Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 621 · 3 months ago

The Book of Judges #14

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Kim Kuhfuss

Judges 8:29-9:21

Things that took place. Yet, God, we see your hand in it and we pray, Lord, that your word would minister to your people and speak to us, that we may understand it and Lord, that tonight as well, you may apply it and help me to apply it, that your people may be blessed and encourage, Lord, through your word. And so we lifted to you and pray for your illumination, for we ask it in Christ name. Amen, if you turn with me in your bibles, it's a little longer passage this evening to the book of judges, and we will begin with Chapter Eight and Verse Twenty Nine, and then we will go through the end of the chapter and then moved to Chapter Nine for the first twenty one versus. Here now the word of the Lord de Robabo, the son of Joash, went and lived in his own house. Now Gideon had seventies sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives, and his concubine, who was in Shekhm, also pore him a son, and he called his name Abimelech. And Gideon, a son of Joash, died in a good old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash, his father, at Ophrah of the abesriits. As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and hoard after the balls and made Bab beareth their God. And the people of Israel did not remember the Lord, their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side, and they did not show steadfast love to the family of Jerobobo, that is Gideon, and returned for all the good that he had done to Israel. Now a Bimelech, the son of Drobobow, went to Shekem, to his mother's relatives and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother's family, say in the ears of all the leaders of Shekum, which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Drabobo rule over you or that one rule over you? Remember also, I'm your bone in your flesh. And his mother's relatives spoke all these words in his behalf and the ears of all the leaders of Shekm in her heart. Arn't inclined to follow a Bimelech, for they said he is our brother, and they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the House of Beilbarith, with which abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows who followed him and he went to his father's house at Oprah and killed his brothers, the sons of Drobabo, seventy men on one stone, but Jotham, the youngest son of Jerbrabo, was left for he himself and all the leaders of Skum came together and all Bet Milo and they went and made a Bimelech King by the oak of the pillar at Sek Um. When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Garrison and cried aloud and said to them, listen to me, you leaders of Shekum, that God may listen to you. The trees once went out to annoint a king over them and they said to the Olive Tree, reign over us, but the Olive Tree said to them, shall I leave my abundance, by which Gods and men are honored, and go hold sway over the trees. And the tree said to the fig tree, you come and rain over us, but the fig tree said to them, shall I leave my sweeten us and my good fruit and goes hold sway over the trees. And...

...the tree said to the vine, will you come and rain over us. But the vine said to them. Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and man and go hold sway over the trees. Then all the trees said to the Bramble, you come and rain over us, and the bramble said to the trees. If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade. But if not, let fire come out of the Bramble and devour the Cedars of Lebanon. Now, therefore, if you acted in good faith and integrity when you made a Bimelech King, and if you've dealt well with drobable and his house and have done to him as his deeds deserved from my father fought for you and risked his life and delivered you from the hand of Midian. And you have risen up against my father's house this day and have killed his son's it's heavenly men on one stone and have made a Bimelech, the son of his female servant, King over the leaders of Seke Um, because here's your relative. If you, then, have acted in good faith and integrity withdrabable and with this House the day, then rejoice in a Bimelech and let him also rejoice in you. But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and devour the leaders of Shek Um and Beth Milo. And let fire come out from the leaders of Shek Um and from Beth Milo and devour abimelech. And Jontham ran away and fled and went to beer and lived there because of a Bimelech, his brother. Thus will end the reading of God's word. Please be seated. So we are picking up the story of Gideon where we have left it off in the book of judges, and the last week we looked at the Gideon's army finishing up, the Um pursuing of the Army of the Median Knights and the punishment of the men of sarcoth and Peneuel because they did not want to provide bread for the army of Gideon when Gideon asked for it. So he comes back and teaches both of them a lesson. And then we saw the sad end of Gideon and setting up a idol, actually in the form of a golden efod that he sets up in his own hometown, which God ever gave command that they should worship in that place and so tonight we're going to move on to the death of Gideon and to the child of Gideon, and I am going to warn you ahead of time it's not going to be a good story. So earlier Gideon had turned down the offer of being a king, but there are two things that we're going to notice here at the end of chapter eight that seemed to indicate even though he's turned down the offer, a couple of things still look suspicious to us, and we'll look at those. The first thing we see in versus twenty nine and thirty is that he has many wives, like many of the Kings, that was one of the sad sins that kind of affected the king's through the years and Um, of course he doesn't come near to Solomon's record in this regard, but we are totally had many wives, and this is all in disobedience to God, who had already commanded in the law that Gideon would have known in deuteronomy seventeen, seventeen, and he shall not acquire many why life for himself, lest his...

...heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold. Well, Gideon, unfortunately, has done all of that. Right now, though, technically. Again, he would say he's not a king. As much as we find polygamy in the Old Testament, we find a lot of it. We know from the beginning, as Jesus would teach us, it was never God's will for man to have more than one wife. Dr J Vernon mcghee says God did not create several eves for Adam. He created only one. God did not remove all of Adam's ribs. God took out only one rib. No, I realized it doesn't have to be rib in the Hebrew Genesis, but I thought that was kind of a good little comment there. But again we have the integrity of the scriptures here and we know that the scriptures are of God and we can tell they're different than other holy books because in other books that the end, that our champions and men, that our warriors we just read good, they're all good, everything's going well and that all of those things. But the Bible does not hide. You know, if if it been a normal biographer, perhaps of Gideon, uh the end of Gideon would have would have stopped before this and these last things that we're seen. We would have ended with perhaps Gideon just finishing off the media nights and that would be the end. And the biographer, which are where say well, there's there's no reason for us to go on. People don't need to know about that. But the scriptures tell us the truth. They don't hide it from us. They tell us what happens, the puritan reformer Richard Rogers says, and it teaches us that the faults and blemishes of God's servants are set before us in the scriptures, as well as their virtues, in which respect the scriptures are unlike other human stories or writings which, through hatred or flattery, obscure the truth. Scriptures don't do that. In Verse Thirty One, we're told the Gideon at least one concubine, which also is wrong, and the wording there in the Hebrew seems to indicate that he may even have had more than one concubine. But here is the second thing that seems to indicate something bad. Gideon says, I don't want to be king. So they have a child with his concubine. And what does he name the Child? My father is king, a Bi Malech that's a little interesting, isn't it? That's how he names the child. It's kind of like if I had a son and I named my son my father is a really great guy. Uh, you know, I didn't. I didn't name them that. But Um, I did have a name that I didn't think of it. I was always kind of sad I missed this with my boys because I thought of it years after they were born and I thought it would be good to name one of my children after two good biblical characters, and I thought I would name them after Noah and lot, so their name would be no AH lot coufus. I thought that would be a good name for them.

But if I wasn't able to do that, I tried to convince many people to do that. Nobody's taken me up on it yet. So well, that is bad. That would be bad, but so is my father, is king. That's a bad name as well. And the second problem here is the son that's named that is the son of the concubine, not the son of his seventy wives, and I admit it's sometimes hard to tell a difference in scripture between one called a wife and one called a concubine. But he is illegitimate, so technically he has to wait for seventy of his brothers to die before he could become king. Well, he comes up with a plan to deal with that, as we see in the scriptures, and so we're told to concubine herself lives and Scheck them, which is going to play a part in the rest of the story that begins in chapter nine. So as we come to chapter nine, Barry Web in his commentary, says that Gideon's mixed legacy is about to turn into a nightmare, and it does up until this point in the book of judges. You might know that the book of judges follows a series of seven cycles, and the cycles are exactly the same. What are the cycles? Well, the cycle is after God delivers Israel, then soon Israel turns through idolatry, and so the cycle begins that an oppressor comes in and Israel becomes under the domination of an oppressor for a certain amount of years. It varies from time to time, and after a time the oppression becomes so great that the Israel will cry out for an oppressor. When they do, God will hear them and raise up a deliverer. This deliverer will then come and deliver Israel from their oppressor, and then Israel will have rest and go back into idolatry, and then it's Lather, rents, repeat, in the same cycle repeats itself. But in the story we've come to tonight it's kind of a break. It's not a good break, but it's a break in that cycle that we have up to this point and it's not a good change, as I said. And in verse nine we're going to have one of the worst judgments that God can ever put or, excuse me, not verse nine, Chapter Nine, one of the worst judgments that God could ever put upon a nation, and that is a civil war, which is a terrible thing for a nation to endure. The English annotations on the book of judges has this note. Now, after the death of Gideon, as they returned to their former wickedness, God punishes them with the civil war wherein they murder and massacre one another, staining their hands in the blood of their brethren and sheathing their swords in their balls. And so we can think of the terrible civil war in our own nation that took place, where families were killing each other, and perhaps many of you, like myself, have watched that Ken Burns documentary on the civil war and in many places. It was very difficult to watch and we're reminded about what a terrible...

