Judges 9:16-21 – A Clear Conscience
16 Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands;
17 (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian:
18 And ye are risen up against my father’s house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother;)
19 If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you:
20 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech.
21 And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
Guilt is a funny thing. Jotham here is telling the people of Shechem that if everything they did to Gideon’s family was honorable, then they should have nothing to worry about and be happy with Abimelech as their ruler. However, if they dealt wrongly with Gideon’s family (which they did), then their actions would result in their and Abimelech’s mutual destruction.
The lesson here is for us to have a clear conscience is of the utmost importance. We need to make sure that everything that we do is with integrity. Abimelech and the city of Shechem did not act honorably. If they had, they would have a clear conscience and nothing to worry about and Jotham’s prophecy would have never come true (which, as we will see in a couple of days, it will come true).
When we live our lives in a way that gives us a guilty conscience, we ought to worry about the consequences. It is because of our own behaviors we have a guilty conscience to begin with! Proverbs 28:1 tells us, ‘The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” If we live in a righteous way, we will have nothing to fear!
Think of it like driving. If you are speeding and you see a cop, you usually hit the brakes and start checking your rearview mirror to make sure he is not coming after you. However, if you are following the speed limit, you know he will not pull you over because you hadn’t done anything wrong. Life is like that. When we live right, we do not need to worry about the consequences of our actions because they will be good consequences, or at least not self-cause negative ones. We ought to live with a clear conscience and not have to worry about our conscience because we know we are doing right.
Life Step: Think about it…
What kind of things do we do that result in negative consequences?
What kind of consequences could be avoided if we lived in a right manner?