Judges 9 – Part 3QUESTION: Bramble Leadership - 3ANSWER:Judges 9 – Part 3
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“Okay. First, note that only the worthless bramble grasped at leadership. Second, the bramble is not being anointed in truth as the most worth king – he’s the last choice! Third, what this grasping, worthless, self-ambitious guy is saying is a total sham – he is not able to provide shelter or shade. He’s a crappy, thorny, worthless little plant. Fourth, the cedars of Lebanon are a symbol of the greatest strength in the region. But watch this: the bramble can only really do one thing – burn. They help spread destructive fire. Wow! Think about that.
“In verses 16 through 21, Jotham questions the motives behind the men of Shechem making Abimelech their king and asks if they’ve dealt rightly with the descendents of Gideon. He says if they have not acted right, then let fire come out of Abimelech – the bramble – and burn up all of them and everything they own. Then Jotham ran for his life!
“In verse 22, God sends a spirit of ill-will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. Verses 23 through 47 tell a tale of treachery and deceit that really does sound like the demons in a Frank Peretti book. The disgruntled demons, I mean men, of Shechem set up what amounts to a blockade. They ambush the merchant caravans coming into the town in an effort to kill the economy of Abimelech’s kingdom.
“A new guy, another grasping, self-ambitious bramble, named Gaal steps up and takes over. He riles up the mob saying things like ‘Who is Abimelech? What’s he done good? If I were king, I’d remove Abimelech!’ To make the story go by quicker, here’s the short version. One of Abimelech’s officials tips him off that Gaal and the men of Shechem want to fight. Abimelech’s army, with some inside intelligence from his double agent, beats Gaal and his army. Then he besieges the city, enters the gate, kills everyone he can and sows the land with salt to make it worthless. This, remember, from the leader. The stinking bramble did this to his hometown!
“But the A-man is not through. Gaal and the men of Shechem run into the tower of the false gods. Abimelech, probably crazed and foaming at the mouth, gets his men to cut branches from trees and – you may have guessed it – set them on fire. They burn Shechem. Then, they go to the neighboring town of Thebez and start burning it. Remember, this is the fire of destruction from the bramble leader.
“Finally, God uses a woman to put an end to this bramble-madness. While Abimelech is attacking the tower of the town, a woman throws a millstone down on his head and, as the old King James says, ‘all to brake his skull.’
“Selfish ambition. It’s a train wreck. It is absolutely contrary to God’s heart for leadership – servant leadership. And the American church is completely overrun by people who are gripped with this curse and are grasping at leadership, bramble. Constantly watch and pray. Do not let brambles lead you, or you’ll end up in the fire. And that includes me. Please, please hold me accountable.
“We know that when God repeats something in Scripture it’s because he really, really, really means it. Three times in the Bible - in Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, and 1 Peter 5:5 – He says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ God opposes the proud, y’all.”Judges 10 – Go!