Spirit-filled believers want Christ to be glorified.

When Gideon died, Abimelek may have been disregarded by his half brothers. Such animosity among them became more apparent when he decided recklessly and murdered his half-brothers except for Jotham, the youngest son of Gideon.

2. Recklessness

They gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelek used it to hire reckless scoundrels, who became his followers. He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding. Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelek king.

Did Abimelek plan to eliminate all his half brothers before he sought to be leaders of the citizen of Shechem? It is possible that when he hired reckless scoundrels, they might have advised him that it’s better for him to eliminate his half-brothers. Reckless scoundrels are good-for-nothing gangsters. These kinds of people usually have no regard for the welfare of others. But they followed Abimelek because he paid them.

In Isaiah 32:6, 6Fools speak folly, their hearts are bent on evil: They practice ungodliness and spread error concerning the Lord.

Each person has a tendency to be foolish because of human sinful nature. We can live in a godly lifestyle if we allow Christ to be the Lord and Master of our decisions and lifestyle. When Christ is Lord over us, He empowers us to do what is right in Him.

It says Proverbs 12:26, 26The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

In Proverbs 18:24, 24One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin. 

In Proverbs 24:1-2, 1Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; 2for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.

Meat Vendor

Many meat vendors in Northern Philippines manipulate weighing scales for their advantage. They inject water to the meat to become heavier than actual weight. Yet, they are not prospering because they would use their illegal profit to support their vices.

A believer who is also a meat vendor honestly did what’s right. More and more costumers were attracted and slowly prospered.

Dishonest practice is not a surprise among many small time business people who desire to prosper faster. It says in Proverbs 21:21, 21Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

King Solomon advised what he proved personally. Lifestyle of righteousness is the best lifestyle we can experience. Prosperity and respect of others is promised when we seek God’s righteousness to be our lifestyle. Prosperity is not limited to material wealth but it s more of a wholesome result.

One can have much money but stays in the hospital, that’s not enviable life. One can have much money but cannot sleep or scared of being kidnapped for ransom, that another undesirable situation. One can have just enough but does all he desire, that’s the kind of prosperity to live to its fullness.

Life to its fullness is promised by the Lord Jesus when He instructed us to see first God’s Kingdom, to allow Christ to have total control of our life, and to allow godly righteousness prevail in our mind, heart and action.

The life of Gideon and Abimelek are two contrasting proof of being empowered by the Spirit of the Lord and controlled by human wickedness respectively.

When the Spirit of the Lord prevailed in the life of Gideon, he was honored by the Israelites and shared with him their plunder. He ruled Israel for 40 years.

Abimelek was controlled by selfish desire and followed by good-for-nothing people and there was nothing good to be desire from his life’s experiences.

It says in Psalm 73:25-28, 25Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.