Wow, if ever a text applies to the daily lives of sinful humans, it’s this one. I hope you will go read it before our worship gathering this Sunday. Here again you can see the beauty of expository preaching and reading through entire books of the Bible. How much of the Bible should we read? ALL OF IT! This text contains the story of Abimelech who, of his own accord, decided that he deserved to be the king. Umm, excuse me! Isn’t God the King of Israel? And did He say you could be king? No.
This is so applicable to us because we find ourselves thinking and acting exactly like Abimelech. Sure, I know there are plenty of days that we are down on ourselves, feeling low, ashamed, and like we don’t deserve anything. Of course. But we typically bounce right back with thoughts of entitlement, and even though we may not announce them loudly to the world, we sure do think them internally. It’s usually those closest to us, kids, spouse, co-workers, who notice it the most.
Abimelech is Gideon’s son, one of 70 sons – WOW, that’s a lot of sons (beats Bill and Deb Graham’s 9 boys)! Gideon has just been used by God to defeat the mighty Midianite military with the tiny army of 300 men. In the aftermath the Hebrews want to make him their king. But he refuses to become king, reminding them they already have a king: “the Lord will rule over you” (Judges 8:23). God is their king!
So where does Abimelech come up with the idea that he should be the king? No doubt the idea was planted by Lucifer just like he planted the idea in Adam and Eve’s mind that they could become like God. But his own daddy had a hand in it too. Go back and read 8:22 and following. After the military victory, humble Gideon commits an extremely prideful thing. He constructs the image of a king, an ephod, and sets it up for all the people to come see.
It was a false god that everyone worshipped. Gideon knew exactly what was going on and he didn’t stop it, “and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.” His children grew up worshipping a false god, the image of a false king. And get this, Gideon named his son with a very peculiar name – Abimelech means “my father is king.” Hmmm…I wonder what Gideon was thinking when he picked that name? But we all know what Abimelech grew up thinking. In the long run we become like the one we worship.
Abimelech worshipped a false image of an imposter king. He grew up and made himself an imposter king, killing all but one of his brothers. Astounding evil! David worshipped his pleasures and on his rooftop that night became so much like his sinful pleasures that he had Uriah murdered. Solomon worshipped his wealth and many wives so much that he became the king that led Israel into deep idolatry.
We are Abimelech in the story. We all have worshipped false gods and have become like them. But we find great hope in the fact that there is one greater than Abimelech, one who is the rightful King of Israel, Jesus, the King of all Kings. And He didn’t demand that everyone treat Him like a king with bloody threats. Instead He made Himself nothing and went to the bloody cross as our substitute to pay the debt for all our false worship and demands to be treated like a king. By faith in His atoning death we now live free from our shameful idolatry and gladly follow the one true King laying down our lives and taking up our cross daily.