Day 10

Abimelech Becomes King

from the Judges reading plan


Judges 9:1-57, Psalm 68:11-14, John 4:19-24

If you ever needed proof that the Bible isn’t G-rated, here it is. It seems like today’s reading was taken from a Hollywood plotline instead of the pages of Holy Scripture. Yet, here we are in the midst of a family conflict that would make the disputes of any mob family pale in comparison.

If we see anything in this story it should be ourselves and the corruption of our own hearts. Any one of us could be Abimelech. Instead of looking to the Lord and trusting in Him to provide a leader when his father Jerubbaal (Gideon) died, Abimelech took matters into his own hands. He took power by force, murdering any potential rivals to a supposed “throne” in Israel. He did whatever he thought necessary in order to win status and authority. We’re capable of doing the same.

We may read Abimelech’s story and feel as if we would never stoop so low as to murder our own brothers, yet Jesus teaches that whenever we possess hatred in our hearts toward our brothers we are murderers (Matthew 5:21-22). We may see the brazen way in which Abimelech torches his own people and his own city out of pure spite for their betrayal of him and think we’d never be so wicked. But each of us is capable of the same hatred and wickedness. Whenever we are divisive, gossiping, playing for power in the church, we believe and behave just as Abimelech did. We may scoff at the cowardly way Abimelech dies by having his servant armor-bearer run him through so that his reputation isn’t ruined because he was killed by a woman. But we, too, can be cowardly and seek to protect our reputations, lying and manipulating others to make ourselves look heroic instead of helpless.

All of this shows our radical need for God’s forgiveness and empowering grace. We need redemption. We need a Savior. Tragically, there is no redemption in Judges chapter 9—it’s all bad. But we do have a Savior who will rescue us from the curse our evil should bring upon us. We have Christ who died because of the anger we have toward our brothers. Christ laid down His life for our gossiping tongues, hateful hearts, and divisive actions against His people. His righteousness becomes ours through faith, so we don’t have to manipulate others to keep our reputation. Our identity is secure in Jesus Christ.

We are capable of great evil—just like Abimelech. But we are deeply loved in Christ, and His Spirit has given us new hearts and a desire to obey. Let’s repent and turn to Him again today. Let us be true worshipers of the Father in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

Written by Jeremy Writebol

Post Comments (4)

4 thoughts on "Abimelech Becomes King"

  1. Caleb White says:

    While I’m not able to see myself setting a fire to kill a thousand, I can see the unchecked rage that tries to well up inside me at times. The anger and pride that will stop at nothing. Righteous anger or not, once it turns to a desire to repay and destroy, it is evil. Jesus knows that lives in us. Jesus knows what we are capable of. He knows we can severely damage his name even as Christians. But he still came and continues to come for us. He still traded his life for ours. He still loves us. If the roles were reversed, I would cast me out of the city, the scorn of creation to be cursed. But Jesus came. He has named us his child. How blessed we are.

  2. Garrett says:

    I’m reminded of one of the sources of the disasters of this story – a failed father. God’s grace overcomes the worst situations and failures, but it seems clear that Gideon (like King David later) succeeded in battle and failed in the home. What distress and suffering could have been avoided if he had been a godly leader in his home.

  3. Kevin says:

    Day 10: Man I was confused reading most of this. I think I’m guilty and can connect with the part where Abimelech is trying to protect his reputation by not dying to the sword of a woman. I feel like sometimes I’ll fake it to make people think I’m doing great or doing something right when I’m reality I’m broken just like everyone. Sometimes I feel a pressure to be perfect, but don’t realize that’s not how this life goes. My brokenness can be used by the lord to teach myself and others a lesson, I should become more comfortable in walking in that. ⚒

  4. Jeff says:

    To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t able to focus while reading and comprehend much of that. Preoccupation with life and family circumstances can dull you to sleep even during crisis. This reminded me that no matter what happens I need to put forth effort every time I enter gods word.

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