Regular nibbles from the Bible. . .come for a bite, leave with an appetite

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. (Psalm 19:14, MSG)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Othniel, the Bridge (Judges 1-3)

Today we start Judges, with its awful cycle of sin, oppression, repentance, deliverance, back to sin
again . . .

It didn't take much time at all.  Less than a generation, really, although in one of those all-or-nothing statements the Bible writers used to make their points, we're told "Eventually that entire generation [Joshua's lifetime] died and was buried. Then another generation grew up that didn't know anything of God or the work he had done for Israel." (Judges 2:10)

Joshua had had a lifelong ally in Caleb. He's the one who said "Give me this mountain!" and took it when he was 85 years old.  He looked for a man cut from the same cloth for his son-in-law: He promised his daughter Acsah (hey, she has a name!) to the man who took the town, Debir.

His nephew Othniel attacked Debir, took it. Acsah was a chip of her father's block, as well. She demanded farmland and water from her father--and he gave it to her. You might call Othniel and Acsah a power couple.

But while Othniel and Acsah were enlarging their territories and trusting God, Joshua and Caleb's generation died out. In spite of numerous warnings, the third generation removed from Egypt turned immediately to the idols of the surrounding nations. God brought the curses down on them. In some very sad words, we're told "Every time they walked out the door God was with them--but for evil, just as God had said." (Judges 2:15)

Enter Israel's first judge--Othniel, the same Othniel who had shown initiative
and courage and defeating Debir. The Israelites enjoyed peace during his lifetime, forty more years. He successfully bridged the gap between Joshua's generation and the next.

The people who were children during the conquest of Canaan rebelled against God. Somehow Caleb and his brother avoided that trap, and passed on a pure faith to their children.

I am blessed to be the daughter of a first-generation Christian. I clearly remember the before-and-after of change in my mother's life. Her change led me to receive Christ. A desire to share my faith with others burns brightly in me, and I am blessed to see it in my children.

I pray about my grandchildren, however. The children of Christians are blessed in that they hear the gospel from infancy. But they may struggle with it being blase, a culture and not a relationship.

Pray with me that our children and grandchildren experience the height and depth of God's love for themselves. That they will be spared the cycle of sin, oppression, repentance, and deliverance that plagued the Israelites for hundreds of years.

In the musical Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye and Golde pray for their daughters, "May you be like Ruth and like Esther."  My son, who is a Messianic believer, prays for his son, "May you be like Ephraim and like Manasseh."

Perhaps a better prayer would be, may they be like Othniel and Acsah.

P.S.--I am battling some stomach virus or even possibly C-Diff.  I will publish these as I can. :)

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