A Pretentious Duo

The land of Israel is filled with historically rich cities. Not rich in the sense of monetary wealth but of biblical historical significance that spans thousands of years. You might initially think of places like Bethlehem, Caesarea, Capernaum, Jericho, Nazareth, Jerusalem, etc. But one such city we might not place in our top five, and should, is the city of Shechem. The importance of Shechem takes us all the way back to Abraham when he built his first altar to the Lord after arriving in the Promised Land (Gen 12). Other important men like Jacob, Joseph, and Joshua are noted to have either passed through, worshiped, or interacted with the city of Shechem in a significant way (Gen 33-37; Duet 27, Josh 8:30-35). Israel renewed their covenant with the Lord in Shechem (Josh 24). Nefarious individuals were crowned king here (Jud 9; 1 Kings 12). A temple of the Lord was erected in Shechem (Jer 41). It was in Shechem where Jesus engaged with the women at the well and many believed on His name (Jn 4). Shechem remains a testament to God’s faithfulness to this day. The very pillar that Joshua raised up as a reminder of Israel’s covenant to the Lord (Josh 24:27) remains intact, or at least in part. The tragic events that unfold in our text this week would not have taken place if Israel had reminded themselves of their covenant with Yahweh. And yet, the stone that witnessed Israel’s renewed commitment that day also witnessed the bloodshed and treachery of Israel’s rebellion years later. In Judges 9 we are told of a power struggle that takes place between two godless individuals, Abimelech (Gideon’s son) and a man named Gaal. Conceit is sown, a plot is hatched and murder unfolds on a scale difficult to imagine. Pretentious behavior and its heart of pride must not be ignored. As subtle as it seems, the act of forgetfulness is where it all began (Jud 8:34). It is why the faithful leaders of Israel stress one’s need to remember the Lord and His mighty deeds time and time again (Deut 4-12, 31, 2 Kings 17, Ps 78, Jer 3). Lest we become forgetful, take the time to rehearse God’s goodness and the wonder of His matchless grace in your life. Guard your heart from pride by hiding His precepts in your heart. Or as Proverbs instructs us, “Bind them around your neck and write them on the tablet of your heart” (3:3). The testimonies of the Lord are ever before us. May we have eyes to see and hearts to remember. –Pastor Nate

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: Adversaries Hinder the Work–Ezra 4:1-16

10AM: Pastor Nate–A Pretentious Duo–Judges 8:27-9:57 (sermon notes)

6PM: Living in Harmony–Philippians 4:1-9

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