Judges 3:9-10 9 But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. 10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him.
This was a unique season in the Israelite history. They didn’t have an appointed leader or lineage and they didn’t have a king. But it was clear that they needed leadership. When they were without a leader, they were without direction. They turned from God and all of His ways. So God raised up judges that would lead the people. These judges brought the Israelites focus and direction. It really worked, too. Somehow during the lives of these judges, the people followed God. So how did it work so well? Was it just because they had a leader? I don’t think so.
I have always wondered how this whole “judge” thing worked so well for the nation of Israel. But today as I was reading chapter 3, the answer jumped off the page in verse 10. It says that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. It seems that Othniel didn’t have to be a gifted leader, he needed the Spirit of the Lord. That was what made him successful. It also happened to be exactly what Israel needed. Leadership wasn’t what caused them to succeed, it was the Spirit of the Lord present in their midst. When God poured His Spirit out on someone, Israel followed Him and had success.
Nothing has changed. We need the same thing; we need the Holy Spirit. Like the Israelites, we get stuck on the things we aren’t good at. We get trapped in guilt for our shortcomings. And we wonder if we are ever really going to succeed. We wonder if we are ever going to make it. So we chase after countless volumes of self-help books and personality profiles to figure out where we are doing wrong. What we really need is the Spirit of the Lord to be present in our midst. Because when we have Him – when we have the Holy Spirit – all of our shortcomings fall to the wayside. We don’t need a judge or a king or a talent or an inside connection. We need Him.