Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ordinary Othniel - the First Judge

Othniel was Caleb’s nephew from the tribe of Judah – the same tribe that Jesus actually came from. God left the oppressors in the Promised Land so that the Israelites wouldn't forget who God was. We forget the need for God when things are going smoothly. Or like children, if we removed all things that we perceived could cause a problem, how would they ever learn? How would they know what “hot” meant of they never touched anything hot and pulled away? This is the same principle that God employed. 

After 8 years, the children of Israel (notice how they are always referred to as children) cried out to God and God sent Othniel as their first Judge. This is the same guy that married Caleb’s daughter as a prize after defeating Debir. Remember, Othniel married his cousin – Achsah, so through marriage, he also received the benefit of Caleb's lineage.

Othniel’s leadership is covered in 3 short verses (Judges 3:9-11), but there’s a lifetime of lessons here.

Good family – In the cooking world, a stock is considered liquid gold because once it’s made anything you cook with it will have an intense flavor and be more enjoyable. But stock making is not a quick process – it involves roasting bones, adding water and aromatics and simmering on a low heat for hours. The longer you simmer, the greater the flavor that’s released. Othniel came from good stock. He was Caleb’s nephew from the tribe of Judah. He had a warrior’s heart and knew what God could do, just by listening to Caleb.  By the time he was selected as a Judge, he was much older, around 60 yrs. As with Caleb, we see in his nephew the lesson reinforced that we are never too old to be used by God.

Good God – The Spirit of the Lord came upon Him. He judged Israel and went out to war and the Lord delivered the King of Mesopotamia into his hand. From personal experience, it is amazing what you can do when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon you. It is a feeling of doing what you thought was initially impossible. It might be as simple as speaking up during a business meeting to as profound as being led to start a church. All those who put their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately and permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11) and as such you have access to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s powerful indwelling is an amazing gift we should never take lightly. ( With the Spirit of the Lord’s prompting, Othniel was able to defeat Mesopotamia. It doesn’t matter how it was done. What matters is that the enemy King was delivered into Othniel’s hand.

Good Benefits – The Israelites had 40 years of rest because of Othniel’s leadership. After this victory, the people rested. When you act in accordance with God’s will, not only do you benefit but others around you benefit also. Many times, after I’d spoken up in a business meeting – any of the following happened: an executive thanked me; others were grateful that I spoke up because they had the same concern; a situation was addressed and changed. On my own, I never thought any of these actions were possible; but with God they were.

Everyone does not come from a good family, however, you can be the start of a good family by choosing to trust God for everything. Where you come from is only the beginning; it can set you on the right track. In addition, a willingness to be used by God starts by believing in God; then a greater willingness to be used by God in conjunction with knowing and trusting that He will work it all out for good as He did with Othniel – an ordinary man used to judge, lead and rescue Israel.

Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen Ephesians 3:20-21

We can all be used by God. Are you willing?


  1. Excellent post, Nylse! I love your statement here: "Everyone does not come from a good family, however, you can be the start of a good family by choosing to trust God for everything." How true that is, and very encouraging. Thank you!

  2. I read your life notes everyday and I'm just realizing I can comment. Keep posting, someone is reading and being encouraged and lifted up

  3. So glad I stopped by from #ChasingCommunity - awesome post and strong lessons.

  4. "When you act in accordance with God’s will, not only do you benefit but others around you benefit also." -- Great point, Nylse. Thankful for the examples of Biblical leaders who were ordinary folks, living obedient lives. Makes us feel like we can do much with our little, too, doesn't it? :) -- Thanks for sharing with #ChasingCommunity today. :) Great to connect.

  5. I love your focus on Othniel! One of our church members growing up had that name so I never forgot it :) {hugs}


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