Lord, Give Me A Blessing

Photo by Simon Berger: https://www.pexels.com/photo/scenic-view-of-mountains-during-dawn-1266810/

I thought we’d start our new study in the Book of Judges. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, JUDGES. Most people look at the Old Testament as old news and unimportant to our faith. That’s not true. The Bible tells us that:

2 Timothy 3:16 ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable …

God gave us the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. There are some cults that ignore the Old Testament – but that’s what makes them cults. God gave us the WHOLE Bible. He gave us the Old Testament to show us that God is always faithful to His promises, and always does what He says. God also gave us the Old Testament to show us examples that we are to follow – and examples we are to avoid. We are told by the Apostle Paul, who was a highly regarded Rabbi before finding Christ as Savior:

1 Corinthians 10:6-11 (ESV) Now these things {recorded in the Old Testament} took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction

Why study the Book of Judges? Judges is very applicable to America today. When our nation followed some semblance of God’s Laws (the Ten Commandments), we prospered and were blessed to become one of the most powerful nations in the world. But when we wandered from God (and we have REALLY WANDERED), it was long before that nation started to cripple itself.

This is what we see in the Book of Judges.

Just before Judges, we see the Book of Joshua, and just before Joshua we see Deuteronomy. Let’s start with Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy was the second giving of the Law through Moses. God told Israel – through Moses – if they listened to His command, then as a nation they would be blessed. But Israel got away from God, and wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. At the end of 40 years, God had Moses turn over leadership of Israel to Joshua. Joshua himself made it a practice to follow the Lord, and because of this Joshua led Israel in successfully entering, conquering, and settling the Promised Land of Canaan. Before Joshua died, he gathered Israel together at Shechem. Shechem was where God first met and spoke to Abram, who would become Abraham. God told Abram, “Unto your seed – your children – I will give this land” (Genesis 12:7). As Joshua gathered Israel at Shechem he told them:

Joshua 24:14-15 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua had a long history of following the Lord. He along with his friend Caleb went into the Promised Land to examine it along with ten other “spies”. Only Joshua and Caleb encouraged Israel to enter the Promised Land (see Numbers 14:6-10). The first generation of Israel died in the wilderness because they would not obey God – but Joshua and Caleb survived to lead Israel. The people swore to Joshua:

Joshua 24:24 … The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.

Joshua had Israel set up a monument at Shechem to remind them of their promise (Joshua 24:25-27). Then Joshua died at the age of 110 years old, possibly the greatest military leader Israel ever had.

Coming into the Book of Judges we see that Joshua passes into glory, but Caleb his friend takes over leadership of the people.

Israel Starts Out In “Judges” Doing The Right Thing

Judges 1:1 Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?

When Joshua died, Israel prayed and asked the LORD (the Great I AM):

Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?

God chooses leadership among His people based on personal
honesty and adherence to GOD’S will.

When Jacob (who was named “Israel” by God) was dying, he wanted his twelve sons to know who was going to lead them. The twelve sons would become the twelve Tribes of Israel. Though Reuben was the firstborn, and though leadership should have gone to him, Jacob said:

Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel” (Genesis 49:4)

Unstable and wishy-washy people are not chosen by God to lead His flock. Jacob also refused to nominate Simeon (the second born, son of Leah) or Levi (the third born, also of Leah) because they were cruel and unforgiving. God does not want such people leading His flock. Instead, the fourth born child Judah (son of Leah) was chosen to lead:

Genesis 49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.

Though Judah was appointed leader of Israel’s Children by their father, Israel did not immediately call on Judah to lead them to battle. Israel had seen how Joshua led them through prayer and supplication to God, and knew that power comes in following the Lord. The Bible says:

Psalm 145:18 (ESV) The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.

Israel prayed, and God answered:

Judges 1:2 And the Lord said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.

Though Judah was called to lead Israel, Judah knew that they could not do the job alone. God’s people are always called to work TOGETHER for the glory of God. Jesus said:

Matthew 18:20 (ESV) … where TWO OR THREE are gathered IN MY NAME, there am I among them

Joshua and Caleb saw how God can use unity among His people to defeat the enemy. When Joshua led Israel against the Amalekite army in Exodus 17, as long as Moses held up his hands Israel was winning the battle. But when Moses’ arms fell, the Amalekites started winning. The Bible says that Aaron stood on one side of Moses, and Hur on the other side, and together they held up Moses’ arms.

