Abimelech epitomises Jesus’ words in John on pagan rulers in Mark 10:42: “those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them.” Godly leadership is different. It comes to serve, not be served. Tola and Jair might have only 2 verses each, but what an eternal commendation!
“And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.”
Today’s passage is a blood-thirsty tale of betrayal upon betrayal.
Abimelech seems to be a man who has given full reign to violence in his nature, answering each choice in the passage with an attempt to kill or destroy.
He is condemned for his killing of seventy of his brothers, on one stone.
And the leaders of Shechem are condemned for giving him the resources to do so.
This behaviour is rewarded by God in a supernatural manner, sending an evil spirit between them. Division and betrayal run rife.
Our choices have consequences. God-ordained consequences.
Our responsibility as God’s people is to seek His wisdom, and to walk that path, rejecting the wisdom of the world.
Because our choices matter!
At the end of Deuteronomy, in chapter 30, Moses gives these great words,
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.”
Then further down,
“Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him,”
Let us today be exhorted to choose life!
* Gracious Lord God,
Thank You for the way You worked in this passage today, as hard as it can be to fathom what happens.
Please help us to choose wisdom, to choose life and good – To flee away and reject death and evil.
Mark us as obedient disciples, walking in Your commands Lord God.