Judges 9:7-16 is a parable delivered by a man who saw his family slaughtered by mercenaries. Jotham is shocked that the people of his nation are seemingly unmoved by injustice, the killing of innocent life, and corrupt leadership. Jotham realized that most are too afraid, busy, or apathetic to step into the ring of public service. Jotham marches into town and offers a parable. This story is as applicable today as it was in the book of judges.

The Speech
7 Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and cried out. And he said to them: Listen to me, you men of Shechem, That God may listen to you!

The Parable
8 The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, Reign over us! 9 But the olive tree said to them,Should I cease giving my oil, With which they honor God and men, And go to sway over trees?

Too Busy to Help

10 Then the trees said to the fig tree,You come and reign over us!11 But the fig tree said to them, Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit,And go to sway over trees? 12 Then the trees said to the vine,You come and reign over us! 13 But the vine said to them, Should I cease my new wine, Which cheers both God and men,And go to sway over trees?

The Thornbush king rules when good people stay too busy

14 Then all the trees said to the bramble,You come and reign over us!15 And the bramble said to the trees, If in truth you anoint me as king over you, Then come and take shelter in my shade; But if not, let fire come out of the brambleAnd devour the cedars of Lebanon!

The Challenge
16 Now therefore, if you have acted in truth and sincerity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as he deserves…

Do we complain or get involved?

Do we care about the murders of innocent life?

Do we remember those, like Gideon, who fought for our freedom?

For evil to prosper, good people need to stay busy being productive is the forest – ignoring the flames.

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