Summary: A expositional sermon based on Judges 3.7-11

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What if everyone did whatever they wanted? – Week 3:

The Cycle Begins with Othniel

Text: Judges 3.7-11.


1. The book of Judges is a cyclic book. Obedience, --) incomplete obedience --) disobedience --) and ultimately judgement. Thankfully the cycle also demonstrates the wonderful grace and love of God…

2. These judges were not judges in the sense of making legal decisions or settling disputes…rather the term “judge” refers to a leader. God-called; God-empowered leaders…raised up by God to deliver His children from judgement.


1. Today I want to share with you the story of the first judge…Othniel. His name meant “Force of God”. He was the nephew as well as the son-in-law of Caleb. (Joshua 15.16.

2. Begin by reading the entire text; Judges 3.7-11.

First, the story of Othniel …

I. Act One: The Story of Othniel begins with Disobedience leading to Judgement, servitude, and oppression– Judges 3.7-8.

A. The word “evil” means “bad or sinful”.

B. How did they become “bad” or “sinful” in God’s eyes? 3.4-5….They were evil because of their incomplete obedience and compromise. Dr. Bob Jones wisely advised “Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.” Sexual gratification outside of marriage is like that….worshipping false gods to get along with your in-laws is like that.

C. The Children of Israel were serving the Baals and Astoreths. “To serve” in religious contexts meannt “to worship”.

D. God was angry with them and “sold” them ….to Cushan the Doubly Wicked.

II. Act Two: The Story of Othniel continues with God’s People crying out in anguish to God for Salvation and God raising up a Deliverer– Judges 3.9-10.

A. Isn’t it strange how people forget all about God when things are going well. “I’m all set.”

B. But when things go wrong and life gets ugly… That’s what the Children of Israel were like.

C. When they had been conquered by this evil king from the north and served him for eight long years….they finally came to their senses and cried out to God to save them.

1. The root for this word “cry out” means to shriek while in anguish or danger. This was almost an involuntary thing, a scream of the soul wrenched out in a moment of great fear and turmoil.

2. This word describes a strong, emotional, cry for help.

Ill: This has happened in America too, many times. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln wrote: “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, who owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. The awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people…We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has grown, but we have forgotten God.”

D. The Children of Israel cried out from the depths of their soul in pain and anguish: God save us! And God raised up a savior; Othniel! Friends….we need to be crying out to God! We need to cry for our families! Our neighbors! Our friends! Our nation! We need a deliverer just like they did! What does this word deliverer mean?

1. This is a word that means a deliverer or a savior.

2. It is very similar to the Hebrew name “Joshua”, in Hebrew “Yeh-ho-shoo-ah” or “yeh-shua”.

It’s from this name that we get the Greek form “ee-yay-soos”; which is Jesus. Joshua means Yaweh saves and Jesus means Savior.

3. We should be crying out for Jesus, Savior: to rise up and deliever us, our children, our families, our communities, our nations, and our world. Are you crying out to God yet? Why not?

The Children of Israel cried out to God and He raised up a deliverer; Othniel…and…

E. Othniel delivered the Children of Israel from Cushan the Doubly wicked.

1. We don’t know the details of this war; how long it took, how many battles there were, or how many casualties Israel suffered.

2. But we do know how Othniel succeeded…it was by the power of the Holy Spirit.

3. Anything good or great that has ever been accomplished has been accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit.

a. Our salvation!

b. The founding of the church!

c. The founding of this church!

d. Every great revival.

e. Even creation itself…

Abraham Lincoln was right those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. And we will not see blessing on our nation or our church without the power of the Holy Spirit!

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