“And Abimelek and all the men who were with him went up in the night. And they lay in wait outside of Shekem under four heads.”
And thus we have the wicked laying in wait for the wicked. How appropriate that the bramble (Abimelek from Jotham’s parable) is laying in wait amongst the fields just as a weed begins to grow up and suffocate the grain around it. Abimelek has divided his people into four groups, each under a captain (a “head” or a leader). From the text there seems to be little significance to the number of groups apart from the fact that now the city is surrounded on the north, south, east, and west. There will be no escaping the onslaught of the Bramble’s wrath.
“The guilt of sin traps the wicked; with ropes, his sin takes hold.”
The end of the matter is this, the sin of man will destroy him, but it also destroys those who sit idly by and permit sin to flourish in their midst. As Christians we are called to “do justice” (Micah 6:8) and a large part of doing justice is calling to account those wicked men and women in the culture around us and resisting them while also separating ourselves from the destruction they create. How sad it is that the very word, “justice,” is often appropriated by those who use the word to serve their own political ends…that is not justice, it is injustice. Biblically, justice means caring for those in your midst who cannot care for themselves, giving a voice to those who have no voice to lift, and punishing the wicked for their wicked and selfish acts. And that is not just justice, it is what James calls “true religion” when combining it with keeping oneself unstained by the world’s wickedness (James 1:27).
How sad it is that more people seek to follow Abimelek’s example than Jotham’s…even in the church…using the church for their own gain or to serve their own ends. Yet, the true church does not belong to the people, it belongs to Christ. In turn, we must seek His ends and His purposes, not our own.