“And the trees said to the vine, ‘Come, you reign over us.’” (Judges 9:12)
And once again, the trees turn to another candidate for kingship, this time to one who is not even a tree at all, but a vine. Technically, the term that is used here, NRp‰…g (gephen), is a generic term that can be used to describe any kind of climbing plant, yet in the context of the next verse, it is clear that it is the grapevine that is being spoken to. Like the fig tree, the grapevine is a symbol of God’s blessing here in this life and in the next (Deuteronomy 8:8, Zechariah 8:12).
Once again, the trees are looking at two things when they choose a candidate for kingship: abundant fruit and small stature. They want a leader who will bless them with great fruit in the forest, but one that can be easily manipulated or trampled if need be. Is that not how we often choose leaders? Do we not often look at a candidate and begin by thinking, “what can this person do for me?” How often this mentality even shows up in the church when people vie for church offices.
For the trees, it was still, “all about them.” Beloved, as God’s people, it is not, “all about us,” indeed, it is all about God. Part of our maturing in faith is learning to allow God to be God and that means allowing him to be king over all aspects of our lives. Church leadership is about servant-hood, not rulership. Indeed, even political leadership should be about servant-hood, though that is not often the case. Lastly, let us never forget that our individual families are to be modeled upon the church, which means we as parents or grandparents have an obligation to be servant leaders in our homes as well, demonstrating God’s love to our children that they might grow up to glorify God as well.