Licorice is a herbal medicine that is extracted from the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra. It is a somewhat sweet flavored extract. Due to the sweet flavor, it is used in various ways because it makes other herbal medicine more palatable to eat and to work more smoothly. But even this kind of good licorice is limited in usage for some patients. This is because it causes the body to accumulate salts and water, which causes bad effects on those who have high blood pressure or heart diseases.
Even herbal medicine that is used in many ways is useful in some medicine but not in some other medicine. When it is put in some medicine, it works in a good way. But if it is put in some other medicine, it can cause side effects or bad results.
- The trees that don’t wave, other trees and brambles
In Judges 9, Jotham the son of Gideon lifted his voice and called out to people of Shechem. First of all, let’s look at the background leading to him call out and make an analogy of the olive tree, fig tree, vine, and bramble.
The sons of Israel were inflicted by the people of Midian because they had committed sins before God. For them, God set Gideon as their judge and let him defeat a great number of Midianites and achieve a victory with only 300 people. As a result, the Israelites asked Gideon to rule over them.
Gideon refused saying to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you.” But after he died, his concubine’s son Abimelech plotted with greed to become their king.
Abimelech persuaded the people of Shechem, who were the relatives of his mother, and gained silver from them. With it, he hired worthless and reckless fellows, and let them kill his 70 step-brothers all at once. Fortunately, Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself. In the end, Abimelech became the king with the help of people of Shechem. Hearing about this, Jotham couldn’t stand it.
He went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and called out. He made an analogy using the olive tree, fig tree, vine, and bramble. In the story, trees want to choose their king. In turn they wanted the olive tree, fig tree, and vine that bore beautiful fruits to become their king. But they declined to wave over other trees and refuse to be the king. But, without knowing its position and being worthless, only the bramble arrogantly wanted to be the king.
Gideon and his other sons didn’t desire the throne even though people asked them to be their king. But only Abimelech, who was the son begotten by Gideon’s concubine, became the king through means of wickedness. In the retribution of God, the people of Shechem were destroyed by the one who they had made king over them. Abimelech died a miserable death with his skull crushed by a millstone which a woman threw down onto him. Everyone has his own position and duty, but if he goes beyond it, it may lead to unhappiness.
- Duty of each at his own position
Everyone has his own position, his works to do, and his duty. Duty refers to what men should do in the right way. Children should serve their parents, and siblings should have good relations with one another. The young should respect the elderly. When we do our duties this way, it is said we fulfill our duties. Parents have duties as parents and the same with husbands or wives. Pastors also have their duties as pastors and the church members also have duties.
A pastor should teach believers to cast away every form of evil and live in the truth perfectly. He should lead them to love God and lead victorious lives with hope for Heaven all the time. The members should obey their pastor, change into righteous and sanctified persons, and be faithful in all the households of God, because it is their duty.
Parents must not provoke their children to anger and should bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. The same goes with married couples. Wives should serve their husbands as their head and take care of their household properly. Husbands should protect their family and love their wives just as Christ loved His church.
How do we have to act in the hierarchical society? Ephesians 6:5-7 reads, “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.”
Here is the duty of superiors. Colossians 4:1 says, “Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” In this way everybody has his own duty in his own position. In order to become a truly righteous man we should fulfill our personal duties.
- A Christian life without swaying
The same goes with churches. No member of our body is insignificant. Every and each member of our body is precious in its position. We should know that we are the members of the Lord’s body, and consider one another precious. So we must not give hard times to others and hate or fight with one another. When we fulfill our duties well in our own positions, we can be deemed to have true love in the sight of God.
God wants us to value our duties, cherish one another, and try our best with pride. If we stop doing our God-given duty saying, “That duty looks better, so I will take it over”, then how can it be said we are right before God?
The olive tree in the Book of Judges refused to become the king and said, “Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?” The fig tree also said, “Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?” The vine also said, “Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?” But the bramble simply swayed according to others’ asking.
It is very important to know one’s own position and duty and keep it. All parts in the Lord are important. God repays us according to how hard we try to fulfill our duties and how we act. I hope that through this lesson of the bramble, you will keep to your position in any kind of situation and become a blessed person.
- The situations where we must not sway in a Christian life
Until we stand on the rock of faith in our Christian lives, we must not sway. After standing on the rock of faith, we will not sway to the right or to the left no matter how harsh tests or hardship we are faced with. With such an unshakable faith, we can go straight toward whatever will of God and will always achieve a victory without falling into temptations of Satan.
We must pray on a regular basis so that we may not sway. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives as His custom, and always rejoiced, gave thanks, and unceasingly prayed. He also prayed on bended knees fervently and earnestly. He didn’t pray to achieve what He wanted to achieve, but He prayed for everything to be done according to the will of God.
We also must not sway in our love. We should realize the love that God has given to us and we must love Him unchangingly until the end. Our love should become greater. The love for the Lord, love for God’s holy temple, love for the shepherd, love for brothers and sisters in Christ, love for souls, and love for our God-given duties; all these must not be corrupted.
We should not sway in doing volunteering services and preaching the gospel. How happy and proud will God feel when we testify to the living God and lead people out of darkness to the Light so that they may live a blessed life? I urge you to do your duties without swaying in any situation as well as working faithfully with all your heart and all your will so that you will bear beautiful fruits and become a blessed person.