Summary: Abimelech is a classic example of how selfishness and godless ambition lead us from God’s will for our lives.
Possessing the Promises
Abimelech (Judges #5)
There is a music group called The Bad Examples
• Abimelech would be a likely member of that group
• He is an example of what not to do to possess the promises of God
• This guy’s all bad
• No victory for God’s people, no deliverance from false God’s, no moral direction, I can find nothing good about his judge.
• Little background
• Son of Gideon
• Mother is a slave woman from Shechem
• Judges 9 tells his story
Gideon has died and the people fall into idolatry
• Although Gideon wasn’t king he was thought of as one
• The people had requested he rule over them but he denied
8:22-23 The Israelites said to Gideon, "Rule over us--you, your son and your grandson--because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian." But Gideon told them, "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you."
• Abimelech thinks differently – he does want to become king
• His plan
o Go to Shechem, home of his mother and rally up some support
o He has to get rid of his brothers – 69 of them
o No problem – we’ll kill them all
o He hires some hit men, they go to Gideon’s home and each of the brothers are killed. All but one. Jotham – he escapes and later returns and tells a little parable about his half-brother. In short he calls him a thorn-bush and predicts that nothing good is going to come out of having Abimelech as king. He predicts that they will end of killing each other. It all comes true.
• Abimelech does reign for three years – the shortest reign of any of the judges – before an adversary arises, a guy named Gaal.
• This leads to an all out battle where Abimelech meets his end as a woman drops a millstone on his head. Actually that doesn’t immediately kill him, but not wanting to leave behind the disgrace of being killed by a woman, he asks his assistant to kill him. He does and that’s the end of Abimelech.
I do feel some sympathy for Abimelech
o We all want to do something great with our lives
o He’s a man with ambition who wants to do something great
o He goes about the wrong way and instead of finding where he bo0loings he ruins his own life and the life of others
o How can we know when we’re pursuing God’s plan and in doing so possess the promises that he has for us.
o Look at Abimelech as an example of what not to do
It’s All About Abimelech
o He’s all about Self-promotion; all about image
9:2 `Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?’
9: 54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, `A woman killed him.’ "
o No one has suggested to him to be king.
o Danger sign: We are pursuing greatness and no one seems to confirm our ambitions. We become blind.
It happened in the jungle one day. A lion with a big ego went around asking the other animals who the king of the jungle was. “Who’s the king of the jungle?” the lion roared at a monkey. “Why you are, Mr. Lion,” said the monkey with fear in his voice. The lion went on and found a zebra. “Who’s the king of the jungle?” he snarled. “There is no doubt about it. You are Mr. Lion,” said the zebra. Seeing a turtle crossing his path the lion bellowed, “Who’s the king of the jungle?” Scared out of his shell the turtle said, “You are Mr. Lion. You are the king of the jungle.” Then the lion came upon an elephant. Once again he roared out the question, “Who’s the king of jungle?” The elephant used his trunk to grab the lion by his tail. He spun him around over his head several times, dunked him in a mud hole, and slammed him into a large tree. Dazed and dirty the lion said, “Just because you didn’t know the correct answer was no reason to get upset.”
o Sometimes all indications contradict what we want but we pursue it anyway!
o This account gives no indication that anyone thought Abimelech was to be king
o It was all about ego!
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:13, 16)