|Volume 18 Number 2 February 2016||
Ernest S. Underwood
Joshua called upon the people to “Choose you this day…” There are some good biblical examples of men and women who were faced with choices who made the right ones.
Moses “came to years” in Egypt. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Moses chose to forsake all that Egypt was to him, and he chose to serve with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Joshua, in his farewell address, and after calling on the people to make their choices, stated, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” David had a choice to make. He, like Moses and Joshua, made the right one. In Psalm 119:30 he said, “I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.”
Mary, the sister of Lazarus, made the right choice, and Jesus stated that this would not be taken away from her. In Luke 10:38-42 we read, “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. When Martha complained, Jesus said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.’”
What choices are you making? Will they get you to heaven?
Adam B. Cozort
Within the confines of Judges 9 is one of the most imaginative fables told by man. It reminds one of Aesop’s Fables in its vivid depictions and moral lessons. It is a wonderful example of the diversity of the Scriptures and their ability to connect with man on many different levels and through many different styles. It is the fable of Jotham, but before considering the fable, understand the background of it.
Abimelech, the son of the great judge Gideon, sought to be the King of Shechem. When approached with the possibility, the men of Shechem were more than willing to provide him with the arrogantly desired crown (Judges 9:3-4). To secure his throne, Abimelech went and killed all 70 of his brothers, with the exception of Jotham who hid during the slaughter (vs. 5).
When Abimelech formally became king, Jotham went to Mount Gerizim on the outskirts of Shechem and cried out to the men of Shechem:
Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 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. (Vs. 7-15)
The moral of the lesson is that sometimes the one who desires the position of power the most is the one who is least fit to hold it, and he will destroy even the mightiest of his opponents. Jotham would then convict the men of Shechem of their betrayal of his father, Gideon, and all for which he stood (vs. 16-20). He, then, fled the region while Abimelech reigned over the people of Shechem.
The fable of Jotham is an excellent illustration that needs to be remembered in our society today and taught to our children. Many still have not learned the lessons of Jotham’s Fable. Yet, it must be remembered, because there are many brambles ready and willing to destroy a willing people.