...time it was in our country. So in nine one bimelech becomes the first person, and judges, to actually seek the Office of ruler. All of the others, UH, did not seek it. You're probably familiar with the quote of Shakespeare from Twelfth night where he says be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them and off quoted, uh, quotation from Shakespeare. Well, you can try to decide for yourself which one of those categories of bimelech falls into. But with good reason. BIMELEX says he's going to go to check them because he's not getting much support from his brothers, and nor should he and nor should he expect it, but he goes to where his mother's relatives are. Now something I have done for years and I would encourage you as well to do this sometime. There's many ways to study our bibles, but one of the way I found interesting through the years is a geographic study. It's always interesting to note what took place at a particular location in the Bible. I think one of the most interesting studies you can do in that regard as Bethel. That's that's a very fascinating study to see all of the things that happened in Bethel and how the ups and downs go on that Um. But another good one would be Scheckum. And a check Um, you might remember, it was where God first appeared to Abraham in the promised land. That was in genesis twelve versus six and seven, and we also see in that text that it was the first place in the promised land where an altar to the Lord was built. But it's also at check um where it seems that people under Joshua first worshiped in the promised land. We find that in Joshua eight at the end of the chapter, and so there's a lot of good stuff that happens at check them, but this stuff tonight is not going to be good at all. So in verse two, able makes his argument to be a ruler on two particular grounds. Number one, he says wouldn't it be better to be ruled by one instead of being ruled by seventy? Now that's actually a pretty interesting argument. In fact, we kind of debated that at a fellowship group last week about what which is better? What is it? Is it better to be ruled by one, like in a monarchy or a dictatorship, or is it better to be ruled by many has, as in our country, for example? Well, what Abimelech is lobbying for is a rule by one, and we'll see how that goes. The second point is number one. Would you rather have one to rule you instead of seventy? The second point is, would you rather have one of your own to rule over instead of others? And, of course, again the men of Sheckum are ready to put their support for they say he is our brother standing a loan.

That's never a good argument to somebody as a leader because of who they are related to. And Uh, to prove that they're going to support a BIMELEK anyway. In verse four, to quote the old saying, I don't think it goes back to the book of judges, but to say it is where you put your money where your mouth is. Well, the men of check I'm are going to do exactly that. They're going to get a BIMELEK seventy pieces of silver, which they get out of a tempo uh to an idol, and this is obviously blood money. If you missed the connection, let me connect the dot for you. Gideon has seventy sons. They give him seventy pieces of silver, obviously blood money, and then Bimelech uses that money to hire those e s V calls worthless and reckless fellows. That sounds like a great start to a rule, doesn't it? To take money from an idolatrous tempo go and hire mandicule others, and those men are reckless and worthless. Um, Yep. I was like, things are going to go very, very well here for a Bimelech, but he begins his power grab with that money and nothing good happens here. In Verse Five, they go back to the town with the seventies sons of Gideon are and kill all of them on one stone. But somehow, in some way, God has it so fit that the youngest of the brothers, Jotham, escapes and goes into hiding. And the name Jotham Means Yahweh, is blameless, which is a much better name than Abimelech. And so we have this. So we move forward to verses six through one, and in verse six because Gideon, or excuse me, Um Bimelech has done away with all the heirs to Gideon. The men of Sheke them come together and they now make a bimelech their king. And remember that Gideon had said my son will not rule over you, but here a Bimelech is trying to do that. And so he's being crowned King. But his very web said it's one thing to be crowned and quite another thing to rule. And so in verse seven, The Sun that escaped Jotham does a very heroic act. He goes to Mount Garrison, which is either in check um or on the border of check Um at this time. So he's going right in to the belly of the beast and he's going to go there and he makes a proclamation to the men of Seke Um concerning what they have done. And those of you who are part have been part of the parable study we've been doing might know that this is he does this by means of a parable that he gives. The parable is found in verses eight through fifteen. I'm not going to go through all of that. I'm going to summarize it. And though it is a parable, it also has elements of a fable in it. Because in this story the trees are actually able to talk, which again puts it into the rail of a fable. And...

