If you’ve read the book of Judges, you know the cycle… Rest, Rebellion, Rotten Circumstances, Repentance, Rescue, Rest…
God’s people lived (still live?) that cycle over and over and over again.
When the Israelites claimed the Promised Land, some of the enemy people groups weren’t driven out like God told them to. Why? Because it was easier to compromise – to “live with it” – than to obey God and live a separate lifestyle.
Why do we face so many hardships in life? How many times have you heard – or even said – “How could God let this happen to me?” We choose to live with so much of what God tells us to avoid – or get rid of, then wonder why it all goes wrong.
The “judges” were spiritual leaders/commanders. Judges 3 mentions 3 judges who are considered “minor”, but these 3 represent a more ideal judge than the later judges do. Othniel, the first of these 3, is considered by some to be the best of ALL the judges! Othniel is a model judge… yet his story is told in only 5 verses.
– Israel’s Sin (v.7)
The Israelites “forgot” about God and, instead, worshiped Baal & Asherah (false gods).
– Israel’s Servitude (v.8)
For 8yrs, the Israelites were ruled by King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim.
“Cushan-rishathaim” means ‘doubly-wicked blackness’. Israel had quit depending on God, so God allowed them to be conquered by the king of Aram/Mesopotamia… ‘Pride’. God’s people were prideful, and they were captured by Pride.
– Israel’s Supplication (v.9)
Desperate times demand a desperate cry for help… after 8yrs!
“But, when they crieed out to the Lord, He raised up for them a deliverer.”
Othniel was Caleb’s nephew. You may remember that Caleb was the partner with Joshua; being the 2 spies that told the Israelites they should go in to claim the Promised Land (before the 40-yr wandering).
The name Othniel means ‘power of God’. Israel had forgotten their need for God, so God allowed them to be defeated by Pride. Then God raised up a deliverer named ‘Power of God’ to remind them again of their constant need of His power.
Are you a prideful person? Have you forgotten your need for God? Do you feel like you’re getting along OK without God? You might want to check out 2Timothy 3:1-5.
If you find yourself to be prideful at times, what should you do? Repent! Cry out for rescue!! And the “power of God” will come!!!
Nothing negative is ever said about Othniel. No doubts are mentioned. No immorality. Othniel is brave… but boring!
God uses boring people!
Othniel just did what he was asked to do. He didn’t make a lot of fanfare out of it. Apparently, he just went about his business and accomplished what God wanted him to do.
We tend to make things more difficult on ourselves and God by trying to make things “exciting”… rather than just doing what we need to do!
You may have heard this story… 2 ranchers were trying to impress each other with the size of their ranches. One asked the other, “What’s the name of your ranch?” he answered, “The Rocking R, Flying W, Circle C, Bar U, Staple 4, Box D, Rolling M, Rainbow’s End, Silver Spur Ranch!” That imprssed the other rancher; he said, “That sure is some name. How mahy head of cattle do you run?” The rancher sadly shook his head: “Not many. Very few survive the branding.”
Too many times we’re so busy trying to impress… to be “exciting”, that we don’t get done what God wants us to do.
Othniel reminds us we don’t have to be #1 in anyone’s survey to be #1 with God.
Othniel served God without seeking recognition. Will you?
You can read Othniel’s story in Judges 3.