Today’s Reading: Judges 9:22-10:18
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely! We all know of individuals who’ve been seduced by power and do whatever it takes to get to the top. As we look at the story of Abimelech it reads like a screenplay written to demonstrate the pitfalls of Human wisdom. To fully appreciate the wisdom God means for us to glean from this passage the question we must ask ourselves is what’s wrong with doing what seems right in our own eyes? There are at least four obvious areas where Human wisdom fails.
Justify – In the opening verses of chapter 9 we find Abimelech and the people of Shechem trying desperately to justify their own desires. The truth is that without a God-centred standard for right and wrong there can be no such thing as justification because my desire and your desire will eventually come into conflict so doing what seems best to me in my human wisdom can never Justify.
Unify – The unholy alliance between Abimelech and the Shechemites has predictably begun to unravel because when we rely upon human wisdom there is no unifying standard. What makes me happy eventually will make you unhappy. Without Godly wisdom, people are only unified by a desire to use another person or people for one’s own goals, a passing common goal. We see this clearly in game shows where alliance are simply made to make the game easier at a later stage.
Satisfy – Shechemites got the king they wanted, a ruler who was their brother, but now that they’ve got that, even that isn’t enough. There’s a simple reason why this happens, when we seek to please our sinful nature we are unsatisfied because God didn’t create us for that, he created us to be in relationship with Him, to bring glory to him with our lives. Therefore ultimately what seems right in our own eyes always fails to satisfy compared to Godly wisdom.
Fortify – Doing what seems right in our own eyes offers no shield about us. It does not fortify. Not in this life and even more importantly it does not shield us in eternity. Ultimately the schemes and plans of both Abimelech and the people of Shechem left them unprotected, the curse of Jotham, rang true, and their human wisdom, their selfish ambition led them to the grave.