Othniel, the first judge, presents an uneventful story, at least compared with later judges Gideon and Samson, especially considering his backstory in the previous chapters. With family like Caleb, and the support of his wife Achsah, the anticipation of greatness disappears in a whisper. Yet, he is faithful, he delivers, he rescues his people from the bondage of their idolatry.
Othniel may not have an impressive story, but a phrase, stinging with truth, is injected into the account, describing the heart of his people, the book's people, even our people--"they forgot the Lord."
Could anything be a more damning accusation? God has delivered their forbears from the greatest power of the ancient by drowning the king and his army in the same waters that were their way of escape; He rescued them from thirst and starvation by pouring water from rocks and raining bread from heaven; He marched them into their Promised Land, parting waters once again, giving them victory over every adversary under unfavorable odds--"they forgot the Lord."
We could list our own miracles, narrow escapes, deliverances, and victories--yet we forget the Lord. Standing in church before the altar or at home in our prayer corners, the fires of devotion kindle and crackle sending warmth and enthusiasm through the soul. Resolve comes quickly with courage to stand firm under life's pressure.
The badge of holiness is worn proudly but as soon as my back is turned, I am shocked how quickly the glow of that holy hearth fades. I don't dive headlong into waters of apostasy or rush into gross sin, but a fog settles over my soul, dulling the senses of righteousness and within minutes the kids agitate, work frustrates, and thoughts besiege the frail defenses of my heart.
I have forgotten--have forgotten--have fo.....
What do you do to keep from forgetting?