“But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer…” (Judges 3:9)
It’s a timeless theme: I’ve done something stupid and now I’m trapped by the consequences, waiting for a hero to come and rescue me. The Israelites often became slaves and prisoners because of their own rebellion and unbelief. This angered God; they were hurting themselves and their children, and dishonoring Him as well. Yet in His unconditional love, God continually sent warrior heroes to rescue those who had turned against Him.
Othniel, the first of the great “judges” to lead Israel, was a spiritual warrior as well as a military leader. In his role as the one sent by God to deliver His people, Othniel holds the honor of clearly pointing forward to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. Just as he is sent by God to redeem Israel from the bondage caused by their rebellion and disobedience, so would God later send Jesus to redeem all mankind from the bondage of sin, and even death and hell – the consequences of our rebellion.
Othniel was able to do such great things because “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him” (Judges 3:10); Jesus would do far greater things after having the Spirit descend upon Him in the form of a dove. With God’s strength, Othniel overcame the wicked king of Aram and his armies; Jesus conquered Satan and all of his minions. Othniel brought peace to the Israelites for forty years; Jesus is our Prince of Peace, and His own innocent blood has purchased our eternal peace with God.
Thankfully, God continues to raise up spiritual warriors and heroes of the faith even today. In times of disobedience and unbelief, God hears the cries of His people and sends men and women who toil ceaselessly on behalf of the Gospel. Perhaps He has even called you to be such a warrior. But however great our struggles in this fallen world, we can be assured that God’s greatest Hero, Jesus Christ, has permanently disarmed and defeated the powers of darkness. He has freed us from the bondage of sin and death, and valiantly comes to our rescue when we cry out to Him in time of temptation or need. To Him be the glory forever!
“The Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:22)
Prayer: I thank and praise You, Lord God, for providing Your Church with warriors who fight to defend Your truth. Grant that I may be numbered among those who serve you well. Let me always look to Your Son, Jesus Christ, for forgiveness and strength in the midst of spiritual battles, continually directing those around me to His life-giving cross. Deliver from bondage the hearts of all those who rebel against Your Word – through Jesus Christ. Amen.