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May 8, 2024

Exposing Politicians: Finding a Statesman (Judges 9)

Passage: Judges 9
Service Type:

In Judges 9, we are shown the rise and fall of a man named Abimelech, whose story illustrates the dangerous path of political ambition and the consequences of trusting in flawed leaders. Abimelech, whose name means "My Father is King," was the son of Gideon, also known as Jerubbaal. Gideon, when offered kingship, refused, stating that only the Lord should rule over them. However, his fatal error was naming his son Abimelech, setting the stage for a tragic turn of events.

Abimelech's political ambitions led him to Shechem, where he sought the support of his mother's relatives. He cunningly posed a false dilemma to the people, asking if it was better for seventy sons of Gideon to rule over them or for one, himself, to reign. Despite his brothers not being kings, Abimelech campaigned for a solution to this manufactured problem, appealing to the people's sense of family loyalty. His uncles became his campaign managers, endorsing him as "our brother," and the financing for his campaign came from the temple of Baal-Berith, revealing his alliances.

His ascent to power was marked by violence. Abimelech killed 70 of his brothers, the potential threats to his rule, and the people of Shechem crowned him king. However, Jotham, the youngest son of Gideon, escaped, symbolizing the preservation of God's perfect plan amidst human folly.

Jotham then delivered a parable to the people of Shechem from Mount Gerizim, a place of blessing, warning them of the consequences of their choice. The trees in the parable represent Gideon's sons, who refused kingship, but the bramble, worthless and full of empty promises, symbolizes Abimelech. Despite the warning, the people persisted in their choice, revealing their desperation for a leader.

Abimelech's reign was marked by treachery and opposition. God sent a spirit of ill will between him and the men of Shechem, leading to his downfall. Abimelech's story illustrates the dangers of trusting in political leaders motivated by selfish ambition. Like him, they promise solutions but deliver destruction.

The account of Abimelech holds several timeless lessons for us. Politicians, like sin, promise freedom but lead to bondage. Building our lives on lies and selfish ambition will inevitably crumble. Instead of placing our trust in princes or politicians, we should trust in Jesus, the only one who truly serves others at his own expense.

In today's world, we often see politicians resorting to tactics similar to Abimelech's, using deception, manipulation, and violence to gain and retain power. But as believers, we're called to a higher standard. We should strive to be statesmen, acting with honesty, humility, and a genuine desire to serve others. This means being honest in our dealings, humble in our interactions, and focused on helping others rather than advancing our own agendas.

At Calvary Chapel West Jacksonville, under the leadership of Pastor Allen Victor, we're reminded that while we can vote for politicians, we shouldn't place our ultimate trust in them. Instead, let's put our trust in Jesus, the true and faithful leader who never disappoints.

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