I was standing next to a woman and noticed she had a chess game in her bag. I told her I had a board just like it.
“It’s my son’s. He’s really good at playing chess. He beats me all the time. He knows where he wants to go and how many moves it will take him to get there,” she paused. “Isn’t that just like God too? He knows all the moves it takes.”
22 After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, 23 God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek. 24 God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers. (Judges 9:22-24, NIV)
Part of the road to Gideon’s victory is tainted with resentment and vengeance. A people take an occasion to honor God and turn it into idol worship. A brother conspires against his family for his own power and gain, a drive that is merciless, scheming, and murderous. Years pass. Lives are lost. And in an unexpected turn, God uses the unexpected to achieve his goal–a mortal blow hastened to an end by a trusted servant.
50 Next Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. 51 Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. 52 Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.
54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’” So his servant ran him through, and he died. 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home.
56 Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelek had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. 57 God also made the people of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them. (Judges 9:50-57, NIV)
Likely, Gideon never imagined the events that would follow his victory. But God knew. And this story emphasizes to me that in the crazy, the unthinkable, the deceitful and vengeful things of life, in the loss and injustice I witness, there is a just God who knows. He is so many steps ahead and already working things out toward an end he has known all along.
Lord, I don’t know all the details. But you do. Your word prepares my heart and gives me a perspective, a hope, and a gratitude of your sovereignty, might, and justice. Who would I be without your mercy, faithfulness, and love? Oh, to know that no matter what, you hold me in your hand. Thank you.