Trees are something we don’t think about that often even though they 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 true worship 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 Sunday at our church.” There is only one loaf. It’s not our church and your church, it’s The Church. 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? 1 Corinthians 1:11-14 NASB. Sadly, Christ has been divided by men, doctrines, and men wanting 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.
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 really just a thorn bush. It bears no fruit and really 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 and craftiness and evil was in his heart. I have seen this sin among God’s people. 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 that we cannot even produce. A bramble bush is only two feet tall and mostly thorns.
Who wants to be the king? Men have loved honor and the applause of men more than their Creator. If men really wanted revival then they would repent. Revival is not one man or one woman standing up and talking to a bunch of people in pews. Revival causes men to forget their favorite sports team is playing, and it causes women to forget who has a sale at the mall. It causes people to cry out over the lost and the sins of a nation. How can you have brokenness in pews and people on fire for The King of Kings, if it’s missing in the pulpit? We don’t need a KING, we have Yeshua the Messiah. The Church has not wept or cried out, we have been too busy being entertained by our Baal worship that we mingle with our Christianity. We have removed the Jewishness of our faith and created our own gods.
The Father gave me a dream the other night. In my dream, I was watching a television show when an emergency news bulletin came on. It was like you would see for tornados or storms and it said, “There has been a gas leak at the church. Repeat, the Church has had a major gas leak.” The gas slowly leaks out and we become sleepy. We lay down and doze and then we are DEAD! Yes, dead, pretending to have church and waiting for men to pat us on the back and tell us that we are preaching well, that we sang well, that we are anointed and so powerful. Poor King Abimelech wasn’t able to shade anyone, he was a thorn. Yeshua had this to say.
“They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and YOU ARE ALL BROTHERS. “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. “DO NOT BE CALLED LEADERS; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. “But the greatest among you shall be your servant. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:6-12 NASB.
The olive tree knew his gift and what he was created to do. He did not need to be king. This was also apparent in the other trees. What a glorious feeling that is. A temptation is given to the olive tree. There is always some glitz to being a king. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. He showed him all the kingdoms of the world and he said,
“I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” Matthew 4:9 NLT.
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.
Photography by Ândrēw Yīsrâ’Ęl