Prediction

Judges 9:16-21

16 “Have you acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelek king? Have you been fair to Jerub-Baal and his family? Have you treated him as he deserves?  17 Remember that my father fought for you and risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian. 18 But today you have revolted against my father’s family. You have murdered his seventy sons on a single stone and have made Abimelek, the son of his female slave, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is related to you. 19 So have you acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today? If you have, may Abimelek be your joy, and may you be his, too! 20 But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelek and consume you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelek!” 21 Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelek.

Sport News Conference

Sport news conference is often arranged to promote a game, sport reporters would bait player with questions on how they may defeat their opponent. Most often, cocky or proud players would predict that they win the game. What would make them so sure of the result? Someone said that such attitude shows some sort of fighting spirit.

Players have to build their confidence of winning or else they can be intimidated. Eventual results are also predicted in the Bible but not all predictions come true. Not all who prophesy are sent by God. Therefore, we are encouraged to examine if things we hear from the pulpit are biblical. We should be like the Berean believers.

In Acts 17:11-12, The Berean Jews received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

When spiritual things seem new to us, we shouldn’t ignore them. It is wise to search and study the Scripture to find out if what has been preached is true and correct. To examine the Scriptures is also an expression of faith in God. It displays desire to grow deeper in the knowledge and relationship with the Lord.

Previously, Jotham, the youngest son of Gideon, learned that his half-brother Abimelek was crowned king at Shechem. It says in Judges 9:7, 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. 

The original term for the word ‘shouted’ has similarity when prophets proclaim the word of God. When prophets of the Lord were sent to proclaim God’s warning to His people, they shout their proclamation and that was exactly how Jotham shouted his prediction between the people of Shechem and Abimelek. He also reminded them of the heroic accomplishment of his father Gideon or Jerub-Baal.

1. Remind

16 “Have you acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelek king? Have you been fair to Jerub-Baal and his family? Have you treated him as he deserves?  17 Remember that my father fought for you and risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian. 

Jotham reminded the people of Shechem how his father exposed himself to danger of saving them from the Midianites. He hoped that they may consider what he said and treat Gideon’s family with fairness. After Abimelek murdered his half brothers, their families may have been scared and lived in fear of the people of Shechem.

Interestingly, Jotham mentioned the name Jerub-Baal instead of Gideon. Why? He may have also reminded the people of Shechem that Gideon destroyed the altar of Baal before he led the Israelites against the Midianites. Yet, Baal did not retaliate. Baal was never alive, and the people of Shechem worship Baal-Berith.

Jotham expected that they may consider how Gideon saved them but they did not. Why did the people of Shechem not give respect to the sons of Gideon? Such turn of event explained practically what the Lord declared in Ezekiel 18:20, The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

In the eyes of the Lord, whoever sins must face the consequences. Whoever does what’s right will be the one who will receive reward. But to some cultural practices, children are viewed as extension of parents. Such view could also be a practice in ancient Israel that was why Jotham mentioned what his father did.

Store Owner

One TV show tells about a store owner who got sick, and let his son took charge of the family business. The son was careless in managing the store. Costumers were disappointed in the way they were treated. One regular costumer badmouthed the son.

When the father heard what happened, he contacted the regular costumer. He reminded him when he was in need, he easily get help from the store owner. Then, he demanded that the regular costumer should be more considerate and give the son another chance to redeem himself.

To be considerate to children out of respect to their parents is not new practice even in this generation but not necessarily practiced everywhere. While others may consider the goodness of parents and pay forward similar goodness to children, others may disregard such practice to accomplish their selfish purposes.

Jotham escaped because he never expected any favorable reconsideration after he rebuked the people of Shechem.

2. Rebuke

18 But today you have revolted against my father’s family. You have murdered his seventy sons on a single stone and have made Abimelek, the son of his female slave, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is related to you. 19 So have you acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today? If you have, may Abimelek be your joy, and may you be his, too! 20 But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelek and consume you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelek!” 21 Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelek.

Jotham predicted that the relationship of Abimelek and the people of Shechem would not be pleasant afterwards. What Jotham told them happened after few years.

When he predicted what may happen, did God give Jotham the exact words he declared or predicted? Jotham was not considered as one of the prophets of God but what he declared turned out as he predicted. One may claim that out of anger for the death of his brother, Jotham may have said what he predicted. Yet, it came true!

Do you appreciate pessimistic people? How do you react when people predict bad thing like your favorite team cannot win the championship, cannot catch fish? It’s easy to dislike them, right? We like optimistic people. We want to be encouraged?

It’s great to be optimistic but it’s also wise to heed warnings. We have to consider and pray to know if God is actually warning us of future events or not. We need also to be prayerful to discern which advice comes from God and which is not.

Man of God

A man of God from Judah was sent for a mission to Bethel but God told him not to eat or drink anything from there. On his way back to Judah, an old prophet heard about the man of God from Judah. He saddled his donkey and rode after the man of God. When he found the man of God sitting under and oak tree, he invited him to come and eat in his home. Now, the old prophet lied to the man of God from Judah.

It says in 1 Kings 13:18-22, 18The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he was lying to him. 19 So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.

          20 While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back. 21 He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. 22 You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’”

When the old prophet informed the man of God about the message of God while they were eating, what could have been the attitude of the man of God from Judah? Was he glad that the old prophet told him of God’s prediction about his future?

The man of God from Judah must have been hungry and thirsty while travelling. That’s why he was easily deceived when the old prophet invited him for a meal. Right?

Christians are supposed to be people of God. But like the man of God from Judah, we listen to lies about our personal desires. It reminds us in 2 Timothy 4:3, For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

This prophecy has been happening in this generation. Mega churches attract many people who wish to hear things they expected. But God’s word is not pleasant all the time. It says in Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

When we hear sermons that may prick our heart or hurt our ego, we thank God.

Spiritual reminders and rebukes will surely help us grow more mature spiritually if we heed and put them into practice. May we grow more mature spiritually!

<‘)))>< ltsii/2018 ><(((‘>

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