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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

DOES A BRAMBLE RULE YOU

Judges 9:14-15 Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

The setting for this text took place immediately after the death of Gideon, who hadpreviously ruled Israel as its judge. According to the verses preceding the lesson text, Abimelech, Gideon's son, then went to Shechem to his mother's family to rally support for his succession as judge of Israel. The poll that was taken indicated that Israel was inclined to want Abimelech to lead them as judge. It was also noted that after Gideon's death, Israel turned to the idol worship of Baalim and Baal-berith. With Israel as an ungodly nation, Abimelech, as it is written, hired evil persons to follow him. He immediately went to his father's house and killed all of his seventy brothers in order to secure his position as judge of Israel. However, his youngest brother, Jotham, by hiding, escaped being slain.

After he was told of this slaughter, and the assumption of the leadership of Israel by Abimelech, Jotham went to Mount Garizim, and there related the following fable to the men of Shechem (See Judges 9:7-13). It went something like this: The trees of the forest decided that they needed a king to reign over them. They first asked the Olive Tree to rule over them. The Olive Tree was probably the most useful tree in Israel because it supplied anointing oil for the tabernacle, oil for lamps to illuminate the darkness, and oil for preparing food for their nourishment. The Olive Tree indicated that it was the most profitable tree in the forest butrefused to be their king with this question: should I be promoted over the trees? Likewise, the Fig Tree was asked to reign over them. His reply was, as the tree with the sweetest fruit, should I be promoted over the trees? The Vine, when asked to reign over them replied, as the supplier of all wine, should I be promoted over the trees? All refusals to become their kingwere in the form of a question.

Then, according to the lesson text,the thorny Bramble, the lowest form of vegetation in the forest, was asked to reign over them. The reply of the Bramble was, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow.Although other trees were statelier, more magnificent, more useful, more desirable, etc., yet the trees selected the Bramble to lead them. The Bramble in this parable is Abimelech. Although born to a concubine of Gideon, and having slain seventy brothers, it is said of the people in Judges 9:3, that their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech.

God, through His Son, Jesus, has so much to offer those that choose to follow Him. Life on earth will be more blissful, productive, and satisfying, but the greatest blessing is that which follows life on earth - an eternal life in Heaven. Satan, on the other hand, has worldly things to offer his followers - things that have no benefit beyond the immediate satisfaction of worldly desires while here on earth.

How do we choose our King today? Do we want Jesus Christ as our King, or would we rather follow Satan? Do we want to sacrifice the things of this world for the future benefit of a home in Heaven? Or, do we want to have it all now, in this lifetime, and forfeit the eternal blissofHeaven? We must make this choice each day of our life. Do we choose the Tree of Life - Jesus Christ, to rule as our king, or do we choose the thorny Bramble - Satan, to lead us?