“And Abimelek ruled over Israel for three years.”
To begin with, one must ask the question of Abilelek, “Was it worth it?” Yes, Abimelek did rule and he (in a certain sense) became the first king over Israel (at least in his own mind…truly, there would be future kings who would reign for less time than that even), but at what a great cost? No, I am not just talking about the murder of his brothers, though that in itself is significant. No, I am not just talking about the just curse of his one surviving brother, Jotham, but Jotham’s words must have haunted his nights.
I am not just talking about the fact that Abimelek will be remembered throughout history as a murderous usurper, though again, is that a legacy you wish to leave behind? Finally, I am also not just thinking of the man’s conscience, and how that must have haunted him during those three years of reigning. No, it is also the fires of Hell that this wicked man embraced. So, Abimelek…is three years of being king worth it?
True, it can be sure that Abimelek did not know the length of his future rule before he did what he did and might have considered that it would be far longer. Do we ever really consider the consequences before we do things as rash as the actions that Abimelek took? How many men and women fill the cells of our prisons because they did not consider the consequences of their actions?
Yet, on a more relatable scale, even, how many church leaders choose to do things without considering the consequences. How many people have laid waste to entire church congregations because of their hard-headed and stubborn insistence on their own way? How often have Pastors sought to rule their churches rather than to serve the flock that they have been assigned? How often have disgruntled parishioners ruined their pastor’s morale by the constant nit-picking that so often takes place in the life of the church. How often people have walked away from the church as a whole because their experience has been such that they are disheartened by professing Christians acting like children rather than seeking to live out the faith they profess? Abimelek’s sin may sound like something that took place in a far away location and at an unreliable time. Yet, if we are honest, Abimelek’s stand all about us every day. And, if that describes you, no, Abimelek, it was not worth it.