God blesses unity.

Judges 1:3-4 And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him. 4 And Judah went up; and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men.

Judah said unto Simeon his brother”. In the text the tribes of Judah and Simeon are personified, treated as if they are one person. The Tribe of Judah asks the Tribe of Simeon to join with them in battle, and the Tribe of Simeon agrees. The two tribes are actually related by blood. Judah and Simeon were sons of Leah and Jacob. Judah is larger than Simeon.

Is there an application for the Church here? Yes. Though Christians may be in “denominations”, believers in Christ should unite together against the common enemy. We are all one through the Blood of Christ (Galatians 3:28).

Who are the Canaanites and the Perizzites that Judah and Simeon are battling? They are the people who inhabited Canaan before Israel. God told Israel that – when they entered the Promised Land – they were to cast out (Deuteronomy 7:1-3)the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. These were all unbelieving people who worshiped false gods and goddesses and, as a result, violated the civil and moral laws of the True God of Scripture. God told His people to make absolutely NO COVENANTS with the unbelieving nations. To do so would compromise Israel’s faith in God.

Judges 1:5-7 And they{Judah and Simeon} found Adonibezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites. 6 But Adonibezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. 7 And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.

Adonibezekis not a name, but a title. It means “The Lord or Ruler of Bezek”. They cut off his thumbs to keep him from ever wielding a sword or using a bow or spear. They cut off his big toes to make him lame, and to keep him from running. The ancient people would not accept a king who was lame or blemished, so by cutting off his fingers and toes it caused him to relinquish his throne. “Adonibezek” saw his mutilation as a punishment from God, as he had done the same thing to 70 other kings. This means that Bezek was a very successful warrior nation, and Israel defeated them by doing as God said. When we obey our God we have His promise:

Deuteronomy 20:4 (ESV) … the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’

Judges 1:8-11 Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire. 9 And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites, that dwelt in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley. 10 And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai. 11 And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjathsepher

Though Jerusalem will one day be the capital city of Israel, and the city where both the Temple and the Throne is kept, at this time Jerusalem (called Jebus. See 1 Chronicles 11:4) was occupied by the Jebusites. They worshiped the Canaanite god of the setting sun and the nether world called Shalim. Judah then went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron, and destroyed its ruling lords Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. To insure we understand these are literal battles and historically accurate, we are given alternate names to the cities that were conquered.

Lessons Learned From Caleb

Up to now we have seen nation Judah mentioned just as the nation Judah. But in verse 12 we are introduced to Caleb.

Judges 1:12 And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.

I mentioned Caleb earlier as Joshua’s friend who went into the Promised Land as a spy. Of the twelve spies sent from Israel into the Promised Land, only Joshua and Caleb encouraged the first generation of Israel to enter the Promised Land. Caleb was actually given the city of Hebron (Joshua 14:13) by Joshua. The Bible says:

Joshua 14:14 (ESV) … Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel.

Though Israel had not yet taken over the city of Hebron, Joshua promised the land to Caleb once it was conquered because of his faithfulness to the God of Scripture. One thing that is interesting about Caleb was that he is the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, which makes Caleb a Kenizzite. Who were the Kenizzites?

The Kenizzites were the original inhabitants of Canaan who Israel was supposed to chase out. God gave the lands of the Canaanites (of which the Kenizzites were one group) to Abram or Abraham
(see Genesis 15:18-21). Caleb was a Kenizzite!

So how did Caleb get to stay in the Promised Land? And WHY is Caleb leading Israel – through Judah – in battle? It is because God is NOT RACIST. I want top say that again.


Romans 2:6-11 {God} will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

When God ordered the evacuation of the inhabitants of Canaan, it had nothing to do with their race, but everything to do with their godlessness. These people rejected faith in the God of the Scripture, and instead followed horrible gods and goddesses that endorsed sexual promiscuity and the murder of innocents. God punishes evil without discrimination. Those who do evil will suffer God’s wrath, but to those who repent, God will not only save but bless. The Bible says:

Colossians 3:23-25 (ESV) Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

God despises sin, because sin belittles the creation, and destroys the design of God. Sin always robs us of the image of God that He created us to be. The farther people get away from the God of Scripture, the more wicked they will be. When Israel refused to follow God, God allowed them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until that first generation died off. People are SAVED BY FAITH, and people are BLESSED BY FAITH. But – hear me, dearly Beloved, “the wages of sin is DEATH” (Romans 6:23).

