Tree or bramble? (Judges 6-11)

November 29, 2010

Writing this blog is a big commitment. I don’t always feel like reading the Bible, let alone writing something interesting about it. Today is one of those days. I’m so tired and my brain is not really working. I don’t have much to say and I have 6 chapters to read. Arg. So part of me thinks “oh I’ll just do it tomorrow” . But that’s how it starts isn’t it? When we commit to something and we love it at first but slowly life gets in the way and it becomes a chore, so we let slip, just a little at first… It could be making effort in a relationship, or doing bible study, writing a book, getting fit… So I thought I’d share with you that I’m felling like this. I’ll try to keep going though, because this important. Perhaps just to me, but important all the same.

So I won’t write much, but I will write about Judges 6-11. It seems to be mostly about the human relationship with power. First we meet Gideon, the weakest member of the weakest clan, who God gives the power to defeat Israel’s enemy. As soon as he has succeeded he seems to get blood lust, vengeance is his, not God’s apparently (8:1-21).

But Gideon is a kitten compared to his son Abimelech, who kills his 70 brothers (Gideon got around a bit it seems). After this act of mass murder he is made king of Israel; great choice guys!

His only surviving brother hears this and tells this parable:

8 The trees once went out
   to anoint a king over themselves.
So they said to the olive tree,
   “Reign over us.”
9 The olive tree answered them,
   “Shall I stop producing my rich oil
     by which gods and mortals are honoured,
     and go to sway over the trees?”
10 Then the trees said to the fig tree,
   “You come and reign over us.”
11 But the fig tree answered them,
   “Shall I stop producing my sweetness
     and my delicious fruit,
     and go to sway over the trees?”
12 Then the trees said to the vine,
   “You come and reign over us.”
13 But the vine said to them,
   “Shall I stop producing my wine
     that cheers gods and mortals,
     and go to sway over the trees?”
14 So all the trees said to the bramble,
   “You come and reign over us.”
15 And the bramble said to the trees,
   “If in good faith you are anointing me king over you,
     then come and take refuge in my shade;
   but if not, let fire come out of the bramble
     and devour the cedars of Lebanon.”

Cool story huh? It’s like something from Lord of the Rings (is that blasphemy??). This parable reminds me that we have to question the motivations of those in power and those who put them there. Are they fruitful? Or are they brambles? And if they are brambles what are we doing about it? Are we moaning at the TV or are we doing something useful?

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