Abimelech: self-appointed leader!
Scripture reading for March 12th: Judges 9-12
All authority comes from God and God places people in authority. (Psalm 75:6-7) Gideon was a man placed by God in a position of leadership. He certainly was not perfect but brought peace to the land for a period of time. He had 71 sons and a large family. When Gideon passed away, a leadership crisis arose. The Israelites went back to idol worship and one of Gideon’s sons sought to take over.
Abimelech, son of a slave girl, arose to take over his father’s place. He went to his slave mother’s relatives and proposed to take over leadership. They paid him some money from an idol temple and he hired mercenary soldiers. They then killed 69 of his seventy brothers. Jotham, the youngest, was the only one who escaped. Jotham pronounced a judgment on Abimelech’s leadership . (Judges 9:7-21)
The Scriptures state that God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem. God did this to avenge the shedding of innocent blood of the seventy brothers. Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem had conspired to commit that murder and now they would become enemies themselves! (Judges 9:22-24) This was God’s judgment on a self-appointed leader and those who joined with him in rebellion!
God does place people in leadership for our good, protection, and blessing. When a leader follows the Lord, the people and leader are blessed. When someone tries to place themselves in leadership by his own power, craftiness, or manipulation, then both the leader and those who scheme with him come under God’s judgment! We must be vigilant today in our country. Politics and media are always at work trying to manipulate people. In the workplace and church, people scheme and plot to get advantage. Beware– God’s judgment will come on those who appoint themselves!
Shechem’s punishment: “So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelech. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire over the people inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died.” (Judges 9:49)
Abimelech’s punishment: “Abimelech went to the tower and stormed it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull. Abimelech had his armor-bearer kill him so he did not die at the hands of a woman.