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Summary: 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. The Spirit of the LORD came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war.

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Dakota Community Church

March 4, 2012

Judges – Week Two

Othniel

Remembering back to October 30 last year when we began our study of the Book of Judges you will recall that there is a repeated cycle throughout the entire book – a cycle of sin, bondage, repentance, and devotion, followed by sin and bondage again.

Israel would follow the Lord when there was a leader who reminded them of the ways in which they should walk, but with his death they again wandered off into idolatry.

This morning we will look at the first 2 of those leaders:

Othniel

Judges 3:1-11

These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): 3 the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4 They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.

5 The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6 They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

7 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.

The passage starts with a very surprising turn of events… Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord!

Alright it is not that big a surprise, you might compare it to you on every Monday morning of your entire life.

We live on a fallen planet - we are a fallen people; let’s remember the Lord had to die on the cross to rectify the human problem.

We do evil, get off your high horse!

Why were the enemies of Israel not removed by the Lord?

Why do we face some of the hardships and in some cases horrors of life that we do?

I must have heard, “How could God let this happen to me” expressed a thousand times, a hundred different ways.

What does the text say?

To teach warfare to the inexperienced.

To test obedience to the Lord’s commands.

In Chapter 1 - For the purpose of slave labor.

Judges 1:28

When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely.

This brings up a number of important theological issues - at least for me.

How can this be true if God is our loving heavenly Father?

These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience) (3:1-2)

They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses. (3:4)

Let’s not dress this up in Sunday School felt board memories.

“Teaching warfare” involved swords and spears and clubs, raiding foreigners attacking and trying to reclaim lands lost to the inheriting Israelites.

Raping, pillaging, thieving, and killing were the hallmarks of these lessons. Moms lost sons!

THE LORD DID THIS TO “TEACH WARFARE”? - How do we reconcile this to our understanding of God, dying on a cross to rescue us?

Matthew 12:14-21

But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. 19 He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.”

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