Jotham’s pronouncement of a parable prophesying God’s judgment upon Abimelech and the people of Shechem foreshadows our own challenges with leadership today. Often those with wisdom and value, those capable of leading well, decline to accept such a role because they are aware of the cost. Meanwhile, brash, violent, arrogant men – ones who think of themselves much more highly than they should – convince those who will benefit from their power to place them in a role of leadership.
But the very characteristics that brought Abimelech to this role are then turned on those who supported him when they try to stand against him.
The lesson of the parable for us is that we should offer leadership roles to those who seek after God and lean on His wisdom, rather than those we think will benefit us personally. Those who rise to power through corruption and violence will continue in this same pattern, and even those who supported them are not safe from their threats.
Today is election day for our local government. This is our opportunity to choose those who will lead our city, as the citizens of Shechem chose their leader. May we choose wisely.