Scripture Text – Judges 3
The weapons we fight with as Christian soldiers engaged in spiritual warfare, are not the weapons of the world.
The Apostle Paul wrote along those lines to the believers in Corinth (2 Corinthians 10:4), reminding them of a principle every Christian needs to take to heart: When God goes to war, He usually chooses the most unlikely soldiers, hands them the most unusual weapons, and accomplishes through them the most unpredictable results.
God is still looking for men and women who have what it takes to win: power, strategy, and courage. These three essentials for victory are illustrated in this chapter in the lives of the first three judges.
Othniel: The Power of God – Continued
Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath. – Judges 3:1-3.
Please continue reading Judges 3:4-11 for the background of this section.
God’s salvation for His people (Judges 3:9-11). There’s no evidence that the people repented of their sins when they cried out to God for help, but the Lord responded to their plight and gave them a deliverer. It was the Exodus experience all over again: “So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.” – Exodus 2:24-25. In reference to God and His knowledge and even His acknowledgement, the word “knew” or “knows” means much more than intellectual understanding, for God knows everything; His knowledge is all encompassing and total. In this instance, God’s acknowledgement means that God identified with their trials and felt a concern for their welfare.
The deliverer He raised up was Othniel, the man who captured Hebron and married Caleb’s daughter (Judges 1:10–13). Bible students and scholars don’t always agree as to the exact blood relationship Othniel had to Caleb. Was Othniel Caleb’s nephew—that is, the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother—or was he simply Caleb’s younger brother? As far as the text is concerned, either interpretation is possible.
If he was Caleb’s brother, then why was his father’s name Kenaz instead of Jephunneh? (see 1 Chronicles 4:13; Joshua 14:6) Perhaps Jephunneh had died, and Caleb’s mother married Kenaz and gave birth to Othniel. Thus, Othniel would have been Caleb’s half-brother. First Chronicles 4:13 indicates that Othniel was the son of Kenaz, but the word “son” is used rather broadly in Jewish genealogies and doesn’t always mean a direct father/son relationship.
Fortunately for us and the lesson to be learned, we don’t have to untangle the branches in Othniel’s family tree before we can benefit from the example of his life and ministry. By blood and by marriage, he belonged to a family noted for its courageous faith and its willingness to face the enemy and depend on God for the victory. When God called Othniel, he was available for the Lord, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and empowered him for battle.
” ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.” – Zechariah 4:6. This was the secret of Othniel’s strength, as it was with Gideon, Jephthah and Samson; and it must be the source of the believer’s power today (Acts 1:8; 2:4; 4:8, 31; Ephesians 5:18).
One of the former directors of The Evangelical Alliance Mission, T.J. Bach, has said:
“The Holy Spirit longs to reveal to you the deeper things of God. He longs to love through you. He longs to work through you. Through the blessed Holy Spirit you may have: strength for every duty, wisdom for every problem, comfort in every sorrow, joy in His overflowing service.”
Othniel not only rescued his nation from bondage, but also served his people as judge for forty years. This meant that he exercised authority in managing the affairs of the nation, and it was his spiritual and civil leadership that brought rest to the land. Never underestimate the good that one person can do who is filled with the Spirit of God and obedient to the will of God.
To Be Continued