Judges Othniel, Ehud, & Shamgar — The cycle of sin, judgment, prayer, & deliverance
Reading 1: Judges 3
Reading 2: Isaiah 59:12-18
Reading 3: Psalm 50:15
Yesterday we saw the cycle of sin, judgment, prayer, and deliverance, as Israel was tested by the enemies they had failed to drive out of the land. Today the cycle continues for several generations. God raises up judges to lead Israel out of their compromise and sin, and back into the power of wholehearted commitment to Him.
The first is Othniel (remember him? the man who won the hand of Caleb’s daughter Acsah by conquering the town of Kiriath-Sepher in Judges 1). He is Caleb’s nephew, so he comes from a family of brave followers of God. After his intervention, there is peace in the land for 40 years.
After Othniel’s death, the people go astray and God gives them into captivity again (to the king of Moab). After 18 years of suffering, they cry out to God and He delivers them through Ehud, who kills the obese king of Moab and escapes through the latrine! (and you thought you had a hard life!).
The cycle repeats again and again – sin/compromise, judgment, prayer, and deliverance. Isaiah correctly diagnoses the problem – “We have turned our backs on our God.” He also defines the solution – “The Lord looked and was displeased to find there was no justice. He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him. He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head. He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion. He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds. His fury will fall on his foes.”
Do you see the description of Jesus in those verses? God steps in to intervene and save us! His justice sustained Him, He will repay His enemies! Here is our solution to the cycle of sin; as the Psalmist records God’s cry: “call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”
Let’s call on Him today, AND give Him glory!
Have a great day!