MAIN POINT: I Can Be A Leader!
BIBLE LESSON: Othniel becomes Israel’s Judge – Judges 3:7-11
BIBLE VERSE: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)
I don’t know if you notice this, but something very special is going on around us right this very second. The second you step outside from a nice air conditioned building, it rudely introduces itself with a high-five to our faces. Can you guess what it is?
Summer! It is in full swing! It is really bitter-sweet though. It leaves us with this opportunity to have a blast, but then it leaves us tired, red, and ready for a good night’s sleep – and something can swoop into our summer when the right mix of weariness occurs. Complaining. It is like toxic medicine. It feels really good to let our feelings and our thoughts off our chest, but it also poses a problem.
See, complaining is, in reality, fussing about an issue without actually looking for a solution. It feels good, but does anything actually change with just talk? No. Problems don’t fix themselves by us complaining about how annoying they are. Just stand outside and talk to the sun for a little bit about how too hot it is and tell me how that works out. Promise, you might get a little red in the face from it – pun intended!
In the bible, we can explore and find a whole lot of different stories that revolve around complaining and sinfulness. In a particular story in Judges 3. We can see how messed up we can really get. We come into this story with the Israelites refusing to obey God and his laws, instead turning to the laws of the lands around them – along with their false Gods. They replaced God with idols, and because of that, they chose the protection of fake Gods, rather than the one true God.
Then, here comes trouble. Those same countries that they replaced God with came knocking – except they didn’t want to be friends. Conquered, the Israelites started complaining to God about how unfair he was. For eight long years, they kept this up – until finally after years of serving Cushan-rishathaim (Good luck pronouncing that!), they cried out to God.
Scripture tells us that when they did turn to and cry out to God for help, He raised up a rescuer, Othniel. One interesting detail is that Othniel didn’t come riding in on a white horse from out of town to rescue them like some hero in an old western movie. Othniel had been there all the time. He was a relative of Caleb and won a key victory when the Israelites conquered the land in the first place. So why couldn’t Othniel have rescued the Israelites during the previous eight years? He was from an important family. He was a strong fighter and was already a seasoned military leader. Why couldn’t he save them then?
The Israelites had battles before Othniel rose up to save them. But no matter what they did, they couldn’t win. It wasn’t until the people, including Othniel, turned to God that anything went right for them. Othniel might have been a great warrior, but he became a great leader for the Israelites when God’s Spirit came upon him and he led Israel to victory.
When there is a bad situation in your life, you might be the leader-in-waiting like Othniel. No matter what your qualifications are, if you follow the lead of God’s Spirit, you can be exactly the kind of leader that can make a difference in the lives of those around you. In Othniel’s day, the Spirit of the Lord coming on a leader was a miraculous event. It was something that rarely happened. But in our case the miracle has already happened. Jesus promised that believers already have the Holy Spirit as a part of their lives.
When we are in bad situations, we often look for help from the outside. We want some person, company, or organization to help solve our problem. But while we are looking for someone to complain to, God would have us look in the mirror to find the Spirit-led-leader who can rescue us from the situation we are in.
“Give them someone who will guide them wherever they go and will lead them into battle, so the community of the LORD will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” Numbers 27:17 (NLT)