Summary: God left opposition in order to teach us spiritual warfare. Othniel rose to fight with God's secret weapon, the Holy Spirit. We can conquer by the same means.
OTHNIEL & “THE FORCE” OF GOD
A. HUMOR: The Shy Pastor
1. A shy pastor greeted the wedding guests to the Chapel. He was very nervous and didn't say much.
2. As the couple approached the altar the pastor stepped up and gave the best speech anyone has ever heard. He was full of confidence, comfortable, and eloquent!
3. After the vows, the pastor was again extremely shy and barely said a word to anyone. Afterward, the groom approached the him and asked, "Why are you so shy? You seemed like a different person when you’re up at the front!"
4. "Yes, I know..." said the pastor, "it’s because that’s my ALTAR EGO".
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. Judges 3:1-11
Title: “Othniel & ‘The Force’ of God.”
I. PERFECTED BY TESTINGS
A. GOD HAS A VISION FOR US
1. The godless people around Israel (and us), were left to test them, whether they would obey God or not. These challenges each generation to exercise courage and faith in God.
2. God has a vision for us -- to take the land. Verse 2 says, "He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience.”
3. Opposition has been left around us so that we’ll learn how to fight the enemy. God's wants to train us to fight against evil. If you and I do not resist evil, then we will capitulate/surrender to it. There’s no neutral ground.
4. There's a lot of people who don't see a battle anymore. Millions of Christians are morally and spiritually
‘marrying’ the world. If we don't have any will to fight, then our sons and daughters -- the next generation -- will become slaves to what we allow.
5. As many have observed, "The philosophy of the classroom today will become the philosophy of the country tomorrow."
B. ISRAEL WRONG CHOICES/ PRIORITIES
1. The Bible says that the Israelites "did evil" in the sight of the Lord... they forgot the Lord... and they served the Baals and Ashtoreths."
2. Next it says that God’s anger "burned" against them. An important thing to remember is that God isn’t flippant or dispassionate about sin.
3. The Israelites probably didn't think God really cared about whether they sinned or not, but His justice took note of every offense and demanded the just penalty, until their judgment overflowed.
4. Then God "sold them" into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram. His name derives from Cush, a son of Ham who was under a curse (through Noah).
5. He was the King of Mesopotamia, which signifies "in the midst of rivers" -- the empire between the Tigris and Euphrates. (It’s the spirit of Laban trying to reassert itself over Jacob again!)
6. This was such a great distance that Israel would've thought trouble couldn’t come from such a far country, but this shows how much more it was the hand of God! “Whom God loves, He chastens!”
C. THEY FINALLY SOUGHT THE LORD
1. At first the Israelites made light of their troubles and thought they could easily shake off the oppression of this King; but when he continued eight years, they began to feel their grinding punishment.