About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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Our Moral Deficiency


A good understanding of the Old Testament will go a long way to help us understand how God interacts, not only with individuals, but with nations.


In Judges 9 we learn about Abimelech.  His father was Gideon, and his mother was Gideon's slave girl.  Abimelech had 71 half brothers which is central to his story.  After Gideon died Abimelech began his campaign to lead Israel in his mother's home town.  There he gathered a following who funded his campaign with one and three quarter pounds of silver from the local temple of Baal.   


Since there were no live televised leadership debates back then, Abimelech had other ways to defeat his opposition.  He simply killed them, all 70 of them, who just happened to be his brothers.  Politics was one nasty sport back then.  After his opposition was eliminated the people crowned Abimelech as their new leader.     


It's obvious that those who wanted Abimelech to lead them knew that his moral character was more than a bit deficient.  He financed his campaign with money from the temple of Baal, but worst still, he killed his own brothers on his ascent to supremacy.  Amazingly this didn't bother those who supported him.   


Abimelech was a shrewd and brutal leader, but as long as he offered people personal peace, prosperity, and security, they'd gladly submit to him, despite his deficient moral character.  However, their support began to waver once people realized he was only interested in his own personal power, peace, prosperity, and security.  This resulted in social upheaval.  People were becoming agitated and hostile to one another.  They were steeling from one another and killing one another.  Their society disintegrated into one chaotic mess.  Israelis became their own worst enemy, committing national suicide.   


Judges 9 ends with the collapse of the Israeli social order.  In the attempt to overthrow Abimelech, many Israelis were killed.  Abimelech himself was killed when a woman shattered his skull by dropping a heavy rock on his head.  To avoid the embarrassment of being killed by a woman, he had a servant stab him with a sword.    


You might think the collapse of the Israeli social order under Abimelech was strictly a matter of internal unrest and deficient leadership, but there's more to it than that.  In Judges 9:23 we learn that "God sent an evil spirit" into Israeli society to escalate the social unrest that already existed.  Sending this evil spirit into Israelis society was an act of judgment by God that caused Israel to collapse in that particular generation. 


The reason why God sent this evil spirit is important.  It tells us how and why God interacts with nations today.  Abimelech was morally deficient and as long as he offered Israelis personal peace, prosperity, and security, they gladly supported him.  They didn't care about his moral deficiencies because they were just as morally deficient.  Morally deficient leadership and the  support of such ungodly leadership is the issue at hand here.   


Here's what we learn from Judges 9.  God does interact in the affairs of nations.  When a nation prefers personal peace, prosperity, and security, over godly leadership, He will not only step back and remove His hedge of protection from that nation, He might well send an evil spirit into that nation to further disrupt the normal social order.  The end result is that the nation collapses from within, not from without.  The nation becomes its own worst enemy, committing national suicide.


I suggest that what you read in Judges 9 is paralleled in today's western nations.  Note the lack of moral integrity in our leaders.  Note how that doesn't matter to the electorate.  Note that the electorate prefers personal peace, prosperity, and security over godly leadership.  Note the ongoing scandals in government.  Along with this, also note the increased agitation we see in people today; in riotous street protests; in the madness on talk radio; in nasty debates on the 24 hour news networks; and on internet blogs.  Note the financial chaos.  Note government deadlock that prohibits sound economic policies from being implemented.  Note the moral decay in government, in law, in education, in the media, in the family, and sorry to say, in that which is called church.  Why is this taking place?  Could the Lord have already stepped back from us and removed His hedge of protection?  Has He now sent evil spirits into our nations to accelerate the unrest and chaos in our social order? 


My guess is that many Christians don't even know that the Lord could or would send an evil spirit into a nation let alone their nation.  You can read Judges 9 and the rest of the Old Testament to draw your own conclusion about how God interacts in the affairs of nations.  And, while you're doing that, read 2 Chronicles 7:14 to see if it has any relevance to our present deficient social order.  If it has any relevance, then note who is responsible to bring change.  It's certainly not our morally deficient leaders. 

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