Judges 9:22-24 – God Doesn’t Forget
22 When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,
23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:
24 That the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren.
All of the sudden, the narrative here fast forwards three years. Abimelech has captured Shechem and has at least expanded his reign to one other city (9:41) and possibly even more. Even though it is three years later, God has not forgotten what Abimelech had done to his brothers. God now starts a chain of events that will fulfill Jotham’s prophecy from yesterday. God causes dissension between Abimelech and his followers.
It is important for us to remember that God does not forget our actions. He does choose to forgive us, and in His eyes, if we are saved, we are righteous (2 Cor. 5:21) and, in that sense, He forgets our sins. However, there are still consequences for our actions. Even though we might do wrong and suffer no consequences for a while, sooner or later it will catch up to us. Galatians 6:7 tells us, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” In other words, you reap what you sow. If we are sowing the wrong things, that is what we will reap, and those consequences should worry us.
God not forgetting anything, however, is also a good thing! It means that if we do what is right, God will not forget about that, either! Even though, at times, we feel like we are the only one who is doing right and nobody knows or notices, God knows. That should encourage us! If we never lie to someone, they cannot catch us in a lie. If we live this way, we do not need to stress about negative consequences to our actions because we are following God. It’s when we stray from that mode of operating that we need to worry about consequences.
What ends up happening in Judges is that, while the people of Shechem are trying to ambush Abimelech and rob travelers, a man named Gaal shows up and, while drunk, challenges Abimelech to a military battle. That night, Gaal gains control over the city, but Abimelech’s officer sends word of what happened to Shechem and Abimelech sends an army to recapture the city. The next morning, the battle takes place and Abimelech wins.
You might think that seems like the wrong kind of ending, but tomorrow we will see that God caused things to work in such a way as to accomplish His plan.
Life Step: Think about it…
What does it mean, “you reap what you sow”?
What kind of consequences do we experience for our actions?
What kind of things should it encourage us that God remembers?