Judges 10:1–9 (ESV)
After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, and he lived at Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. And he judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried at Shamir.
After him arose Jair the Gileadite, who judged Israel twenty-two years. And he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities, called Havvoth-jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.
The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they forsook the LORD and did not serve him. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites, and they crushed and oppressed the people of Israel that year. For eighteen years they oppressed all the people of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. And the Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah and against Benjamin and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.
Time out. To save Israel? Tola “arose to save Israel?” To save them from what?
Themselves, of course. Their only problem lately has been themselves. They don’t need Midianites to ruin everything. Left to their own devices, they ruin everything just fine.
And notice how the spiritual evils and the secular evils go hand in hand. Chapter nine showed that left to their own devices, the Israelites go at each other’s throats. The desire for power was just as destructive as anything else. It’s destructive, not because of the nature of power, but because of the nature of the desire for power. People don’t just casually want power; they crave it. They’re addicted to it; they’re slaves to it.
Now chapter ten gets back to the main plot line of Judges, which is showing how, left to their own devices, the Israelites always start serving other gods.
Power is just another god.
The New Testament teaches how an idol (or god) doesn’t have to be some little statue made of gold or whatever. It’s typically thought of as something like money.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” — Matthew 6:24 (ESV)
The link between Matthew 6:24 and today’s lesson is the word “serve.” The question, “Who do you serve?” is the same as, “Who is your lord?” or, “Who is your god?” Just as we can serve money so that it becomes our lord, Abimelech (and his enemies) served their quest for power.
Abimelech never really was king. The quest for power was king.
These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.