In the story of Gideon, God is very active. His angel appears to him and speaks to him. God answers his fleece on several occasions. God’s call on Gideon is affirmed at every turn. In contrast, God is silent in the story of Abimelech who succeeds Gideon. God’s only obvious presence is when he sends a spirit of division and disunity or suspicion to be certain Abimelech doesn’t establish himself and that the cry for justice from the blood of the innocent victims that Abimelech slaughtered won’t go unanswered.

Abimelech also dies a violent death. The major lesson seems to be that a man reaps exactly what he sows. Or as Jesus put it, “The one who lives by the sword will die by the sword.” Paul emphasizes this truth in Galatians 6:7, “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

An unknown writer said:

Sow a thought, reap an act;
Sow an act, reap a habit;
Sow a habit, reap a character;
Sow a character, reap a destiny.

Horatio Bottomley was a British journalist and financier whose talents as a writer and orator earned him a seat in Parliament. But his name constantly came up in the courts in connection with fraud charges, and in 1922 he was finally sentenced to seven years in prison. It was there that a friend found him at work, stitching mailbags. “Ah, Bottomley,” the man said, “sewing?” “No,” the prisoner replied, “reaping.”