The beginning of Judges 3 opens up with a statement about the Israelites’ denial of the Lord and the oppression that follows.
Verse seven says, “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.”
It is important to note that before the Israelites start worshiping idols, they first forget about the Lord their God. The fade from faithful followers to idolatrous pagans begins as they take their eyes off their Lord and his plans for their lives.
Two verses later, after God gives the Israelites over to their enemies, they cry out to the Lord and beg him to relieve them from their bondage.
This is where we are introduced to the first judge in our series. Othniel, the younger brother of Caleb, is called upon by the Lord to rightfully judge and guide the people of Israel.
Caleb, who is introduced in the book of Numbers, is one of the 12 spies sent to survey the Promised Land years before the Israelites enter it.
Numbers 13 recounts how all but two of the spies are doubtful about God’s power to grant them victory over the evil inhabitants of the Promised Land. Verse 30 says, “But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.’”
Caleb has faith that God is able to provide victory after victory when God’s people turn to him in faith.
Years later we see the impact of Caleb’s faith as his younger brother, Othniel, is chosen to rule over the Israelites as they navigate this new land.
Judges 3:10 says that The Spirit of the Lord is with Othniel and he successfully judges the land for 40 years. During his rule, there is peace in the Promised Land and among the Israelites as they conquer the neighboring cities and kings.
When we are faithful to trust the Lord with our futures and hardships, the impact of our obedience is shown as the next generations look up to our actions and mirror them.
As a result of Caleb and Othniel’s obedience amidst the fear of the unknown, God’s name is glorified and peace rules over the people of Israel.