Millstones & love
In youth we are doing a study of various religions with a focus on how Christianity is different. Wednesday the question of why there is such hatred and friction between Muslims & Jews came up. To answer, I went to the whiteboard to draw the family tree of Abraham which included Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, and Isaac. I told the kiddos that if they liked good dramas to turn off their TV’s and open the book of Genesis!
The same could be said of the book of Judges. After Gideon defeated the Midianites, he went back home and lived to a ripe old age. During those years, he had 70 sons from his many wives plus one son from his concubine, or slave girl. During his lifetime, Israel knew peace as Gideon followed God.
No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again ran after pagan gods. It was in this setting that Abimelech, the slave woman’s son decided to take over. His scheming led him to murder his 70 brothers… well, 69 actually as one escaped and fled for his life. Chapter 9 gives the details of the happenings in the life of Abimelech but for now I want to fast forward to his end.
During his siege of a particular town, the residents piled into a strong tower for protection. As he approached the entrance, a woman dropped an upper millstone from the top of the tower and out of all the men below, the stone hit Abimelech on the head and cracked his skull. Realizing his death was near, Abimelech ordered his armor bearer to finish him off with a sword so no one could report that he was killed by a.. a WOMAN! O, the irony of his wish considering the words God included in the Bible.
So what can we learn? After Abimelech’s murder of his brothers, he was proclaimed king by the ones who helped him with the massacre. For three years, he was in charge and during that time, I’m sure the God-following people wondered why God allowed such actions and why it seemed God did nothing about the injustice and evil.
Don’t we do the same thing today? We witness the evil acts of others, see grave injustice around the world, and wonder why God doesn’t seem to be acting.
Then I read of this evil man storming this tower in all his might and this woman who three a millstone over the top. Was she aiming for him? Perhaps… but if the stone was as heavy as I’m imagining, she may have used all her strength to just get it over the top with the hope that she would slow down the raiders at least a bit. Yet what she did as a random act, God directed to the evil Abimelech.
This story reminds me that God is not blind to the happenings in this world. It also reminds me that God has a plan and that oftentimes deliverance comes in the most unexpected ways through the most unexpected people.
Today, I want to be like that woman. I want to make this world a better place by throwing out a millstone … of love. Then I want to ask God to take that love and target it to just the right person.
Lord, thank you for your Word! When the evil bombards me today, help me to heave a giant heap of love over the top of the tower that you can direct and use for your glory. Amen!