Book of Judges Chapter Nine 
(Part One)

Introduction: A key idea in the book of Judges is that God blesses obedience and punishes disobedience. Today, we hope to discuss Abimelech’s tyranny.

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Read Judges 9:1-21

F. Abimelech’s Tyranny. Abimelech was Gideon’s son by way of a slave girl. Abimelech went to Shechem and persuaded them to make him their leader. He then had the sons of Gideon killed on one stone.

However, Jotham (one of Gideon’s sons) escaped by running away. Jotham came and hollered from a mountain side about how the people would suffer, if they have acted unfairly. He used a story about the king of the trees to make his point.

Applications –

- Ungodly ambition. Notice in vss. 1-3 of Judges that there are some people who have ungodly ambitions. First, “ungodly” ambition is when you want more than God wants you to have and when you do ungodly things to get what you want.

We should avoid ungodly ambitions, because at the end of the day, they will leave us short of what we really desire.

Second, we should be careful about allowing those with ungodly ambitions to rope us into their ungodly actions. Everyone who looks like us is not really for us. We should support that which is good, no matter who the people in question are.

And we should not support that which is bad, no matter who the people in question are. Let’s work on avoiding ungodly ambitions and being involved in ungodly plans.

- Idolatry and sell outs. Notice in vs. 4 that there are signs of idolatry and the hiring of reckless adventurers. First, anything or anyone that we put on the same level or ahead of God is an idol.

We can tell how important a person or thing is by what we are willing to do for it, especially when we do more for it than we do for God. Think about how some will do over time on a job but will not do any service work in church.

Second, we should not be like the hired reckless adventurers. We should have some principles that we stand on so strongly that people cannot even pay us to forsake them. Let’s work on avoiding idolatry and being people who sell our souls for a few dollars.

-  Mean and forgetful people. Notice in vss. 5, 16-18 that people can be so mean and forgetful. First, it was so hateful for Abimelech to have his 70 half-brothers killed on one stone.

In like manner, it is so hateful and terrible to see so much senseless violence in our communities today. In too many cases, it is violence among those of the same race and class.

Second, as in the Judges, people who have benefited from the sacrifices of others can so quickly forget. They can sit by and allow all kinds of terrible things to happen and declare that “I am not in it.”

We should strive to live in ways that honor the great ideas that those who have sacrificed for us to be here stood for. For example, we should stand for youth development, care for our seniors, and the wellbeing of every member, no matter who is in charge.

Let’s work on avoiding being mean and forgetful towards those things that should be dear to us.

- When to run and when to stand. Notice in vss. 5, 21 that Jotham hid and ran to be safe. In this life, there are times when we take a stand and face whatever happens. And there are times that we hide and run, until a better day.

We should seek God’s wisdom and courage to know when to do what. It is easy for people, who have nothing to lose, to tell you to take a stand. And it is easy for cowards to tell you to run. Let’s seek God’s wisdom and courage about when to run and when to stand.

- Illustrations and invitations. Notice in vss. 7-15 that Jotham used an illustration that pointed to how some invitations should be declined and some of those who accept should be treated carefully.

First, it is often helpful for us, as we minister to people, to use illustrations. The best illustrations are those that help the listener understand the lesson.

We would do well to listen to what people are talking about and observe what they are going through, so we can have helpful illustrations to draw from. Think about how this applies to one generation trying to minister to another.

Second, as with the trees in the text, every invitation should not be accepted. We should work on staying focused on what God has called us to do, instead of simply accepting every invitation extended by people.

We need wisdom to know when God wants us to accept or reject the invitations. Third, we should be careful with those who eagerly accept invitations of leadership. Sometimes they were just waiting for confirmation of God’s will, and all is well.

Other times, they are eager to be about the devil’s business. Again we need God’s wisdom. Let’s work on using helpful illustrations and seek God’s wisdom about accepting invitations and how to respond to those who eagerly accept invitations.

- Issues beyond our control. Notice in vss. 16-20 of Judges how Jotham was leaving the matter in the hands of the Lord. In like manner, there are times when we have to simply trust God to deal with those things beyond our control.

On one hand, we should make sure that we have done all that we can and should do. On the other hand, when our best is not good enough, we should work on trusting God to handle the rest.

Prayerful study and obedience with the support of other disciples can help us develop this kind of faith. Let’s work on trusting God with those things beyond our control.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being obedient, instead of disobedient. God has much for those who obey His will.

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