“Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come, you reign over us.’” (Judges 9:10)
Do you see how the trees are trying to take the initiative over God? They first asked the one who would have been the rightful king and he turned down the job. Rather than turning back to God to bring them a king in His time, they start going to others—others who do not belong on the throne. And this is just what the people were doing. Gideon had turned down the kingship, so as soon as he died, they sought out another. And, oh what a mess they ended up with.
The fig tree is another staple fruit of Israel. In good years, it will bear fruit twice in a season—once early and once late. Its fruit is sweet and highly nutritious and their presence and imagery is a sign of abundance for the people. The promised land is a land described as a land of fig trees (Deuteronomy 8:8) and times of peace, both in this world and in the new creation, are described as a place where each person can rest under his own fig tree (1 Kings 4:25, Micah 4:4).
Yet, peace does not come to us when we seek to run ahead of God. The people were not happy with the fact that other nations had human kings and they did not have one, though how much more wonderful it is to have God as king. Through Gideon’s rejection of kingship, God was telling the people to wait for the appropriate time. They found that entirely unacceptable and went to another.
How often it is in our lives that we try and run ahead in our own time rather than stopping and waiting? How often do we receive a “no” from God and we proceed anyhow? Friends, trying to run ahead of God is never profitable behavior. God will work in his own time. That time is perfect and proper and we need to learn to be patient, waiting upon the Lord to open doors when he is ready.