Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Judges 9:22-24 (NIV)
After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek. God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers.
Judges 9:22-24 (MSG)
Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. Then God brought bad blood between Abimelech and Shechem’s leaders, who now worked treacherously behind his back. Violence boomeranged: The murderous violence that killed the seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal, was now loose among Abimelech and Shechem’s leaders, who had supported the violence.
“Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. Then God sent an [a]evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem; and the leaders of Shechem acted treacherously against Abimelech, so that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal (Gideon) might come [on the guilty], and that their [innocent] blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother, who had killed them, and on the leaders of Shechem, who strengthened his hands (encouraged him) to kill his brothers.” -AMPLIFIED
“… be sure your sin will catch up with you.” -Numbers 32:23(JUB)
Abimelek could have truly learned from this verse that is found in the book of Numbers. Treachery begets treachery. We find that it does not take long for problems to creep up between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem.
If you have ever wondered if the spirit of evil is real; wonder no more. We can find evidence of this in Abimelech’s story. The Amplified Version distinctly tells us that God sent or allowed an evil spirit to come between Abimelech and those leaders.
We will find that God’s justice for His people will come about through His allowing the consequences of Abimelech’s sin to occur. Whether or not we want to accept it; we ARE in the midst of a constant spiritual battle. We may not necessarily see this battle, but it is raging both within us and without us.
The Message Version tells us that Abimelech’s violence boomeranged against him. He thought he was being so smart and strategic; trying to beat his brothers to what he thought was what they were all fighting for, but he was so wrong. Jotham, his half-brother, warned that Abimelech and the leaders would get their just reward and they did.
We are told that the leaders of Shechem decided to undermine Abimelech’s authority and they began in this way, “As a result of their new hatred for Abimelech, the leaders of Shechem began to ambush travelers along the mountain roads, robbing everyone who passed by, and these robberies were reported to Abimelech.” -Judges 9:25 (VOICE)
We find an outsider, named Gaal, came to the city and started stirring things up even more against Abimelech. In fact, we find the city becoming divided in their allegiance between Gaal, and his followers, and Abimelech, and his followers. Abimelech rose up and not only demolished the city, but devastated it completely. He then scattered salt all over the ground; which would affect the agriculture and water supply for generations.
He did not stop there though. What happens next is horrifying and hair-raising. Scripture tells us that Abimelech did this; “When the leaders connected with Shechem’s Tower heard this, they went into the fortified God-of-the-Covenant temple. This was reported to Abimelech that the Shechem’s Tower bunch were gathered together. He and his troops climbed Mount Zalmon (Dark Mountain). Abimelech took his ax and chopped a bundle of firewood, picked it up, and put it on his shoulder. He said to his troops, “Do what you’ve seen me do, and quickly.” So each of his men cut his own bundle. They followed Abimelech, piled their bundles against the Tower fortifications, and set the whole structure on fire. Everyone in Shechem’s Tower died, about a thousand men and women.” -Judges 9:46-49 (MSG)
The horror did not even stop there; Abimelech’s fury had caused him to run amuck. He then turns his sights to the city of Thebez. Scripture tells us this; “Next, Abimelech went on to Thebez. He laid siege to it, captured it, and discovered that in the city was a strong tower where the leaders and men and women of the city had locked themselves in to escape and had climbed onto the roof. So he stormed the tower, ready to burn this tower as he had the other.” -Judges 9:50-52 (VOICE)
Abimelech had created devastation everywhere he had gone; now the consequence of his choices will finally catch up with him. In the rush to destroy and conquer Thebez in much the same way he had at Shechem he rushed forward to the entrance to the tower in order to set it on fire. This time things turned out a little different. We find a woman throwing a millstone out of one of the upper windows and crushing his skull. In order to supposedly save his reputation from being marred (He was humiliated that he had been killed by a woman.) Abimelech ordered his servant to kill him immediately with his sword so it would not be said that he had died by the hand of a woman. And so the great and mighty Abimelech comes to a terrible end.
Judges 9 ends with these words, “When the people of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they all went back home. So God avenged the evil that Abimelech had committed against his father by murdering his 70 brothers, and the evil of the leaders of Shechem God brought back on their heads; everything happened just as Jotham, son of Jerubbaal, had prophesied when he cursed them all.” -Judges 9:55-57 (VOICE)
Oh how the mighty have fallen. All of this sadly was repercussions of Gideon’s choices and continued on because of Abimelech’s choices. Oh be careful of the choices you make; for your sin ALWAYS affects those around you.
Lord, help me to stay on the road that you have set me on to travel. Give me wisdom to know when the Enemy is trying to tempt me to leave that road. My desire is to live a life that is holy and pleasing to you. I know that Enemy, the Devil, is trying to do everything possible to trip me up and destroy my testimony for you. I want to make righteous, godly choices; please help me to do so. I do not want to be displeasing to you or affect my family negatively because of wrong choices that I have made. Help me, Lord, to bring honor and glory to your Name.