...so the trees are looking for a king to rule over them, and so they go to three very noble trees that all have good functions and important functions, and so they are very good uh candidates to be the king, and so they go to them for what they produce. But all of the three that they go to reject the author of kingship because their place is to produce what they have, whether it's oil or grapes or whatever they're producing. They do not want to leave that. And so instead the trees go to the Brambo, which is also known by the Buckthorn. Now I don't really know for sure. There's different ideas, but I'm not sure what Buckthorne is in the Bible. But I do know what Buck Thorne is in Minnesota and it is considered a past and something you have to get rid of. If they come to your yard, like our city did at one point, and they see you at buckthorn growing in your lilacs, they will say they're going to come back and they're gonna take that buckthorn out because it's worthless, it crowds out other species, it's not a good thing at all and you'd want to get rid of it. And they get rid of it for free. That's how bad they thought the Buckthorn was. So that goes along with the parable, that the buck thorn of the Brambo is the worst of the trees that they now decide to anoint to be their king, when, of course, in the story the Buck Doorn, in case you missed it, represents a BIMELEC. And so in Verse Fifteen, the Buckthorn says, if in good faith you're anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade, but if not, let fire come out of the Bramble and devour the Cedars of Lebanon. The Cedars of Lebanon and the parable represent the men of check them and Jonathan. By this parable is prophesied that because of what they have done, there is going to be great trouble that is going to rise up between the men of Sheke Um and the people of Abimelech. Well, if the parable isn't biting enough and sarcastic enough, the explanation of the parable will do that in verses sixteen through twenty, and it's dripping with sarcasm. I Love Sarcasm, so so I love these kind of parts of the Bible. He says, if you have acted in good faith and integrity when you made Abimelech your king, well, no, no, they have it. That that sarcasm right there. If you have dealt well with Derobabo in his house and have done to him as his deeds deserved. Uh No, no, not true. Then he explains what his father had done to deliver them and what they have done in response, killing his seventies sons. In Verse Nineteen, if you then have acted in good faith and integrity with Jobba...

Bell and with his house, then rejoice in the BIMELEC. Well, they haven't, they haven't, so they shouldn't rejoice, of course. But in Verse Twenty says that if they haven't done that, which they haven't, then a Bimelech and the leaders of Shek Um should basically destroy each other, which is exactly what's going to happen. And so, after giving that prophecy, Jotham flees away to get away from the men of Skum, and that gives us an idea to in the scriptures which we find that it's not always wrong to flee danger. You know, sometimes people feel like well, you know, if they're get in great danger and they feel like, well, maybe I should have stayed and faced whatever that was, even if I met my death. But no, oftentimes in the scripture, godly men, even our Lord Jesus, fled when his life was in danger before the time, and we see that in the gospel of Luke that I'm sharing with you on Sunday mornings. Well, that's the story that I've just retold. I've told it to you and script here and then I've kind of retold it, but more to the point tonight I'd like to make some applications from this story that perhaps can help us in our life. The first thing I would mentioned to you is that it is a biblical principle that people usually get the ruler they deserve to have. Israel at this time deserved a Bimelech and that's who they got. And no matter how Abimelech becomes, the ruler doesn't matter because in the end, Paul tells the Romans, the powers that be are ordained of God. Now this is important to us because perhaps you, like me can sometimes slip into basically sin in dealing in this area, because they're all ordained of God, as Paul tells the Romans in chapter thirteen, he says, pay to all what is owed to them. Tag As to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, and honor to whom honor is owed. I wonder if you, like me, ever have problems with that, but I'm sure most of you, as opposed to me, cheerfully send off your check to the government and when it comes to April fifteen or eighteenth or whatever particular date it's falling on, and I wonder if you ever have trouble, when a particular leader might be on the opposite side of everything that you hold dear, to give that leader the respect that the position deserves. And again, I confess that I have to be very careful in that area. It's certainly fine to disagree with someone's politics and their policies. There's nothing wrong with that, but we do have to be careful to still give our leaders the respect in the honor of the Scripture says they deserve. And as bad as we think, our leaders maybe we...

