During yesterday’s lunch date with God, I was reading from the Book of Judges. It is a book that often gets neglected minus the story of Samson and possibly Gideon and his fleecy requests. But yesterday I was reading about Othniel. Now that’s not a name that people think of first and he does not have said about him in Judges 3, which is where the main passage focuses on his time as judge. Nonetheless, this last reading I pondered a connection.
In Judges 1, we read of Caleb making a prize of his daughter. Remember Caleb, the son of Jephunneh? Joshua and Caleb were the two spies who gave the good report (Numbers 13). Such great faith! Well some time has passed and Caleb made a request. “He who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter for a wife” (v. 12 ESV). Who steps forward but Othniel. Now the Bible says that Othniel was the son of Kenaz; however, it is also stated that Othniel is Caleb’s younger brother!
Othniel kept his word and is awarded the daughter Achsah. Then as we continue to read Judges we read of all of the tribes of Israel that “did not drive out” the people who inhabited the land God was giving them, which was directly disobeying God’s command. Joshua dies “and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10 ESV). After Joshua’s death, the nation turned away. But Othniel, Caleb’s brother had the Spirit of the LORD upon him and he was a judge of Israel. Remember as these people turned away from God, the people were plundered and the judges were raised up to save them.
What stuck out to me yesterday was how easily a generation forgot. Othniel was Caleb’s younger brother. Othniel married Caleb’s daughter. Not much time had passed between the days of Caleb and Joshua’s spying out the land to this time when arose another generation. But they had forgotten. They had turned away. Today I hope this is a reminder to you of the importance of sharing Jesus with the younger generations. Many of you are taking Christmas trees down this week. When you take down the tree, don’t “put away” Jesus for the year. It is so easy to forget the great responsibility each of us have to this younger generation.
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.” – Deuteronomy 4:9 [ESV]
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-9 [NIV]