Focal Passages: Judges 8:22-12:15
This is a very challenging passage of scripture in our study of a “People in Crisis.” It is a strong lesson teaching about the decline of a nation.
In chapter 8:33-35 we find a brief passage that shows us the apostasy of an unthankful people. In a short period of time the Israelites moved from worshipping God to forgetting Him and those who led them in the right path.
And now, because they had moved away from God they had opened the door to the arrogance of an ungodly leader. In our study this week we see that he used bribery, bloodshed and blasphemy to establish his position. He bought followers; he eliminated any opposition, and made a direct move of opposition to God by having his inauguration at Shechem instead of Jerusalem.
In the parable in chapter 9, we find the apathy of an uncommitted people. Each of the trees in Jothan’s parable all basically said, “No, I don’t want to lead, let someone else do it.”
As you look, there is a downward progression in whom they sought to be the ruler of the trees. It starts with the olive tree, the most valuable of trees in that day. It supplied oil, light and food. Its leaves still are a symbol of peace. This was followed by the fig tree. Capable of producing food, it was what Adam and Eve used to cover their nakedness. Both of these trees said, “No, let someone else lead.”
The fig was followed by the trees asking the grapevine. It was held in esteem as a symbol of wealth. To sit under one’s own fig tree and vine was a proverb denoting peace and prosperity (Micah 4:4). When each of these rejected the call, the trees turned to the bramble – fit only to be burned. Producing no fruit and no shelter, it is full of thorns and causes constant unrest. This parable is a challenge for those who are capable to step up and produce godly leadership. Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”