January 16: The Problem With Abimelech

Read Judges 9

He’d been born of a concubine. The natural consequence of his father not following God’s ways.

Abimelech, Gideon’s son had it in for his brothers and the rest of his father’s side of the family. He knew what he wanted. And it did not include them.

Self-appointed leader, Abimelech was bad news. He cared nothing for his father’s house. Cared nothing for his father’s honor. The honor Gideon violated when he went and got all those extra wives.

But God was still in charge. Still faithful to fulfill His promises to His people. And He took care of Abimelech. Like a mobster takes care of anyone who crosses him.

See, God had promised through His servant Moses that if they were careful to obey all He’d commanded He would give them blessing beyond blessing.

But it was a covenant thing. He offered blessing. They offered their souls. Their whole-hearted obedience. Their passionate following.

Sure, God would bless them if they followed His way. But the promise was two-fold. If they failed to follow Him, failed to carefully obey His commandments and ways, He would sell them over to their enemies, leave them for dead. Until they were destroyed.

Because He loved His people. And He wanted their whole hearts.

So Abimelech rose to power and carried out his wicked schemes. Killing all of Gideon’s sons but one.

God sent an evil spirit to divide Abimelech’s kingdom. The kingdom that belonged to God. And disunity and dischord and hatred and mistrust filled the house of Abimelech.

It was a mess.

But God remained faithful.

He had promised Israel that if they were unfaithful, He would be faithful to send them into utter disarray. They would meet grief and destruction in the form of Him turning His back on them.

Time and time again, His children had turned away. So He sold them into slavery and submission. He gave them over to their pursuers so they would turn back to Him, realizing their need and calling to Him, the only One Who could save them.

Did you catch those last words? The ones about why God turned His back on His people?

He did it because He loved them and wanted them to realize their absolute need for His way, His will, His covenant blessing, their passionate devotion to Him.

Sometimes God lets us find our brokenness. Not because He’s forsaken us. Quite the opposite. Because He loves us too.

And He wants us to turn to Him in our utter need and find all He wants to give us when we do.


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