Judges 9:1-6 – Sometimes We Get More Concerned With the Doing than Just Being

Posted: September 4, 2017 in 07-Judges
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Judges 9:1-6

Abimelech Rules Over Schechem


Recently, I have been reading the book, Conformed to His Image, by Kenneth Boa. It is an interesting read and it’s one of those books where you highlight a quote on average about every five pages and I am 283 pages into the 511 page book. The basic tenor of the book that I am gathering so far is that we must seek God’s presence and seek to please Him first before we do anything else in ministry. When we let ministry overcome our love for God and the desire to please Him, then we get off track. If we look upon our situation and what is happening with others then, we get off track.




I think that combined with what we learned from this passage is something that God is trying to teach me. When God deals with me, He has to do it from multiple sources and from multiple avenues for me to get it. Oh yeah, God, I see what you’re saying now. I am not the brightest bulb in the marquee. So, God has put the giant finger on what He is trying to point out to me by repeating the message in multiple different ways. As I have discussed with you before, here, that I have been struggling with why God has not yet opened the doors to full-time ministry to me as we sit here three years after graduation.




It’s not that I am destitute or anything. God has blessed me with an amazing secular job as comptroller of the company that I work for and it has enabled us to be generous to our church, to friends, and to family. With a wise and frugal Proverbs 31 wife by my side and the job that the Lord has blessed me with, the distance he has allowed us to travel from near financial disaster when I met my wife to where we are now is amazing. We are not rich by any means but God has provided amply for us and we are comfortable not chasing the Jones such that we only have debt on our house. So, please don’t feel too sorry for me. God has blessed us immeasurably.




However, I know in my heart that God has called me to ministry full-time and we know that it will be a change in our financial picture. We have been preparing for that reality for some time now. The struggle comes from wondering when God is going to reveal that people that need us and that people we need. The struggle comes from not knowing. I have applied for many pastoral positions over the past three years and have come tantalizingly close on one occasion and have had numerous first interviews. It all has become very frustrating for me. I know that I want to serve my Lord full-time. I used to think it would be at my church but things have happened with hiring decisions there, of which I have no issue with, that make it clear that God has other plans for my full time ministry. Just what is that? How do I know? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Am I just completely missing the boat here? What am I not seeing? What am I doing wrong? What is it that I need to be doing that I am not doing? Is there some secret pastoral handshake and hand signals that I am not giving? Why am I not seeing what needs to be seen? My greatest fear is that I am looking west when God is placing the obvious signals in the east (over vice versa, but you get my drift I am sure)? Am I just deluding myself? Notice all the “I” statements here.




The thing that I has become apparent in these last few weeks of reading this book by Kenneth Boa and watching the horrendous way in Abimelech achieves his power is that I must first love God with all of who I am.  Then and only then will he open the door that I have been waiting for Him to open. I do not want to become an Abimelech that is self-seeking and has selfish desires in pursuit of what I think is the right thing. Along with these two sources of message, my wife and I have been doing a dinner-time devotional the last two weeks. We have been going through the Psalms as we eat dinner in the evening. The one thing that is apparent so far is that no matter the circumstance, David is teaching his readers about loving God. We must trust the sovereignty of God.


What I need is more of God and less of me. What I need is to be less concerned with what is and what is not happening horizontally. I need to be more concerned about loving God. That’s it. Just loving God and pleasing Him. What could be simpler? Just loving God and trusting Him and praising Him and allowing Him to have my back and having complete trust in that. Just loving God with all my heart, all my soul, and all of my strength. Just loving God. Not what God can do for me. Just loving God Not what I want Him to do for me. Just loving God. That is what God is telling me. Don’t be Martha fretting and worrying about the details when Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, is in your living room. Instead of all sound and fury, be quiet be still and hear from God. It is like pedaling like crazy on a stationary bike and not getting anywhere. When we get all furious about the things we are doing for God, the things we want from God, the things we want God to do for us, we forget to just luxuriate in the presence of the Almighty Creator of the Universe.




Although I am not a cold-blooded murderer like Abimelech, I do see in him how we can lose focus on eternal things and simply get caught up in selfishness. In Scripture, we are warned against selfish desires and allowing such desire to get in the way of loving God.




·         It is written that “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (James 3:16).




·         Paul tells us in Philippians that we should “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3–4).




·         If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1–4).




Just loving God is the message. When we are about just loving God, the scales will be removed from our eyes and the ministry will become clear. If we concern ourselves less about the results, the plan, the what, the when, the where, and the how, and just be with God. It is like the love we have for our significant other or spouse. Just being with them is more important that what we do together. Spending time in the presence of the one we love is often what we treasure most, not the what, the when, the where, and the how.




So with that in mind, let’s read about how we can become consumed with selfish desires and lose complete sight of God, in Judges 9:1-6:




9 And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s [a]relatives, and spoke to them and to the whole clan of the household of his mother’s father, saying, 2 “Speak, now, in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that seventy men, all the sons of Jerubbaal, rule over you, or that one man rule over you?’ Also, remember that I am your bone and your flesh.” 3 And his mother’s [b]relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem; and [c]they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our [d]relative.” 4 They gave him seventy pieces of silver from the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, and they followed him. 5 Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself. 6 All the men of Shechem and all [e]Beth-millo assembled together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the [f]oak of the pillar which was in Shechem.




Here, in this passage, we see that Israel’s king was to be the Lord and not just a man. But Abimelech wanted to usurp the position reserved for God alone. In his selfish quest, he killed all but one of his 70 half-brothers. People with selfish desires often seek to fulfill them in ruthless ways. We, as Christ followers, just as anyone else, must examine our ambitions to see if they are self-centered or God-centered. Here, Abimelech is blinded to the things of God by his lust for power. He is blinded by selfish concerns. He begins to define what is right for him instead of God.






How often, in the name of Jesus, we seek to fulfill what amounts to selfish desires that we cloak in righteousness by our own definition. How often do we get so busy doing things for God that we forget the proper order of thing – God desires first and ours second. When we get so busy doing things for God we sometimes forget to just be in love with Him. We get so busy doing what we think that God wants instead of just being in love with Him. It is the just being in love with God where we exist in His fullness and His presence and being desperate to seek His face that we find the doors that He will open for us. We cannot get so busy with the things of God that we forget to be with God. Let us not let our own definitions of what is right in God’s eyes replace listening to what He says is right and true and real for us. Let us be a people that will patiently wait for God to reveal what His intentions for us are. But above the calling that He places on our heart is that we love Him with everything we have and that we pursue after Him and live in His love and live in His presence. Everything else comes falling into place when we can do that.




Just love Him with every fiber of our being first. Then, everything else falls into place. Then, we have eyes that are ready to see what He wants us to see. Then, we are ready for the calling He has on our lives. So, the takeaway. Just love Him. Just seek Him. Just exist in Him. When we can find our completeness, our rest, our joy, our needs met, our peace in that, we are then ready for His calling on our lives.




Amen and Amen.


  1. Love this, and love you!


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