Following the Sun, 04JAN – #1357

Standard

“One day you’ll look

To see I’ve gone

But tomorrow may rain

So I’ll follow the sun.

Some day you’ll know

I was the one

But tomorrow may rain

So I’ll follow the sun”

What an interesting Beatles lyrics I woke up humming, “For tomorrow may rain, so I’ll follow the sun.” I can’t say they are related to a dream or this next scripture, but I know that they convey the thought: you don’t know what you have… that DOES relate to much of the winding tales in the book of Judges, the Israelites not knowing how to SOLELY worship God, they get distracted and fall off the path.     They just keep breaking their peace.

Gideon was quite the warrior after beating the Midianites, which he did by listening to God (Judges 8). Gideon killed many who did him wrong, he also gathered a following (and had 70 sons by many women), but in all the people had a stretch of peace. He did say the Lord would rule the people, however one snare to his people was when he made an item of gold from people’s earrings, set it up and they worshiped it falsely. They later wandered in their worship of false Baal gods. Off-track… 

The Shechem were very swayed by someone claiming to be worthy of power, but not appointed by God, Gideon’s son Abimelek, who hired scoundrels and killed all but the youngest of his 70 brothers. The youngest Jotham called to the people and chastised them in asking: Have you acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelek king? Jotham uses a great comparison to asking a thornbush to rule over trees but becoming the cause of a consuming fire that destroys. God does just that and the unsettled situation, caused by God to teach a lesson, brings destruction on those Abimelek followers and even Abimelek dies when a rock is dropped on him.

The Israelites go back to knowing God IS Lord Almighty, listening again, following God-appointed rulers, for a time. 

God sets up these conversations again and again, then and now: don’t follow false gods, like the song: 

Some day you’ll know, I was the One…  We want to learn more of who He is and what He stands for, we can teach that too.

Are we willing to remember that people who don’t always listen to God tend to pull us in one direction or another? Or do we just wander into distraction? Can we listen to God and come back? He wants us to hear Him, not follow the sun but the Son.

We are like Jacob and wrestling with God and often fighting against His Plan for us, He touches our hip, puts it out of whack for us to notice we are fighting the ALL-POWERFUL GOD. We must stop and listen enough before it’s too late and the end comes without us being attached to Jesus who continues to reach out for us. We don’t want to miss the boat, nor the opportunity to worship and listen. We don’t want to attach ourselves to the thornbushes and be consumed by our lost way.

God values the basic most important thing: LOVE. We don’t always have to understand the trials, but we need to stick with the Lord. 

Other may forget us, but God doesn’t. 

REMEMBER THE LOVE. 

REMEMBER THE LORD. 

AMEN 

Judges 8-9 excepts

Gideon’s Ephod

22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.) They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it. The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.

Gideon’s Death

Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.

Jerub-Baal son of Joash [Gideon’s original name] went back home to live. He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek. Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.

Abimelek son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother’s clan, “Ask all the citizens of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?’ Remember, I am your flesh and blood.” When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelek, for they said, “He is related to us.” They gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelek used it to hire reckless scoundrels, who became his followers. He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding. Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelek king.

When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’

“But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’

“Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’

“But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’

“Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’

“But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’

“Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’

The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’

Have you acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelek king? Have you been fair to Jerub-Baal [Gideon] and his family? Have you treated him as he deserves? Remember that my father fought for you and risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian. But today you have revolted against my father’s family. You have murdered his seventy sons on a single stone and have made Abimelek, the son of his female slave, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is related to you. So have you acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today? If you have, may Abimelek be your joy, and may you be his, too! But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelek and consume you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelek!”

Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelek.

After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek. God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers. In opposition to him these citizens of Shechem set men on the hilltops to ambush and rob everyone who passed by, and this was reported to Abimelek.

Next Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.

Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’” So his servant ran him through, and he died.  When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home. Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelek had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. God also made the people of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them.

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