Othniel And The Spirit of God

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Judges 3:1-4 Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; 2 Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof; 3 Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath. 4 And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

One of the prayers that Christians have prayed for years is:

Psalm 2:1-3 (ESV) Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”

Every preacher of the Gospel has wrestled with this. The Prophet prayed:

Jeremiah 12:1-2 (ESV) Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts”

How is it possible that a pervert named Hugh Hefner entice and deceive young women, and build a Playboy Empire worth $412 million? How can God allow Pablo Escobar – the King of Cocaine – to amass over 33 billion dollars of wealth? How many people did his drugs enslave, how many lives ruined? How is it that actors like Alec Baldwin can kill an innocent person, and get only a slap on the wrist? That ancient preacher Job asked:

Job 21:7 “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?”

God answers His people. The wicked have not escaped judgment, but a judgment day is coming. We who are mortal want this to come today. Our God tells us:

Psalm 37:1-7 (ESV) “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes”

There Are Two Reasons The Wicked Are Blessed

The Bible tells us that God allows the wicked to prosper for two reasons. The Apostle said:

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV) The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God allows the wicked to live and even be blessed in their wickedness because HELL is FOREVER.

Those who leave this life without faith in Christ will find themselves in a place of everlasting burnings” (Isaiah 33:14). God did not prepare hell for humans. It was made for the fallen angel. Jesus says to the unbeliever, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:14). Hell is a place of unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12). The believer in Christ will:

Daniel 12:2 (ESV) … awake … to everlasting life, (but the lost) to shame and everlasting contempt.

Hell is not a place of destruction – but of eternal punishment. If it were a place where you just burn up, our Lord Jesus would have never said:

Mark 9:45-48 (ESV) … if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

When Jesus pictured hell (like in Luke 16:23-24), it is a place of torment, not destruction. It is a place of suffering and sadness. God wants no one to go to hell – He sent His Son to provide a way out of eternal damnation. So God allows the wicked to prosper – for a time – which is nothing compared to the length of eternity. But there is another reason God allows the wicked to prosper, and our enemy to be among us.

Judges 3:1-2 Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; 2 Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know

Word Study: God leaves us in the midst of the wicked to prove us. The word translated prove is the Hebrew nāsâ (pronounced naw-saw’), which means “to assay as to the quality of, to test, to try”. Back during the California Gold Rush in the 1800’s, around 300,000 people flooded that state looking for riches. The way that gold was assayed was by fire (called cupellation). That which is NOT gold will burn off or float to the top, and gold will be left behind. God uses trials to test our faith so that WE will know where we are on faith’s spectrum. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:10-12 (ESV) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

When you walk with Jesus, you will be persecuted. Why? Because the darkness will bid you to join with it. “Let’s just go along to get along”. If you belong to the Lord, you are to walk so as to please the Lord, not the world.

God tests INDIVIDUAL believers, but also tests His KINGDOM.

God left the unbelieving nations in Canaan because He wanted …

the children of Israel {to} know

God’s people need to know when to war, and when to walk. We need to understand NOT to compromise with anyone that will effect our walk with our Savior and King. The enemies that God left were the

Judges 3:3 … five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites

The Philistines were ancient enemies of Israel, much like land based Pirates or Vikings. The Philistines were very skilled blacksmiths, and were experts in forging swords, spears, and arrow heads, as well as making plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles (1 Samuel 13:19-21). The Sidonians (inhabitants of Sidon) were sea faring Phoenicians who relocated around the Mediterranean Sea. The Hivites or Horites (Genesis 36:2, 20, 29) were a warrior class of people. Together these enemies ruled the land and the water of the Promised Land. They were – together – undefeatable. We are told:

Judges 3:4 … they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

Surrounded by the enemy, would Israel cling to the Word of God, or would Israel compromise with the lost in order to live more comfortably?

Judges 3:5 And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites:

You cannot control who is around you. You cannot control how other people behave. God never expects His people to move off into monasteries and hide behind walls. Jesus told us:

Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV) You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

God’s people are to reflect the Light of God into the world. We are a city set on a hill. We are not to hide, but to stand up. The Bible says that the children of Israel dwelt among the unbelievers. That is not a sin. What is a sin is to allow the practices of the lost world to come into your life. Israel compromised.

Judges 3:6-7 And they {the Israelites} took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. 7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgat the Lord their God, and served Baalim and the groves.

