Introduction: All of us have had times when we thought that something was so important in the moment, but later on we discovered that it was not worth it (e.g., car, relationship, career, etc.)? This series helps us see that some things are just not worth it. Today’s discussion centers around how God repaid wickedness. The thesis is, “We should trust God’s timing and faithfulness with repaying wickedness.”
1. God can allow so much wickedness. Notice that by vss. 21-22 that God allowed 70 brothers to be murdered, an unanointed king sits for three years, and Jotham suffers the trauma of seeing all of this injustice on top of his fleeing from his home because he feared his brother.
First, like Jotham, you may feel as if God is allowing so much wickedness in your life (e.g., family, friends, job, community, church, health, etc.). Second, as bad as things may be, like Jotham, God is keeping you through your bad situation.
Sometimes God keeps us from bad situations, but many times He keeps us through bad situations (e.g., Noah and 40 days of rain, Joseph and the pit and prison, the Hebrew boys and the furnace, Daniel and the lion’s den, Jesus at Calvary). Let’s be mindful that God may allow a great deal of wickedness, but He is also keeping us through it all.
2. God can be trusted to deal with wickedness. Notice in vss. 23, 56-57 that God repaid the wickedness. On one hand, God can work in some mysterious ways (see vs. 23). But remember that God handles God stuff, and you are to handle the stuff God assigns you to handle. God thinks differently than you think (see Isa. 55:8-9).
But on the other hand, we can always count on God to deal with wickedness. Habakkuk 3:17-19 should express how you feel and behave, while you wait on the Lord. We can cheer about how God is working things out for the good of His people (see Rom. 8:28) and how we are already more than conquerors through Christ (see Rom. 8:37). Let’s work on trusting God to deal with wickedness on His time and in His way.
3. Abimelek’s kingship was not worth it. Notice in vss. 55-56 that Abimelek is killed. Even though he won the battle and sat on the throne for three years, he died in a civil conflict with a terrible legacy.
If you are like Abimelek, remember that only what you do for Christ will last. This is not only about longevity and legacy on Earth. More importantly, it refers to your standing at judgment (see I Cor. 3:10-15; Rev. 20:11-15). Let’s remember that temporary pleasure is not worth paying the consequences in eternity.
4. Shechem’s standing with the wrong doer was not worth it. Notice in vs. 57 that the people of Shechem were destroyed. They stood with Abimelek because of their relationship with him more than any sense of God wanting them to do it. They behaved in the spirit of John 12:42.
Remember that God punishes the sin of omission (see Jg 5:23; Mt 25:45; 12:30). Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Let’s remember that the pleasure we get from being loyal to wrong doers or trying to stay out of standing for God’s will, in the end, it will not be worth it.
5. Jotham’s stressing out was not worth it. Notice in vs. 21 that Jotham fled in fear. We should behave as if we know that vs. 57 shows God repaying those who had been wicked to Jotham. Isaiah 54:17 is a great passage to keep in mind when you are tempted to stress out about the wickedness around you.
Don’t be like Moses who mishandled his situation. He made a bad situation worse (see Num. 20:11-12). We should make church a place where we remind one another that God may not come when and how we want Him to come, but He can be trusted to show up at the right time and in the right way.
We should remind one another of the teachings in Psalm 37:1-4. Let’s work on trusting God, even when we don’t understand Him.
What is one thing you will take from this session and work on, in regard to your discipleship goals?