6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: God had put a wall between Israel and her neighbors, not because Israel was better than any other nation, but because she was different. Instead of worshipping idols, the Jews worshipped the one true God, who made the heavens and the earth.

Chapter 12

The Judge Othniel

[Judges 3.5-3.11]

Scripture

5 And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites:

6 And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.

8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years.

9 And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. 10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.

11 And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

Commentary

5 And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites:

6 And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves .

It didn’t take long for Israel to mingle themselves with those that remained in the Land. One thing God intended by leaving the Canaanites among them was to prove Israel (v. 4), that those of Israel who were faithful to God might have the honor of resisting the Canaanites’ allurements to idolatry, and that those who were false and insincere might be discovered, and might fall under the shame of yielding to those allurements. Likewise, there needs to be [2]heresies within the Christian churches in order to reveal those who are able to stay faithful to the God of Israel, “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Co. 11:19). Paul was certain that some divisions would occur in the assembly, if only to bring to light those who defend the truth. It is significant that God in His sovereign purpose might even use dissension and disorders in the assembly to put His people to the test. Israel, on trial, proved bad:

1. They joined in marriage with the Canaanites (v. 6), though they could not advance either their honor or their wealth by marrying with them. They would mar their blood instead of mending it, and sink their estates instead of raising them, by such marriages. Finally, they served their idols, and thus became one with them in politics and religion.

2. Thus they were brought to join in worship with them; they served their gods (v. 6), Baalim and the [1]groves (v. 7), that is, the images that were worshipped in groves of thick trees, which were a sort of natural temples. In such unequal matches there is more reason to fear that the bad will corrupt the good than to hope that the good will reform the bad, as there is in laying two pears together, the one rotten and the other sound. When they were inclined to worship other gods they forgot the Lord their God, and they showed a growing conformity to the manners and worship of their idolatrous neighbors. In wanting to please their new relations, they talked of nothing but Baalim and the groves, so that by degrees they lost the remembrance of the true God, and forgot there was such a Being, and what obligations they had to him. In nothing is the corrupt memory of man more treacherous than in this, that it is apt to forget God; because out of sight, he is out of mind; and here begins all the wickedness that is in the world: they have perverted their way, for they have forgotten the Lord their God.

3. God’s anger toward His people. God had put a wall between Israel and her neighbors, not because Israel was better than any other nation, but because she was different. Instead of worshipping idols, the Jews worshipped the one true God, who made the heavens and the earth. Israel alone had the true sanctuary where God dwelt in His glory; it had the true priesthood, ordained by God; and it had the true alter and sacrifices that God would respect [3](Rom. 9.4-5 ). Only through Israel would all the nations of the earth be blessed [4](Gen. 12.1-3 ). When Israel obeyed the Lord, He blessed them richly; and both their conduct and God’s blessings were a testimony for their unbelieving neighbors. (see [5]Gen. 23.6 ; [6]26.26-33 ; [7]30.27 ; [8]39.5 ) The pagan people would say, “These Jews are different. The God they worship and serve is a great God!” And the Jewish people would then have had opportunities to tell their neighbors how to trust Jehovah and receive His forgiveness and blessing. (See Deut. 4.1-13.)

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