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Summary: A man who wanted leadership

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Abimelech

Son of Gideon and a slave woman

Here Gideon is called Jerubbal (related to Baal)

This time the apostasy was different

Not neighbouring powers or an invasion

From within

James 4

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud

but gives grace to the humble.”

Illustration: We look for ways to be first on everyone else’s priority list. We look for ways to be first in line. We look for ways to be first at the checkout counter. We look for ways to be the first ones getting into a parking spot. We look for ways to win in the game of “first come, first served.”

This was the heart of Abimelech

Nothing like his father

He was passionate to lead and nothing would stand in his way

Gideon had said that no son of his was to be king or rule over the people

Judges 8 22The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.”

23But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.”

Abimelech was ambitious

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a leader or wanting a position

But the Lord must call

Many are in positions of authority through ambition, manipulation, a ‘friend’ or by knowing someone in a position already

People cannot manufacture leadership or position

There was no consultation with God, the priest or any tribe of Israel

When we appoint people to positions we must consult the Lord and make sure He has called = disaster

Led to destroying his own flesh and blood – 70 brothers

The youngest survived by hiding – Jotham

Abimelech deviously went to the town of his mother where he knew people would support him

He became his own god who demanded worship

He broke the commandments:

· 1st and 2nd by wanting to set himself up to be worshiped and rule

· 6th by murdering his brothers

· 3rd through being dishonest (used God’s name in vain)

· 9th by being a false witness

He sweet-talked them into agreeing with him

He had an agenda of his own

The Lord’s Prayer changed to:

My Kingdom come, my will be done

People are very clever at whispering in the ear when they are motivating people to follow them

Everything should be done in the open and discussed by all when raising up others

Too much talking behind the scene can be dangerous

If someone comes talking to you to gain approval, be careful

Everyone allowed him to carry on and didn’t question his motives etc

Because of this, the people lost

· Their honour

· Their liberty

· Justice

· Gratitude

Illustration: Matthew Henry said, ‘He came in like a fox, ruled like a lion and died like a dog.’

When Jotham spoke out, no one listened

He shouted from Mt Gerizim, the place where the blessings were read on the day they entered Canaan

Instead of a blessing, he spoke a curse

Curses are very real even today

People’s lives can be badly affected by what people say

Our words are very powerful

There is life and death in the tongue

Abimelech wasn’t even the rightful heir due to his mother’s position

He convinced the people by asking them if they wanted one or seventy ruling them

They funded his project using money from the temple of Baal

He hired people who were worthless and reckless

He was building a political platform

He had selfish ambition; this mixed with pride = destruction to anyone who got in his way

In Is 14:13 we read of an Angel that turned into a devil through pride

Matt 23:12 God brings down those who exalt themselves

For 3 years he did ok

The words spoken by Jotham started to become a reality

V23 God sent an evil spirit

A disagreeable unpleasantness

The word spirit here means wind, breath or mind

In other words, Abimelech became twisted in his mind and began to treat his people badly

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