Judges 9QUESTION: Bramble Leadership - 1ANSWER:Judges 9 – Part 1
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“Let’s turn in our Bibles to Judges chapter 9,” said Nathan Shepherd. The pastor of the Dive Chapel sat on the edge of the carpeted stage with his legs dangling, feet about six inches off of the concrete floor.
“Before we get started with the story of the sons of Gideon, remember last week we talked about the consequences when leaders get arrogant, self-centered. What we don’t see at the end of chapter 8, the end of the Gideon section, is what we’ve been accustomed to reading: ‘And the land had rest for forty years.’
“Someone once said that the way to find out if someone was leader was to look and see if anyone was following him. Further, the Bible says that the way to decide whether or not someone is a prophet was to see if what they prophesied came true. This morning we’re going to look at two guys, Abimelech and Jotham. I heard once that no one leads a totally worthless life because there is some value to others in being such a wretched person that it shows others how NOT to live and act. That would be Abimelech.
“As we sit here with our Bibles open to Judges 9, I want to touch on something that burns in my heart. The LORD our God desires, He designed, that marriage is between one man and one woman. He, the Almighty, draws them together and makes one flesh. One plus one equals one.
“As we survey the Old Testament, we continually run into men that God used who had multiple wives and even concubines. Just because the LORD used these individuals for a season or so, does not in any way mean that He approved of the taking of more than one wife. It was God that said ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’ He meant it then and he means it now.
“I continually hear men say, ‘Well what about King David? God allowed him to have many, many wives.’ Garbage! Have you read about the nightmare of David’s kids? Have you studied the everlasting taint on the sub-families of Leah and Rachel? That kind of argument is indicative of a huge problem out there today. I call it ‘A.D.B.D.’ – Attention Deficit Bible Disorder. We read or hear a few select verses and ordain ourselves as great Biblical scholars.
“God did not allow polygamy for Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, David, Solomon, none of them. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God does NOT change. He used these men in spite of their flaws. But do not be mistaken, the consequences of their multi-marrying were devastating. Read all about it.
“Okay. Don’t make me pull out my Malachi 2 stick. Well, today we are going to look at the negative effects of selfish ambition. It is something that’s plaguing the church and ministry today. And, just like here in Judges 8 and 9, it creeps in and invades the vacuum left by a strong but self-centered, worldly leader.
“In Judges 9, verse 1, we are introduced to the man Abimelech. If you’ll recall, Gideon told the children of Israel he would most certainly not be their king, nor would his son. However, Gideon turned right around and acted like he was the king of the nation. He multiplied his riches, his horses, his wives – just what God said the king must not do. I mean, why be the official king when you could live like a king, lead the people, and not have to obey the rules God established in Deuteronomy?
“Remember, the name ‘Abimelech’ means ‘my father is the king’, but it should probably mean ‘self-centered, criminal, train wreck.’ This rube was not the son of one of Gideon’s many wives. He was the son of Gideon’s concubine from Shechem. A concubine, an outsider, a mistress, always desires to be a wife. Think about that in a spiritual sense.Judges 9 – Read Part 2!