Read Judges 1:12-15; 2:11-3:11
We are first introduced to Othniel in Joshua 15, in a series of events that are repeated in Judges 1. He defeated Kirjath Sepher for his uncle Caleb, and was granted Caleb’s daughter in marriage as well as land and springs of water. Thus, Othniel had proven himself to be a man of valor and might, the type of man God might use to deliver the people from the bondage they found themselves in when they departed from faithfulness.
Throughout the book of Judges, we see a vicious cycle. The nation lives in peace, and in time forgets God. The late brother Guy N. Woods wrote, “When men abandon God theoretically, it is not long until they have forsaken eh practical way of God. Moral decay soon follows the decay of faith.” Thus, when the people lose their faith, they lose their way. “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals” (Judges 2:11). God allows an enemy to enslave the people until they cry out for deliverance, then God raises up a judge to deliver the people. After they are delivered, the cycle repeats itself.
The first such judge was Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother Kenaz. With God’s power, Othniel judged Israel, went to war and delivered the nation from Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia.
Do you ever find yourself in a cycle similar to the Israelites of old? Have you ever been in a place of peace and prosperity and forgotten your dependence upon God, slipping away into an ungodly lifestyle? We have a deliverer much like Othniel available to us in Jesus Christ. He will deliver us from the bondage of sin, but only if we call upon His name.
How does one call upon the name of the Lord? It is not simply saying a prayer! If that is how you were taught one could be saved, you were misled. Nowhere in the Bible can you find an example of a non-Christian one being saved through prayer. In fact, Saul of Tarsus was told to stop praying! He believed in Jesus and had been praying and fasting for three days, but Ananias told him, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
The definition of “calling on the name of the Lord,” according to the Bible, is the act of immersion in which God washes away your sins. Have you done what Saul of Tarsus did?