Judges 8-9 is the background for the message. Abimelech was one of Gideon’s sons. He was not God’s choice to be a judge or king over Israel. In chapter 8 Gideon reminded the people of this truth when he said this: I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you. We also see Gideon’s tragic mistake. He took gold and made an ephod, an image the people worshipped. He also made the mistake of having many wives and concubines. He had 70 sons. One of those concubines was a Canaanite woman; her son was Abimelech. In time Israel forgot about God.
Gideon’s death brought a struggle for Israel. Abimelech set out on a campaign to be the ruler. He had all of Gideon’s other sons killed….or so he thought. Jotham hid to keep from being killed. When he learned of what his brother had done, he proclaimed one of the first parables in 9:8-16 about trees and bramble. At the end of the chapter Abimelech is killed when a woman drops a millstone on his head. It must have been shameful to be killed by a woman because he begged his armor bearer to finish him off with his sword so people would not say he was killed by a woman.
Read the parable. There are some principles to note. The trees represent the 70 sons. The bramble represents Abimelech. We see the highest places occupied by the wicked. We need God fearing leaders who know Jesus Christ a Savior, but sadly good men have sat idly by. Look at what we have now. The only hope we have is God. The best of men may have the worst of children. There is no guarantee children will follow in your footsteps and obey the Lord. They may not get saved but they will not forget the training. Bringing up a child in the right way will more likely help them turn out right. We see an example in Samuel and David. Both were godly men with wicked children. The best of men may not be the best of fathers. We are to love our children, but we’re to also discipline them. God loves us, yet he chastens us when we don’t do as we should. That’s our example. Remember somebody is training your child. Abimelech picked up his mother’s way of life. You are responsible for your child no matter who is training him or her. School curriculum and television are teaching immorality. It has brought rebellion in our children. The training and correction has to start when the child is young or you’ll not be able to do it when they are older. The bramble in the parable is a type of antichrist. It represents evil. When the antichrist comes on the scene he will demand absolute obedience. Obey or die. He’ll cover up his intent at first, but it will soon be seen. Jesus Christ will come and defeat him. Thank God we’re on the winning side. The prophecies concerning the end times will happen. When it’s all done, we’ll be done with the bramble.
Someone or something is ruling your life. Materialism? Pleasure? They are not satisfying. Things don’t satisfy. It always takes a little bit more. People try sex, drugs, and alcohol but are still empty. I offer you a person–Jesus Christ–who will put your life back together. Only Jesus can satisfy your soul.