Day 49 of 240 Days Bible Reading Group 3947 Chapter 9 to 13
🔨 ⚔ Abimelech had only one aim – to gain power – for himself, for his glory. All the judges till that point had used God-given power & authority to serve God by protecting & delivering His people from the hands of their enemies. Abimelech however was in full & outright rebellion against God. He did not love God or His people. He only wanted the glory of the title.
>> Thus, he had no qualms about killing his 70 brothers, nor did he think twice about burning alive 1000 people. [Jdg 9]
🔨⚔ In the story of Jesus’ birth we encounter a character like Abimelech – Herod the Great. History tells us that Herod was an Edomite who practiced Jewish customs & built the grand temple that was standing in Jesus’ days. But we know from his actions that he was a man who worshiped SELF above God.
⚔He grabbed power and held onto it by whatever means possible. He murdered his wife and her family. He killed Antipater his own firstborn son. And then, when he felt threatened by the news of Jesus’ birth, he ordered the slaughter of infants & toddlers. [Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica]
🚩 We may look at them and think that they are extremes, and that we are not like that. BUT their lives stand as a grim warning of what Man is capable of when he worships SELF ALONE.
🚩 We think we are free when we are doing what WE want. But that is when we are actually slaves, influenced & manipulated by satan to do his will & expand his evil kingdom. [Rf 2 Tm 2:26]
✝ Tucked away in the Book of Judges are 5 men who never fought a battle, yet, they were used by God to bring justice & peace in the land. Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon [Jdg 10:1-5, 12:8-12] Like these men, most of us are never going to do ‘superhero’ kind of things for God. But our everyday choices have eternal consequences.
Each time we obey God, not SELF, satan’s kingdom is pushed back a little more. We establish God’s Kingdom on earth one choice at a time. God sees and delights in the unsung victories we win in the hidden places of our hearts.
✝ And then we have a nameless heroine: Jephthah’s daughter. Jephthah was very specific in his vow >> Whatever came out his house to greet him, would be offered up [‛âlâh – rising up in smoke], as a BURNT offering [olah] . [Jdg 11:31]
Jephthah’s daughter wrestled with her father’s vow, but she made a choice to lay down her life to honour & fulfil her father’s vow. No one would have blamed her if she ran away, but she chose to submit. Whether she was physically offered or she remained a virgin, she made a choice to honour her father by fulfilling his vow.
✝ In her we see a tiny shadow of Jesus honouring His Father, by upholding His Father’s promise that He would send a Saviour. [Rf Gen 3:14-15, Is 53:4-12]
✝ Jesus won the battle against satan by not holding on to His life… by committing it into the Father’s hands. [Rf Phi 2:5-11, Luke 23:46]
🎼 At Christmas we sing – “O little town of Bethlehem”… One line always catches my attention - ”And He is our childhood’s pattern”.
🎼 We hold up Jesus’ obedience to Mary & Joseph as a pattern for our children to follow… Do we take Jesus’ obedience to the Heavenly Father as a pattern for US to follow?
Lord Jesus even as we celebrate the love which led You to lay aside Your Glory… enable us to follow Your example and lay aside our pride and the sin that so easily snares us… May we reflect YOUR glory more fully. In Jesus Name. Amen.