“Be wise as serpents…” Matthew 10:16
Not only does the Word give us guidance as to how to live righteously but it also gives us insight as to how evil operates. I suspect this is in the hope that we should avoid coming under the rule of unrighteous men. In Judges 9, we read how the tyrant Abimelech rose to power:
- Firstly, “he had no call of God to this honour …” (Matthew Henry Commentary) He was a usurper.
- “None would have dreamed of making such a one king, if he had not dreamed of it himself” (Matthew Henry Commentary)
- He appeals to them on the basis of ethnicity: “I am your bone and your flesh.” (Judges 9:2)
- He eradicates his potential competition. He slew his brothers, seventy men! (Judges 9:5)
- The city he first approached to gain followers was a strategic city, Shechem being an influential city. Yet, many of the citizens of Shechem were themselves unrighteous, thieving men (Judges 9:25).
- He got money out of them, having persuaded them of their advantage: “Which is better for you…?” (Judges 9:2)
- Abimelech was unlikely to be a righteous leader being backed by idolaters. (Judges 9:4) (Proverbs 14:34) (Jonah 2:8-9)
- He hired soldiers from the rift-raft of the land, ungodly men themselves. (Judges 9:4) Do righteous men knowingly fight for a tyrant?
- Abimelech and his deluded followers did not heed the warnings of the righteous (Judges 9:7-20)
- Strife is inevitable among the ungodly. So, dissent arose between the unholy citizens of Shechem and Abimelech. Evil is intrinsically selfish and self-centered and so the unrighteous can never truly trust those with whom they have surrounded themselves. We’ve all seen this played out, how the robber kills his accomplice to get more of the loot. So, here also we see this played out. (Judges 9:23-25)
- Evil will eventually be judged. Abimelech’s demise came through the boldness of a woman defending her town. (Judges 9:53) God uses the “weak” things of the world to accomplish deliverance. (Remember Deborah and Jael? Judges 4)
The good news is that evil is inevitably doomed to destruction (Revelation 20:12-14). Nonetheless, we would be wise to not allow evil to rule over us in the first place. Therefore, let us teach our children the full counsel of God including how to spot usurpers, tyrants, antichrists and deceivers that we may live in peace under righteous leaders who have a heart for justice and are submitted themselves to the God of Abraham, the Great I AM, YHWH, Yahshua, Jesus Christ!