Israel allowed themselves to be intimately connected to the lost. They intermarried with unbelievers. It is fine to eat with unbelievers (1 Corinthians 10:25-33). It is fine to work with unbelievers. But we are to be very careful not to get intimate with unbelievers. We are told in:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (ESV) Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

When you get into an intimate relationship with an unbeliever – especially if that relationship is sexual in nature – that unbeliever will cause you to drift into their way of thinking. King Solomon found this out when he married numerous women outside of our faith. He said,

Above all else, GUARD YOUR HEART,
for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23)

I was asked the other day if I would consider binding with another mainline denomination in order to work together for the Lord. When I was told the name of that denomination I said, politely, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that”. I cannot compromise with any denomination or any people who do not believe the Bible as God’s Word establishes right behavior and life. I have decided I will not compromise with the “Woke Churches” of this age. I’ll love you – but I can’t walk with you, for you are walking in darkness.

Once Israel compromise with the lost world, they forgot Who God was. They forgot what God told them, and commanded them. Then they began to worship other gods.

Judges 3:8 Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years.

God is generally known as the “Redeemer” of His people. The Prophet Isaiah (47:4) said, Our REDEEMER, the Lord of Hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel. It was God Who REDEEMED Israel from the house of slavery” (Deuteronomy 13:5). It is God Who “REDEEMS our life from the pit” (Psalm 103:4). God has …

Colossians 1:13-14 … rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Oh Redeeming Love, how can it be, You lived and died for me? Though all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). God had redeemed Israel – but now He is selling her back to her chosen master. She chose to follow the false gods of those around her, so God turned her over to the one she served. We are told:

the children of Israel served
Chushan-rishathaim eight years

This Mesopotamian King is called Chushan-rishathaim, which means “Cushan of the double wickedness”. Israel served this wicked unbelieving king for 8 years. Why eight years? Because it took that long for them to REPENT.

Judges 3:9 And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

I suspect that, over the eight years Chushan-rishathaim ruled Israel, that the Israelites used various methods to free themselves from their predicament. This is what we all do. We wander away from God, and get into a worst and worst state, much like the prodigal son that Jesus spoke of in Luke 15. After it becomes unbearable, the prodigal stopped eating out of the pig trough, and said “I’ll return to my Father – even if I’m no more than a servant”. Israel had gotten tired of eating at the pig trough.

Word Study: when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord I want you to notice that God does not delay. When they cried out, the Lord raised up a deliverer. The word delivereris the Hebrew yāšaʿ (pronounced yaw-shah’) which means “A Savior” or “A Avenger”. The idea that The Lord raised up this Savior tells us that this is not a human solution to Israel’s problem. God RAISED UP Othniel, the nephew to Caleb. What did OTHNIEL do? God raised him up to be a Savior to Israel, and Othniel SAVED (yāšaʿ) them. But Othniel didn’t do this because he was particularly good or powerful.

Othniel was of the tribe of Judah, a nephew of Caleb, but just as we all are subject to failure. God raised him up … and God EQUIPPED him to do what he was called to do.

Judges 3:10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.

Othniel is the first of twelve judges that God would raise up to save Israel. Over and over we see that these Judges or Saviors are not able to do what needs doing. God raises them up, then “The Spirit of the Lord comes upon them”. When God works through a human, it is the Holy Spirit Who does the work. Our Lord Jesus Christ – though Eternal God in human form – did the work that He did for the Father through the Holy Spirit. Jesus visited the Synagogue at Nazareth, His home town, and read from Isaiah 61:1-2:

Luke 4:18-21 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

The Spirit of the Lord was on Jesus. Jesus said “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, the Kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). It is the Spirit of God Who enabled Kings and Prophets to do the work of God. It is the Spirit of the Lord Who empowered the Apostles (Acts 5:9; 8:39) to do amazing things . It is the Spirit of the Lord Who enables us to be saved by convicting of sin (John 16:8-11). The Spirit of the Lord is on the Christian, making us more like Jesus through the intake of the Word of God and prayer (2 Corinthians 3:18).

With the other Judges, we will see God do amazing things. But with Othniel the emphasis is on the Holy Spirit of God. Othniel is open to God’s Spirit, and so God moves through him to defeat the enemy.

Judges 3:10-11 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. 11 And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

Here are two key take-aways from the life of Othniel. First, If you serve God, you will find victory. But if you serve self, you will find slavery. Othniel focused on pleasing God. Though we know little about Othniel’s war, we know he was victorious. Second, Serving God, you will find rest. We read that while Othniel led Israel to follow God, the land had rest forty years. Contrast that the the first generation of Israel, who wandered in the wilderness 40 years. God says:

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Let us find our rest in God. Let us let His Spirit come upon us. Let us surrender our souls to Jesus. May God touch your hearts with His Word. Amen and Amen!

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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