Trees are something we don’t think about that often even though we are trees! And in Hebrew each month represents a part of the tree. These beauties supply us with an abundance of food, furniture, heat, spices, and even syrup. In the book of Judges, there is a fable that includes talking trees.
The story is set in a city called Shechem. Gideon fought for the people there and saved them out of the hands of their enemies. The people tried to make Gideon KING, but he said the Lord Adonai should rule over them. Wise words. Gideon had many sons–seventy, to be exact, and after he died, his son Abimelech, wanted to have the people’s esteem. He wanted a crown.
So here is Abimelech: he is a man with a mixed heritage, part Israelite & part Canaanite. He is Gideon’s son by a concubine. He is from Shechem – a mixed town of Israelites & Canaanites. This town is infiltrated with mixed-up Baal worship that combined elements of truth with false idolatry. It held to the worship of Baal. Have you noticed, everything in Abimelech’s life is MIXED-UP? Does this sound like some of our religious systems today in Christendom? A little bit of the world mixed in? One person wanting to be king.
Have you ever listened to people discuss their religion? They say things like, “At Joel’s church they had a great worship leader,” or “We went over to Bob’s church,” “We had 159 in attendance at our church.”
There is only one loaf. It’s not our church and your church; it’s The Body and the assembly of His people. Paul said, “For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now, I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1st Corinthians 1:11-14 NASB). Sadly, the Body of Messiah has been divided by men, doctrines, calendars, sacred names, and men who want to be The King.
Abimelech goes to his father’s house and kills his brothers, the sons of Gideon. All seventy of them! Well, except one, who fled and got away. His name was Jotham (Yehovah is perfect!)
Then the men of Shechem crown Abimelech king. Jotham runs to the top of a high mountain and looks down on Abimelech and the people below, and this is what he says, “Listen to me, O men of Shechem, that God may listen to you. “Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ “But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’
“Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come, reign over us!’ “But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’ “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come, reign over us!’ “But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?’ “Finally all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come, reign over us!’ “The bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon’ (Judges 9:7-15 NASB).
What a joke! This reminds me of election time. These men are about as able as the bramble bush to offer some shade. A bramble bush is just a thorn bush. It bears no fruit and isn’t good for anything. The only thing to do with such a prickly, thorny nuisance, is throw it in the fire for kindling.
The thorn bush they chose as their leader was the least of all the trees. Abimelech had little knowledge or wisdom–craftiness and evil were in his heart.
We can slaughter our brothers and sisters as Abimelech did. We do not want to be like the bramble bush who boasted great words, offering shade we can’t even produce. A bramble bush is only two feet tall and mostly thorns. We want to focus on our own walk. Shema, hearing Him and obeying Him. Keeping His Commandments, this is what causes restoration.
Who wants to be the king? Men have loved honor and the applause of men more than their Creator. Revival is not one man or one woman standing up and talking to a bunch of people in pews. We don’t need a KING; we have Yeshua the Messiah.
When Christianity removed the Jewishness of our faith, and we created our own gods, we became as mixed up and mingled as this man and his lineage. But thankfully, many eyes and ears are being opened, and the Father’s Torah is spreading like wildfire and His Feast days are being upheld once again, as they should be.
Poor King Abimelech wasn’t able to shade anyone; he was a thorn. Yeshua had this to say.
“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12 NASB).
The title of king is one few can handle. God always takes care of it in the end, just as he did with this bramble bush.
“Now Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. “Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, so that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers” (Judges 9:22-24 NASB).
Every year during Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, 70 bulls are sacrificed for the 70 nations. Isreal offers a sacrifice for each nation. One day (all 70) will be one with Isreal. The two shall become one. Two sticks become one in His Hand and He will do it.
Photography by Ândrēw Yīsrâ’Ęl