Othniel

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Othniel, who was probably Caleb’s nephew, was able to take up the challenge forwarded by his uncle, and overcome The City of Books. I doubt not that his faith and courage was strengthened by that which he had seen in his faithful relative. We affect others in every aspect of family relationships. What a powerful influence Caleb’s legacy of faith, and strong convictions, had on this young man.
Here is an example and encouragement for every young person. This young man rose up and saw the danger of not overcoming this city. For us, in type, he realized the necessity of overcoming the City of Books. Now, it is true that there is much required reading in connection with school and business today. It seems that there are reams and reams of reading material to just keep up with a curriculum, career, vocation, or profession. But the question remains as to what we read in our spare time. What do we pick up as non-required reading? What do we read for our own enjoyment?
Othniel received a real blessing because of his valor and accomplishment. And there will be blessing in our lives too, in the measure in which we smite the City of Books. Are we reading those things that would edify us and encourage us in the Lord?
We find later on that Othniel is raised up of God to be a wonderful deliverer, and the first judge in Israel, at a time when things were on the skids morally and spiritually. “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. 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” (Judges 3:7-87And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgat the Lord their God, and served Baalim and the groves. 8Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years. (Judges 3:7‑8)). What a deplorable condition, but God had his man. It is a comfort to know that God always raises up men for the time. Like David of whom we read, “after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep.”
“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” (Judges 3:99And 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. (Judges 3:9)). God accomplishes His purposes, in spite of sin, failure, and indifference to His claims, and often through the most unlikely individuals, such as, Deborah, Gideon, Samson, etc.
“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. And the land had rest forty years” (Judges 3:10-1110And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim. 11And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died. (Judges 3:10‑11)). He is the only judge mentioned in connection with the tribe of Judah, and one of four judges of whom it says, “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him,” the others being Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson. He surely needed the power of the Spirit of God if he was going to stand and be used of God for the deliverance of His people. He could not go on past victories, or family history, or anything else that the world might count as qualifiers. No, it must be in the power of the Lord, energized by His Spirit, and this certainly holds true for us today.
Othniel was a real man of faith, courage, and conviction. He was a man used mightily of God in a day of utter weakness and departure from the truth, to the extent that there was rest in the land of Israel for forty years. Remember though, it all started with taking the city of Kerjathsepher. Are we overcoming the City of Books, or being overcome with books?