The Foolish Choice!
"All the trees said to the bramble, 'Come and be our king.'
The bramble said to the trees, 'If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon!'" Judges 9:14-15
This is the first parable in the Word of God, and it is very instructive. It was to the Shechemites, who had anointed a worthless bramble to be king over them; and it is so to many among us who imitate so foolish an example.
"All the trees said to the bramble, Come and be our king!" Sinners readily unite in evil; they renounce their allegiance to and dependence upon Jehovah; and unitedly display their folly by putting themselves under the government of some bramble!
It may be Satan--who reigns over all the children of disobedience.
It may be lust--which rules in all ungodly people.
It may be pleasure--which commands the poor unsettled worldling.
It may be worldly cares--which extend an iron scepter over many men of business.
It may be riches--the love of which drowns multitudes in destruction and perdition.
It may be honor or the applause of the multitude--which has attracted many into the whirlpool of destruction.
It may be a proud, haughty, unbending temper--which is as tormenting a bramble as any man can well appoint.
These are all base brambles, effects of the curse--and yet they are appointed by many to rule over them. Being under their influence or control--is like being under the government of a bramble; it is base--it is injurious--it is degrading. All who yield to such influence--subject themselves to misery, disappointment, and woe!
If the bramble is appointed--it will reign. "If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade." If I am to be king, honor me as such--let me reign. Trust in me for comfort, security, and peace.
And is not this just the conduct of the multitude? Are they not looking for comfort and security, from their lusts--pleasures--riches--honors--applause--or the indulgence of their tempers and passions; to anything and everything, rather than the Lord! But as soon may the bramble in nature produce grapes, or the thistle figs--as for any, or the whole of these brambles--give real comfort, solid peace, or true security. Jesus alone can give what we need--and yet very few appoint Him to reign over them.
But if the bramble be appointed it must be trusted, or its subjects be cursed. "If you will not honor me--then let fire come out of the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon!" Be true to your allegiance--or be consumed. The traitor in any cause is justly condemned. You have made your choice--be true to your profession; for the strongest must fall, if proved guilty. If all the trees appoint the bramble--then the bramble will destroy the cedar, if it proves traitorous. Just so, the lusts, pleasures, or passions we now serve--will one day witness against its, and condemn us. Hell will be kindled by the fire that breaks out of our own follies.
Reader, see the folly of worldly wisdom--it only leads men to appoint a bramble to reign over them! See the arrogance of forbidden things--they demand entire subjection, constant fidelity, and full reliance! See the danger of subjecting to any but the Lord--fire will come forth of them and consume them!
Note the consequence of false dependencies--destruction! Destruction as by fire. Sinner, no one is fit to reign over you, but Jesus. He alone has the love, pity, wisdom, wealth, and forbearance necessary! Renounce your allegiance to all others, place your entire dependence on Him, and appoint him to reign over you.
He reigns in righteousness.
He rules in love.
His laws are just.
His government is wise.
His subjects are safe, happy, and honorable!