Judges – Othniel, Part 1

OthnielThen Caleb said, “Whoever attacks Kirjath-Sepher and takes it, to him I will give my daughter Achsah as wife.” And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so he gave him his daughter Achsah as wife. Now it happened, when she came to him, that she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you wish?” So she said to him, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me land in the South, give me also springs of water.” — Judges 1:12-15

Men, the story found here is a duplicate passage lifted from Joshua 15. The occurrence here took place during the time of Joshua, but for the sake of chronology and wholeness the 1st judge is introduced here among the account of the judges of Israel. Caleb has come and offers his daughter, Achsah, to whomever attacks and conquers the city Kirjath-Sepher. Othniel, the son of Kenaz, who was Caleb’s younger brother, conquered the city. Kirjath-Sepher translates “city of books”, and was likely a religious and academic center for the Canaanite people. Kirjath-Sepher is also another name for Debir which translates “giants.” It’s important that we keep the corrupted nature of the Canaanites in view. Many have taken an anti-semitic view of the Hebrew people by neglecting that fact.

Achsah, the daughter of Caleb, translates to “ornament.” After the city is conquered, Achsah urged Othniel to ask for a field. She then approaches Caleb her father and asks for a blessing for herself. She asks for rights to the water springs of the area of the field. Taking care not to over spiritualize, but acknowledging the picture given here: a son conquers corruption, the bride approaches her groom to ask for a field. In further cooperation she asks for a blessing of water for herself from her father. When a marriage is mutually cooperative, with each other and with our Father God, a complete and functional blessing is available, with provision established.

Move forward men, with the boldness of Othniel, Israel’s first judge. Go and conquer darkness when the opportunity comes. The Lord honored Othniel’s leadership with victory. The Lord blessed him with a wife, provision, authority and territory. Othniel translates, “God is my strength”, or “God’s lion.” Is He yours? Are you a lion of God? Will you and I be first in standing up to fight for the promises of God to be secured in our lives? Is your marriage an asset to each other? To God?

Vance Durrance

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ZionAnd it will come to pass in that day
That the mountains shall drip with new wine,
The hills shall flow with milk,
And all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water;
A fountain shall flow from the house of the Lord
And water the Valley of Acacias.

“Egypt shall be a desolation,
And Edom a desolate wilderness,
Because of violence against the people of Judah,
For they have shed innocent blood in their land.
But Judah shall abide forever,
And Jerusalem from generation to generation.
For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted;
For the Lord dwells in Zion.”
— Joel 3:18-21

Men, the enemies of God’s people will be summoned to the valley of decision, where the Lord God will deliver His verdict and judgment. Those who take refuge in the Lord will be strengthened. All will know that the Lord is God.

Another time will come, and on that day the mountains will “drip with new wine.” Vineyards will be productive, but new wine also represents a season of celebration. “The hills shall flow with milk.” This tells us that in that day, grazing land will be rich enough to support cattle. Remember, Judah is barren at that time following waves of locusts.

Additionally, milk often represents Spiritual blessings in the Old Testament. It is mentioned roughly 50 times in the OT alone. In Joel’s time, water would be scarce in certain seasons, but in this coming time the rivers would flow.

Most importantly, it says a “fountain shall flow from the house of the Lord. In Solomon’s temple, a literal fountain flowed to feed the many baths for ceremonial preparation. There is likely dual meaning here, a literal fountain may flow, but as the Lord takes up residence in the new Millennial temple, His Spirit will flow out. Go back to Ezekiel for more.

The enemies of God are dealt with in this future time, and Judah is acquitted of all bloodshed from their history. The Lord will then dwell in Zion (Jerusalem). Zion means “fortification”. It is the area of Jerusalem where Abraham offered up Isaac, where David bought the threshing floor from the Jebusites and more.

Move forward men, with all the proclamation of judgment and shelter, famine and blessing, war and renewal, we can turn to v18 and recall, “And it WILL come to pass.” The Word of God is the reliable road map of what’s to come. Combining Joel with the whole of scripture grants us much to watch for. As prophecy unfolds, take care which side of God’s Word He may find us in. What is promised is as certain as if it’d already happened. May we each experience the Lord as Shelter, Deliverer, and Redeemer.