...have to remember they're not as bad as the leaders that were in existence in our Lord's Day and the Apostles Day. Who are the leaders that were enforced during these days when Paul's writing telling us and the Lord's telling us and Peters telling us were to honor the king and to do all this? Who are the leaders? Well, you've got Herod Got Pilot, you got Caesar. Remember when Paul says I appeal on the Caesar, who was Caesar? That he was appealing to Nero. There's a great Caesar to appeal to. Write. Good move, Paul Uh that that's a guy that's going to be always fair to Christians. It would actually be hard to find a worse ruler, and certainly in our history of a nation we cannot identify a ruler as bad as Nero. But yet Peter wrights honor everyone, loved, the Brotherhood, fear God, honor the emperor. WHO's the emperor? When Peter Writes Nerol, honor the emperor. And let me just say as well, and I don't know if this applies to you, but I've seen it apply to others, that also applies, by the way, to social media and what you might write out there. So be careful. Just a warning there. But I want to go back to the main point of application tonight, which is the scripture, as I mentioned, plainly tells us the failings of Gideon at the end of his life. Now, why does scripture do that? Why does scripture tell us these failings of these men that we would want to look up to? Now there may be several reasons, but let me give you three reasons tonight that I think are very important. The first reason I think scripture does is to be a warning to us, a warning to tell us that, no matter how great God has used us, we have to be careful to recognize we can still fall. Now, all scriptures are full of warnings, not only by examples but by exhortations as well. Paul says to the Corinthians and First Corinthians ten twelve, a very apropos scripture to our text this evening. He says, therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. And God uses these warnings. People sometimes say, well, you know, if we can't fall away, why do we have warnings in Scriptures? Because part of the reason we don't fall away us because God has given us warnings and God uses those so that we don't and and and so we must always, as Peter Rights, that we must do all diligence to make our calling and election sure. And who would know better than that than Peter to write that? Who says, though everyone else would forsake you and deny you tonight? I will never do it, I will...

...never fall away, he said. But some of the greatest heroes in the Bible had the greatest failings, Peter, Gideon, David Samson. And so we are warned here to be careful, no matter how much we think we've achieved her how far we've come in the faith. We're warned that even those who have been greatly used by God may fall, and of course we've seen several examples of that in our recent history in the church as well. A second reason, I think, why scripture records the failings of its leaders and heroes is that we might always work towards restoration of the fallen. I've quoted this, I think, in Sunday school, but I'll quote it again for all of you. The saying. It says Christians are the only people who shoot their wounded in Galatians chapter five, Paul gives us one of those catalogs of sin that he's famous for, where he just writes a series of sins and a list he identifies these particular sins and Galatians five is the works of the flesh and there's some pretty bad sins listed there. Sexual immorality, orgies, drunkenness, divisions are all things that he represents to them and he goes on to say at the end of that catalog that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. I I think I you know, we have chapter divisions in the Bible and they do serve a purpose, but I think one of the ones that I hate the worst is Galatians six, the Chapter Division there, because I think it divorces something very important, that what God has joined together should not be put asunder. Because after Paul has said all that, and oftentimes we just end our Bible reading. Okay, I read my Chapter Chapter Five, but chapter six, verse one is integral to what Paul is saying in chapter five and we miss it sometimes because after he's cataloged all of those sins, he says to the Galatians, brothers, if anyone is caught basically in any of these transgressions, you that are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep Watch on yourself, lest you two be tempted restore the fallen. We are commanded to do that. Our Lord took the sheep that had lost and gone away from the fold, left the nine and nine and brought that sheep back with him. And so a second reason. Number one is as an example to U. Number two...

