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"Now Gaal son of Ebed moved with his brothers into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him. After they had gone out into the fields and gathered the grapes and troddenthem, they held a festival in the temple of their god. While they were eating and drinking, they cursed Abimelech. Then Gaal son of Ebed said, "Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should be subject to him? Isn't he Jerub-Baal's son, and isn't Zebul his deputy? Serve the men of Hamor, Shechem's father! Why should we serve Abimelech? If only this people were under my command! Then I would get rid of him. I would say to Abimelech, 'Call out your whole army!' "When Zebul the governor of the city heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry. Under cover he sent messengers to Abimelech, saying, "Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem and are stirring up the city against you. Now then, during the night you and your men should come and lie in wait in the fields. In the morning at sunrise, advance against the city. When Gaal and his men come out against you, do whatever your hand finds to do." Judges 9:26-33
God built us to rely on/look to/put our full confidence in Him. And how incredible He did because He is always faithful to do what is in our best interest. By putting our full confidence in Him and relying on Him, we get to experience His faithfulness. The One who can not and will never fail or forsake us. But sin entered the picture, allowed by God to make way for Him to show Himself as the Rescuer, Redeemer and Restorer. And now our natural tendency is to idolize, to put our full devotion, confidence and hope in the created, in people.
The Israelites first thought Abimelek was the greatest guy ever, the one who was going to be for them. Then their hopes are dashed and right away they find another to lift up in his place. Enter Gaal. What is in our hearts comes out of our mouths clearly seen here. "While they were eating and drinking", going about the normal course of life they started down-talking/dishonoring their authority which never ever works out well. An entire book could be written about dishonor and the effects of it as well as the beautiful fruit of honoring each other especially our authorities. I have been a missionary to college students for 11 years and twice I have seen ministries almost completely fall apart because of dishonor. Because of gossip and talking down about people especially the leadership. It is an ugly, ugly thing. And right here in Scripture we are seeing it unfold. Nothing ever good comes from gossip. Zebul heard and got angry which leads to telling Abimelek and telling him how he should respond. The snowball starts with the ignition of a word.
But in contrast the Lord honors, He speaks highly of people. Even people who don't deserve it. Like the sinner who pours oil on his feet and washes them with her tears. A sinner, someone who deserves no honor, Jesus thinks is worthy to praise and speak highly of in front of a crowd of "important" people. Jesus honors the faith of the bleeding woman. Jesus brags about people. How crazy is that! Surely if the King of the Universe can speak highly of people, so can we even if we don't agree with everything about them or the way they do things.
Oh Lord, thank You for Rescuing us from our idolatous hearts. Thank You for enabling us to trust and rely on You more than people. Thank You for honoring people, for thinking so highly of us. Oh Lord make us more like You. Help us be people who honor others, especially those You have put in charge over us. We love You.
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