Vance Durrance

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“Have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?” –Matthew 12:5, ESV

Notice here that Jesus reveals the hypocritical heart which trusts in its own understanding (Pro 3:5) and binds the letter of the law to man-made mandates (consider “profane” vs “guiltless”) (see also Mat 15:8-9). Such “worshipers” are seeking only to pacify God so they can live as they please. They do not love the LORD, and so find their self-righteous rules in conflict with God’s commands of service.

The Sabbath only functioned as a sign, a “reminder of the relationship” that sets God’s people apart from the world (Eze 20:20). Such inward separation (Rom 2:29) renders external symbols incapable of decisively designating the redeemed (Heb 10:4). “Hard hearts” necessitated provisions to be made in the law (Mat 19:8). “Stiff-necked people” (Exo 34:9) required a “tutor” or “disciplinarian” (Gal 3:24).

But “the time” is now (John 4:23) when Christ releases us from the guardian of the law to live as free sons (Gal 3:24-27). Regardless whether we consider “one day holier than other days” or whether we “regard them all alike,” all our days are dedicated to the LORD (Rom 14:5-6). Every day is a celebration of God’s lavish love, staggering strength, and wonderful ways. Every day we rest on His provision and finished work. Every day is devoted to the service of the LORD.

If we belong to Christ, are we not a “nation of priests” (1Pe 2:9) serving the “Lord of the Sabbath” in “something greater than the temple” (Mat 12:6-8)? Is not every day a priestly service, “doing good to others” (Mat 12:12; John 21:17; Gal 6:10) with the praise of His name continually on our lips (Heb 13:15)? Is not every day a joyous denial of selfish ambition (Phi 2:3) and idle talk (1Co 4:20; 2Ti 2:16), and instead a pursuit of the LORD’s pleasure (Eph 5:7-10)? Is not every day a remembrance and proclamation of what the LORD has done (1Co 1:5-7; 2Pe 3:1-2; 1Jo 5:11), a perpetual time of thanksgiving (Eph 5:20)? Is not every day a perpetual rest for God’s people—a relief from the curse of sin and the futility of labor (Ecc 2:11,26; Heb 4:9-10)? Is not every day about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49), following Him (2Co 5:7) and reflecting whatever He does (John 5:19)?

The question is not what day of the week are we willing to vacation from our careers where we find ultimate pleasure and identity, but whether we are indeed living as priests of God making every day a labor of love in His service to the worship of His name (1Th 1:3; 4:1)?

“Blessed and holy is the one who takes part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” –Revelation 20:6, NET

Billy Neal
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Poured Out

Poured Out

“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days. —Joel 2:28-29.

Men, Joel has communicated the promise of God to renew His people IF they repent. Joel now fast-forwards through time. Israel will have some time to consider their options, obey or reject, and then “It shall come to pass afterwards.” After this time of either renewal or intense chastisement, the Lord will pour out His Spirit on all flesh. Some argue that only Israel is in view with this promise, but with the benefit of the Acts in the New Testament, we know that “all flesh” means all who confess Jesus as Lord. As the Spirit of God comes upon a believer they will prophesy.

Prophecy is mistakenly thought only to be speaking the future. More accurately, prophecy is speaking the Words of God as directed by the Spirit of God, and can include praise to God. In Ch1, Joel prophesies of things that have already happened, and of their current circumstances. It’s not until ch2 that prophecy grants a peek into the future.

After the Spirit of God is poured out on man, old men will have dreams, and young men will see visions. Dreams come while asleep, and include special revelation. Visions come while someone is awake. Ezekiel is an example of a vision. While he was awake sitting by the Chebar River he “saw.” The Spirit of God will be poured out upon believers without class, racial, or gender distinctions. Sons and daughters in v28 represent Jews in Joel’s future. Menservants and maidservants of v29 were of all nationalities including Jews.

Brothers, Acts ch2 has happened. We’re living in a time when Holy Spirit is poured out, but there are too few vessels prepared to receive it. Dreams and visions are available, but too few are seeking revelation from God. We are not prophesying, (calling out the Word of God as though it was so.) We confess Christ as Lord but refuse to come off our own thrones. His Spirit IS POURED OUT. What will we do with it?

Move forward men, speaking the Word of God as truth, and believe it. Seek first the Kingdom, and else else will be given.

Vance Durrance

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