A Father’s Despair

Gideon served the Lord many days, and is listed as a man of faith in Hebrews 11.  He was blessed with seventy-one sons, a sure sign of God’s blessing.  When Gideon died, he surely took pride in seeing these numerous sons and thought of the “multiplication” that would result from them in the future.

But it was not to be.

Abimelech son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother’s clan, “Ask all the citizens of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?’ Remember, I am your flesh and blood.”

When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.”  They gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelech used it to hire reckless adventurers, who became his followers.  He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding.  Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelech king.Judges 9:1-6

Imagine the cry that Gideon would raise if he were to witness this!  Only two of his seventy-one sons would survive this tragedy.  Remember – this fratricide event happened among God’s chosen people!  What is God trying to tell us through all of this?

All I can think of is this:  God is reminding us that the world is a broken place, and is not what He originally intended it to be.  Tragedies of murder, disease, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. are meant to drive us toward a reliance on God.  This world is NOT our home…


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