The Book of Judges enhances the backstory of the Holy Spirit during the period of time called the sin cycle because God’s people didn’t drive out the enemy. After Joshua died the new generation was not taught to know God and remember His love. These lower stories give us insight into the Third Person and His role in our lives because that cycle can be active today. Hmmm…
Four men, four assignments, four deliverers: meet Othniel, Gideon, Jepthah, and Samson. Each one had a temporary encounter with the Spirit of God for a mission to bring help to His chosen people.
Othniel (Jud. 3), whose name means power or force of God, was visited by the Spirit to bring rescue to Israel in response to their crying out in repentance; they had forgotten God. He is the first of the Special Forces in this book and his leadership brought deliverance. That’s the lower story. A believer in Jesus Christ has the same power of God to break the sin cycle in their life. Power was given at Pentecost (Acts 1:8) but not temporarily, permanently, that’s the upper story.
Gideon (Jud. 6), whose name means cutter, was clothed with the Spirit for his assignment. He cut off and cut down the enemy to bring God’s rescue to Israel. The upper story is the truth that we ‘cut off’ the enemy by the power of the Spirit. We have authority in Christ (Matt. 28:17; Luke 9:1) and are clothed for that battle as Eph. 6 instructs us. You can be a cutter, using the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, when you declare scripture over yourself and family.
Jepthah (Jud. 11), whose name means opener was declared a mighty warrior, however, he was also foolish. After the Spirit came upon him for battle he made a vow that cost him dearly. Not every mighty warrior gets it right. Jepthah gave in to emotion, even under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and opened his mouth with a foolish promise. What words are spoken when you open your mouth? Paul says there’s proof that Christ speaks through us (2 Cor. 13:3-4) when we’re living in the power of God. Open your mouth to word of life.
Samson (Jud. 13), whose name means distinguished began with rushing power of the Spirit (sudden success) but ended in self-centeredness. His remarkable life shows us that prodigals can return (Heroes of Faith of Heb. 11) even after having one foot in the Spirit and one foot in the world that led to his death. We are warned in Gal. 5:16-26 to walk by the Spirit, staying in communion with Him, and not get caught in the middle of those two opposing forces: flesh and Spirit.
We, therefore, are distinguished in power and authority to cut off the sin cycle in our life with faith-filled words. Begin now to be an Othniel, Gideon, Jepthah, and Samson.