...is a reminder to us that failure should lead to restoration if at all possible. But the third reason I want to close with tonight is that God records this, I think, to give us hope in our own hour of failing. I want to do an experiment tonight. I want to give you a name from scripture and I want you honestly just thinking right away when you think about this name. I want you to honestly think in your mind. What is the first thing you think of when I say this name? What would be the first thing that pops into your mind, if you're ready the name? I mentioned it earlier in the message. Actually is a lot. So what came to your mind first? I wonder, did you remember how Abraham allowed a lot when he took him and brought him into the land with him, and he told lot that he could choose whichever land he wanted to choose first, and lot chose all of the best land and gave the worst Abraham. Or did you remember in the Bible how lot first pitched his tent towards Sodom and then lived in Sodom and finally became one of the men, one of the rulers in the city who sat in the gate in that wicked city? Or did you remember him sitting in Sodom and being taken captive by the king so that Abraham had to go and rescue him? Or did you think about him dwelling in Sodom in the midst of great wickedness and when the word of God came at that city was going to be destroyed, he couldn't convince one person outside of his own family and he couldn't even bring his own family out safely out of Sodom? Or did you think about him, at the end of his life, living in a cave with his two daughters, getting drunk and having incest with them and giving birth to two of the men who would be the heads of two of the great enemies that Israel would face, ammon and MOAB. Lots of bad things to think about from this guy. Much to choose from. But I wonder when God goes to speak about lot and when God decides to write an obituary about lot, I wonder what God says about him. We can if I were to ask you, could you come up with some adjectives to describe lot? I think you could come up with quite a few, but let me give you the reference in the scripture. God's final word on lot. Listen very carefully, and he rescued righteous...

...lot, greatly despread, distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked. For has that righteous man lived among them day by day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard. Did you hear God's three adjectives righteous, righteous, righteous, and, if you want to add the next verse, Godly? Can you see how much more gracious God is than us? In fact, when you read the New Testament and you read about Old Testament characters like Gideon, what God says about him is all positive. God doesn't say bad things about Gideon, and the New Testament, the writer to the Hebrews. This time fails me to tell about others like Gideon and barrack and Samson and Samuel. Think about those. You can come up with a lot of bad stuff out of that group, but God has nothing bad to say, and in all these references God lifts them up and speaks of their great faith. I close with this this evening because there may be some of you who are struggling with hope. Look at Your Life and say, Oh, to failure and I'm not doing well and things are bad and all of those things. But See, God doesn't see us as we see ourselves, does he? God and grace sees our failings. He knows we failed, he knows the things we've done wrong. But in grace God sees us in Faith and righteousness, in Christ, as his elect as believers. So, brothers and sisters, I want to close by saying don't despair, don't fear that God has rejected or in some way God is looking at you in a very negative way, but instead trust in the all gracious God who said a lot righteous, righteous, righteous. Let's pray our God and father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We do. Thank you we are often tempted to see the worst in people and, Lord, people we disagree with, people that are leaders that we might disagree with, we always see the worst. But Lord, help us, like you, to be people of grace and to understand that, Lord, and that, even though we disagree with many, would it be could we? Can we say, like the Apostle Paul, Lord, brother in my heartsts ire and prayer to God...

...for Israel as that they might be saved. Can we say, for I could wish myself accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsman? Can we say that about those, Lord, who we might even look at his enemies? But we marvel at your grace and we marvel, Lord, at how you may see us and help us not even to see ourselves. Yes, humility to bring us to you, but Lord, help us to know that you can see in US righteousness and faith where we might not see any, and give us the grace to not only see it in ourselves but to see it in others. Pray this in Christ name. Amen. CAN WE STAND.

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