Judges 9

Judges 9 recounts the life of Abimelech, the son of Gideon by his concubine. Gideon had faithfully served God throughout his life, but Abimelech did not share the commitment of his father. Abimelech had one commitment–himself. He sought to continually achieve power. In some ways this isn’t surprising as we all have a part of our own lives where we want to be in charge. However, something that is more important for us to consider is who we choose to follow as our leader. As Abimelech was fighting to become leader by killing all of his brothers, his youngest brother Jotham escaped and sought to warn the people about Abimelech. He wanted the people to realize that they should not follow him and his self-serving attitude. Standing on Mount Gerizim, Jotham shouted, 7 “Listen to me, you leaders of Shechem, that God may listen to you. He was wanting them to consider their willingness to follow Abimelech, who had already proven to be a ruthless, self-seeking leader. He warned them by telling a parable that clearly was meant to help them see that worthless people seek to lord over others as Abimelech had done. Jotham ended his warning by saying, 19″ if you then have acted in good faith and integrity with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. 20 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and devour the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the leaders of Shechem and from Beth-millo and devour Abimelech.” In other words, if your choice of a leader is good in God’s sight then may you rejoice, but if not may you suffer the consequences. We may ask what this episode has to do with us, but we must understand this important lesson–it is important who you choose to be your leaders. Let’s keep in mind the words of Jesus who taught in Matthew 20, 25 “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  It is important in our lives to choose leaders who are servants, because if a leader isn’t willing to serve ,then that leader will always be seeking to be served. Those who follow such a leader often find that life for them is filled with trouble while those who follow servant leaders find that life is filled with more joy. That is why Jesus is the perfect leader to follow. He lead ultimately by first serving God the Father, but then served us by giving his life as a ransom for our sin. Jesus is the perfect leader to follow.

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