Today's Reading: Judges 8-9
Hero worship is common when a people are desperate and long for someone to make things right. The people of Israel feel the unrest of trying to possess the promised land. They want a king like the nations around them. They love their heroes and think a king is the solution to all their problems.
Gideon speaks a phrase which will be repeated later in 1 Samuel: "I will not be your king, nor will my son; the LORD is your King!" (8:23)
An interesting parable told by Jotham follows in chapter 9. An olive tree, a fig tree and a grapevine, the three staple products of Israel, refuse leadership for they are busy producing fruit. Only the thorn bush, which is worthless, says yes to kingship, demanding worship and promising death to those who do not obey.
The LORD is your King!
This passage has poignancy today as I read the Passion narrative in John. Pilate and Jesus have a long discussion about kingship and kingdoms. Pilate, a puppet of Caesar's, seems to be uncomfortable with position of judge, especially when dealing with the Truth King---a king whose very nature is to provide the staple needs for his subjects, even to die for them.
Isn't it interesting how they mock Jesus with the crown of thorns, the appropriate crown for a false king, but not for the King of the Universe.
Any in leadership, heed this parable! Power is not given to lord over and demean those under you. Follow in the footsteps of the Servant King, who humbled himself and continued to give the olive oil of gladness, the sweet fig fruit of love and the crushed grapes of the cup of blessing.