Caleb was a Kenizzite, but he believed in the Lord. Some commentaries note that the Kenizzites were descendants of Edom or Esau (see Genesis 36:40-43; 1 Chronicles 1:53). This just affirms what God tells us in the New Testament:

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV) … {the LORD is} patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Caleb – though a Kenizzite – has repented and received our God as Lord and Savior. His name means “Dog”.

Though he was considered a Gentile, by faith Caleb became a son of God, and a prince of Israel (see Numbers 13:6). Caleb was adopted into the Tribe of Judah (Numbers 13:6; 1 Chronicles 4:15).

We All Need To Help One Another

Caleb led Judah to attack Kirjathsepher” (a.k.a. “Debir”), a location in Southern Canaan that was given to Judah. Though a mighty warrior and a great leader, he decided he needed some help. So Caleb issues a challenge to Judah:

Judges 1:12 And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.

There are times as Christians that we are to do our work for Jesus. There are other times when we should challenge and encourage those around us to step out in faith. Great leaders challenge the people to stand up for the Lord. Caleb offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to the man brave enough to step out in faith and take the battle to Kirjathsepher. We read:

Judges 1:13-15 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife. 14 And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou? 15 And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.

Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, takes up the challenge. Since Caleb is a Kenizzite (a Gentile), so is his younger brother and his son. These Kenizzites have all given their faith to the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. They are Children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26).

When Othniel conquered Kirjathsepher, Caleb gave his daughter Achsah (her name means “beautifully adorned”) to Othniel, along with the daughter came lands.

What can we see in this text that we can apply to our lives today? When we give ourselves to the Lord and live for Him, He “marries” us to His blessings.

Our sins are forgiven. We become members of His family. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. We have the surety of the Holy Spirit given to us. And we are predestined to be like Christ, to inherit a place in Heaven like Christ. Othniel received Achsah by stepping out in faith. He received lands, a great blessing. But he received more than that. Achsah went to her father, and asked

Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water.

What is land without water? It’s a desert! Achsah asked her father for greater blessing. The great preacher C.H. Spurgeon saw this as a pattern for Christian prayer (see Achsah’s Asking, A Pattern of Prayer”). She wanted to bring greater blessing to her family, so she went to her Father and asked for that greater blessing. She asked for springs of water. She went to her Father with a specific request, not just to bless herself, but to bless her family. Spurgeon wrote:

As soon as she found that she had an audience with her father of the kindliest sort, she said to him, “Give me a blessing.” I like that petition it is a good beginning, “Give me a blessing.” I should like to put that prayer into every believing mouth here tonight “Give me a blessing. Whatever You do not give me, give me a blessing. Whatever else You give me, do not fail to give me a blessing.” A father’s blessing is an inheritance to a loving child. “Give me a blessing.” What is the blessing of God? If He shall say, “You are blessed,” you may defy the devil to make you cursed. If the Lord calls you blessed, you are blessed. Though covered with boils, as Job was, you are blessed. Though near to death, like Lazarus, with the dogs licking his sores, you are blessed. If you should be dying, like Stephen, beneath the stones of murderous enemies, if God blesses you, what more can you wish for? Nay, Lord, put me anywhere that You will, as long as I get Your blessing. Deny me what You will, only give me Your blessing. I am rich in poverty if You bless me.”

God loves to bless His children. The Scripture says:

James 4:6-8 {God} giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.

If we will draw near to God and, in faith, follow Him as Joshua and Caleb did, God will bless us both spiritually and physically. If we will glorify and praise our God by believing and acting on what He has said, He will give us greater grace.

God is not done with Othniel. Othniel will be the first Judge God calls (Judges 3:7-11) to lead Israel back to a right relationship with Him. This Gentile Kenizzite convert and younger brother of Caleb is adopted into Judah. We’ll read about him more later. May God bless you as we go through Judges. Please pray with me that God will give us a blessing, and grow us as His Children in Christ. Amen!

Next Week: Israel Begins To Drift

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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