Scripture reading for March 12th: Judges 9-12
All authority comes from God and the Bible declares that God alone places people in authority. (Psalm 75:6-7) When God places someone in authority, His anointing and counsel guide that person. The person must stay under God’s anointing and follow His directions.
Gideon was such a man! He brought peace to the land for a period of time as he followed God. When Gideon passed away, a leadership crisis arose. The Israelites went back to idol worship and Abimelech, the son of a slave girl, arose to take over his father’s place. He went to his mother’s town and relatives and proposed to take over leadership. They paid him some money from an idol temple and he hired mercenary soldiers. They killed 69 of his seventy brothers. Jotham, the youngest, escaped. (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 brothers. Abimelech and the citizens of Schechem had conspired to commit murder and now they would fall under judgment! (Judges 9:22-24) This evil spirit was God’s judgment on a self-appointed leader and those who joined with him in rebellion!
God places leaders for our good, protection, and blessing. When a leader follows the Lord, the people are blessed. When someone places 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. Even the church may have these leaders! 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.