Jotham’s Warning

“So then, if you acted in faith and devotion when you coronated Abimelek, and if you have created goodwill with Jeruba’al and his sons, and if the honor due his works has been given to him — for my father fought for you and risked his life, and with that he delivered you from the hand of Midian — yet, you rose up against my father’s house on the day and slaughtered his sons — seventy men on one stone — and coronated Abimelek, the son of his servant, before the leaders of Shekem, because he is your brother — if then you have acted in faith and in devotion to Jeruba’al and with his house on this day, then rejoice in Abimelek and let him rejoice also with you.”

(Judges 9:16-19)

There is another principle that really ought to be addressed in this context, and that is the matter of loyalty to those men whom God has raised up to lead. Clearly, the men of Shekem are loyal only to themselves and to their own interests, that is the only explanation for what took place. Had it been otherwise, they would have submitted to the plan and design of God and not sought to raise up their own king…especially not one who was illegitimate.

Yet, how often we see churches acting much like these Shekemites. People dislike a pastor or an Elder in the church and seek to undermine his work. Or if they do not seek to undermine it, they don’t submit to his teaching or they simply find teachers who will scratch their itching ears. And sometimes they even rise up with the aim of removing these God-ordained men from their offices.

Solomon reminds us that a faithful, or a loyal man brings great blessings, but when we pursue getting rich by our own designs, we will be punished for doing so (Proverbs 28:20). Loyalty is one of the virtues to which Christians ought to strive. Society says, “to yourself be true (loyal).” The Bible says, be loyal to God. How does this apply to the church? When we are loyal to godly men whom God has raised up into leadership, then we are being loyal to God. When we are loyal to the Word of God which he has given to us, then we are being loyal to God. When we are faithful to submitting to the commands of God found in the Word we are being loyal to God. When we seek our own agenda, we are being loyal to self.

Hear the warning of Jotham, oh church; let it not fall on deaf ears. If you are loyal to God in God’s house then you will be a blessing to all. If you seek to bring about your own gain in God’s church, God’s hand of judgment will be upon you.

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