Scripture: Judges 8-9. Click here to view full scripture.
Observation: What was going on in the Bible at this time?
Ephraim’s leaders had felt left out because Gideon had not called them to help fight the battle, but rather left them to take charge over any escaped Midianites. God was with Gideon and his 300 men, who were up against 15,000 enemies. The people had wanted Gideon to rule over them, but Gideon stressed that God was to rule over them instead. The relationship between Gideon and a concubine produced a son, Abimelech, who not only tore apart Abimelech and his family, but also caused problems for the nation. Gideon passed away, and Abimelech wanted to take his father’s place. Abimelech ended up killing 69 of his half brothers in Ophrah and then returned to Shechem for the people to make him king. After he had ruled over Israel for three years, God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the people of Shechem. Abimelech was killed by a woman who had dropped a millstone on his head.
Application: How can we apply this to our lives?
Ephraim’s leaders were angry because they felt left out, and they confronted Gideon. Not every necessary task is a highly visible leadership role. It is pride that causes us to want recognition in life. We should be quick to help and join others who are engaged in God’s work by lending support with our time, money, gifts, talents, and prayers. Even when the people wanted Gideon to rule over them, he stressed the importance of putting God first and letting Him rule over them. Is God first in your life? God must influence every dimension in our lives, not just on days when we go to church. In Abimelech’s selfish quest, he killed 69 of his 70 half brothers. He was trying to fulfill his selfish desires and become king over the people in place of his father. We must be sure to always fulfill our desires of life in ways that we know God would approve, being careful to stay away from the temptations in this world. In God’s timing, all evil will be destroyed. However, in the meantime, we must trust God with all of our hearts, recognize our own sins and ask for forgiveness, and persevere even through the difficult time of waiting for the wicked of the world to be punished.
Prayer: What can we pray for in regards to these passages?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for the examples and stories that You have placed in Your Word for us to learn from. Please help us to be content with being Your bricklayers for a task instead of allowing our pride to grow, causing us to want constant recognition. We know that all tasks that You give to Your people are important and will fulfill Your ultimate purpose. Please help us always to place You first in our lives. Help us to flee from the temptations of this world and to always rely on You with the difficult times in our lives. Please forgive us for the many sins that we commit on a daily basis. Thank You for being such a loving and forgiving God. Please protect us all and keep us safe. We love You and thank You for everything. – in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.