Summary: Othniel is a great example of the effects that the power of the Holy Spirit can have in a person's life and is the only vehicle that can carry us to spiritual victory.
SPIRITUAL WARFARE & THE HOLY SPIRIT
A. HUMOR: WHO’S FOLLOWING
1. The Mom of 5 yr. old Timmy loved very much and, a worrier, she was concerned about him walking to school all by himself when he started kindergarten.
2. She walked him to school the first few days, but he said he was now one of the "big boys," and should walk by himself.
3. She decided to allow him to walk, but with a plan B (which consisted of recruiting a neighbor, Mrs. Goodnest, to follow him to school, at a distance.
4. So, the very next school day Mrs. Goodnest and her little girl, Marcy, set out to follow behind Timmy as he walked to school. Timmy walked with a friend.
5. As the boys walked to school each day, the little friend of Timmy began to notice that a lady seemed to be following them every day.
6. "Have you noticed that lady following us all week? Do you know her?" he asked Timmy. "Yea, I know who she is," Timmy replied. "Well who is she?"
7. "That's just Shirley Goodnest," Timmy said. "Shirley Goodnest? Who is she? Why is she following us?"
8. "Well," Timmy explained, "Every night Mom makes me say the 23rd Psalm in my prayers 'cuz she worries about me so much. And in it the Psalm says, 'Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life,' so I guess I'll just have to get used to it."
9. We have someone with us too; we’re not alone!
1 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). 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. 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 3:1-2,4,7-11.
Title: “Spiritual Warfare & the Holy Spirit.”
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 force the next 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.”
4. 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.
5. 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.
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.
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!