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Summary: Message 3 in our exposition of Judges focusing on Othniel.

Judges Series #3 Life Cycles

“Othniel: Spirit-powered Servant”


Last week we identified the life cycle that repeats seven times in the book.


Everyone runs this cycle many times throughout his or her life. In chapter one, the tribe of Judah “inquired of the Lord” what they should do and experienced victory over the enemy.

In the last chapter, the writer records, “everyone did what was right in their OWN eyes” and they succumbed to idolatry, immorality and anarchy. Judges illustrates the course and consequences of rebellion against God, compromise and doing one’s own thing so that we might take heed and continually embrace God’s ways. Judges illumines the path to deliverance that we too might repent and cry out to God for deliverance. Judges also powerfully illustrates how God uses ordinary, even reluctant and unlikely people to facilitate extraordinary deliverance in response to our cries for help.

Basic Overview in Outline form

I. Life Cycle Identified 1-2

II. Life Cycle Illustrated (Seven examples) 3-16

III. Sin Illustrated 17-21

Historical Background

Two problems plagued this developing nation as they settled in their promised homeland.

This was a land promised by God to Abraham and acquired through the leadership of Moses and Joshua. Judges tracks a new generation of Israelites unfamiliar with God or a personal encounter with God’s loving protection and deliverance experienced by their ancestors. They felt no obligation to follow His way of doing things and every man what seemed right to them.

They served neither God nor God-ordained leaders. Another problem revolved around moral and national compromise. They not only allowed the polluted nations God destined for destruction to remain in their land, they actually became friends and intermarried. Such alliances with the enemy brought devastating moral and spiritual compromise. They tried to serve both God and the gods of the surrounding people. Jesus clarified the point that NONE can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and money. God clearly demands and expects exclusive devotion.

Since the Israelites failed to eradicate the evil, God used the evil to train the people.

He used their presence to train the people to be alert and fight evil.

He used their presence among them to test their allegiance to Him.

I. Life Cycle Identified

A. Incomplete obedience brings divine discipline 1:1-2:5

1. Judah’s Victories 1:1-20

2. The other tribe’s failures 1:21-2:5

B. A flashback to Joshua’s death 2:6-10

C. Life cycle identified 2:11-23

1. SIN 2:11-13

2. SLAVERY 2:14-15


4. SALVATION 2:16-17

5. SERVICE 2:18

II. Life Cycle Illustrated 3-16

Observations regarding the illustrations

They cycle does not always play out in every cycle.

The writer chose only events from this point in history to illustrate his point.

The writer presents the events without regard to true chronology.

The writer chose events from various tribes and locations.

The writer purposely chose his material to make a graphic point regarding the consequences of violating God’s way and turning from God to self.

Each cycle progressively gets worse.

Each cycle a suitable deliverer becomes more and more difficult to find.

He started with Othniel a faithful proven servant of Yahweh and ends with Samson the poter child for all that was wrong in Israel.

A. Othniel – God-empowered faithful servant

The first cycle turns out to be a bare bones illustration that leaves a ton of unanswered questions regarding the action. The author reinforces the deplorable compromise between Israel and the perverted nations that they allowed to stay in the land against God’s orders. He listed some of the remaining nations and then repeated their relationship to Israel. and they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. Judges 3:6

Because of the intermarriage, the people fell prey to their evil demonic practices. This is exactly what Moses warned them not to do two generations before.

and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. "Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. "For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. Deuteronomy 7:2-4

1. SIN

The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. Jud 3:7-8

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