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Dear Jotham,

Until recently you have been a rather unknown name to me, and from the horrible account in Judges 9 I understand that we could have lost you forever. The only survivor out of 70 murdered (well, 69). What a trauma! Often I have thought that these cruel mass-killings were part of a history long ago –but I’m am sad to say that humanity does not seem to have improved. The forces behind, the struggle for power, come back in new disguises all the time.

Your parable-like speech in Judges 9:7 touches me. I can see why it was dynamite to the ruling king. A prophetic criticism that he must have fully understood. The olive, the fig and the vine, not willing to take up leadership. But the thorn bush volunteered to do it in a threatening way. In the time of the Judges you were striving for a better “organization”, but you were also aware that the outward structures do not solve everything. If we fill them with people who have wrong motives to lead, we get the situation that your story describes.

But there is also another angle to your parable that I would like to hear your view about. Why did some of the trees say ‘no’ to becoming leaders? Why do some people whom we consider to be good leaders decline the wishes from others?

I am just about to share your parable with a friend who resigned from being a leader when the structure became too big. As a pastor he was eaten up by meetings, administration and emails – and his distance to the people grew longer. Is that what the olive tree, the fig tree and the vine saw?

But does this also mean that we actually get wrong leaders sometimes? How do we pray for better discernment when choosing leaders?

Any reflections from your side?


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Comment by Jonathan Mbuna on November 21, 2017 at 7:50

Well, my first born son is Jotham and when I saw the salutation dear Jotham, I was forced to read.. Its been long since I read and reviewed some articles  here



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