“And all of the men of Shechem gathered together, all of Beth Millo, and they went and made Abimelech king beside the terebinth tree at the pillar that was in Shechem.” (Judges 9:6)
In this chapter, Abimelech, who was a son of Gideon from a slave woman, conspired against his seventy brothers with the men of Shechem and killed them. So the men of Shechem made Abimelech king. But one son, Jotham, escaped because he hid himself from Abimelech. He went up Mount Gerizim, the mountain reserved in the law for pronouncing curses, and pronounced a curse on Abimelech and Shechem for how he became king, in killing the sons of Gideon. So after three years of his reign, God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and Shechem, and in short, they killed eachother!
I thought about what this chapter was really about- do I talk about the power of blessing and cursing, as Jotham’s curse against them came to pass? As I thought about it, how did Abimelech gain power, and why didn’t it last? He didn’t do it God’s way! Jesus said the greatest among you shall be your servant, and Paul says it is a good thing to desire to be a bishop or an elder- but there is a way to go about it. That way is taking up your cross and becoming a servant. That way is death to self, NOT to others. Abimelech thought that was the best way for power- he was wrong! He was actually the first king of Israel, but not chosen by God, and he made the biggest blunder by promoting himself above his brothers. Pride comes before a fall, and his fall was great. So if any of you want to be great in the kingdom, go the way of the cross and die to self, becoming a servant. Amen.
“Lord, I pray that I would daily take up my cross, follow You by becoming a servant, for that is the way to greatness in Your Kingdom. The world says you have to pull everyone down to get up, but You say we need to kneel down and be the lowest to go up. Help me to deny myself and become a servant, like Christ- in Jesus‘ name, amen.”
*Jn 13:1-17; Phil 2:5-11