Summary: This sermon is the first in a series that look at the individual judges from the book of Judges, character sketches

How many of you remember the old record players? You remember when a record would get a scratch in it how it would repeat over and over and over again, it would always jump on the scratch and you would either have to physically move the needle up a bit so the song would continue or toss out the record because it was damaged. I guess that’s where the saying “you sound like a broken record” comes from.

Kind of like when you would tell your kids to clean their rooms or put away their toys. You may have sounded like a broken record. Or maybe you have said “If I told you once I have told you a thousand times”. Ah, ah, a broken record.

Well for the next many weeks we are going to be looking at a book of the Bible that may sound more like a broken record. In this book you will see the destructive cycle of sin rearing its head and you will see the results of that sin which takes the form of slavery, oppression, devastation and sorrow. Then you will see a calling out to God when the people of Israel hit rock bottom, when there is no where else to turn. Finally you will see God raised up a hero to save the people from their pit of despair.

Maybe you guessed it already or you read your bulletin. We are going to look at the book of Judges, but more specifically character sketches of each of the judges. Often when we hear sermons from the Book of Judges we hear sermons on Gideon and Sampson, but I want to look at some of the other ones too, the lesser known Judges.

I have wanted to do this for a couple years now, but have veered away from it, but now is the time.

The book of Judges begins with the death of Joshua. After wandering in the wilderness for years, Israel has finally moved into the Promised Land. They’ve defeated several Kings and the 12 tribes have each been given a portion of the land to call their new home.

This book is full of adventurous people, victorious battles and the most unexpected heroes. Also, it’s a book that illustrates the amazing grace of God toward his people.

Like I said you probably have heard of judges like Gideon, Sampson and maybe even Deborah, but today we are going to look at a lesser known judge, we are going to look at the judge named Othniel. Who has heard of him?

Through this period of Judges, God was preparing the people for a King. They did not have a king at this time so God rose up Judges and empowered them by the Holy Spirit to deliver the people. I think about today and how I believe God is preparing us for a new kingship. The King we await will not disappoint, He will not have faults and He is the greatest King ever. King Jesus will one day reign and every knee will bow and every tongue confess. But….Let’s get back to the story that is filled with action and adventure.

Let’s turn to Judges 3:7-11 and read our passage for today:

The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. 8 The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. 9 But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. 10 The Spirit of the LORD came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. 11 So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.

I. Othniel (Who?)

“Few words sometimes speak volumes”. That it the title of the sermon today and you were probably hoping that would refer to the length of my sermon this morning…

As we go through the book of Judges you will see that many of the judges have short comings. They let the power get to their head. Gideon and Sampson have lots of verses that speak to their downward spiral into sin, but not Othniel. Now you may think that Othniel maybe was a judge for a short time or did not accomplish a lot. However, as I studied I found out he ruled at least 40 years and more likely 48 years. Gideon ruled at least 40 years also and had 3 chapters in Judges about his life. So why is there really only 3 verses about this guy in this passage and he has a verse in Joshua also?

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Jeff Strite

commented on Oct 14, 2014

This was the type of good sermon I needed to help me think properly about Othniel. It's good stuff

Timothy Enns

commented on Oct 14, 2014

Thanks for the encouragement, blessings!

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