“Then all of the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’”
The final candidate is the bramble — אָטָר (atar) — a thorny bush that has no real redemptive value — it is simply fit for the fire (and even in that, the bramble does not produce much heat — Psalm 58:9). The rule of thumb is that if you look hard enough for someone to take advantage of you, well, you will eventually find one. History is filled with examples of the catastrophic effects of actions like this.
In principle, these events are reminders of what Paul speaks of toward the end of Romans 1. As the people will not bow to the God of creation, but instead, prefer to bow to things in the created order or to the works of their own hands, he gives them up to their depravity. The bottom line is that God does restrain our sin and the sin of society to great degrees. Yet, when the people rebel hard enough or consistently enough, God gives them over to their wickedness and removes his hand of restraint. Sin unrestrained will cause a society to implode upon itself.
Yet, this does not just happen in societies and communities, it happens within churches as well. Often, for one reason or another, the truth of God is compromised. Whether the justification seems good at the time, when you compromise the Truth of God’s word, that one compromise always leads to another, and another, and another. Before long, the Bible is no longer held up as authoritative, but becomes simply a book of good suggestions. And when that happens, the church is no longer a church, but just an organization that gathers as a parody of the true church. Such are the effects of seeking to go about matters in man’s fashion of things rather than in submission to God’s Word.