January 10: Abundant Living or Just Plain Deliverance

Read Judges 3

He loved His people and wanted their hearts. That’s why He sold them into oppression, into the hands of Mesopotamia and then the Ammonites and Amalekites. God wanted their full-fledged devotion. When they eventually turned back to Him and pleaded His help, He chose judges to lead them, people whom God called for the sake of His own merciful name.

Othniel, was the mighty warrior who won his wife, Caleb’s daughter, by capturing the land of Debir. Achsah was her name, and I can’t help but wonder at the boldness Othniel learned from her that day she asked her father for more blessing. (See Joshua 15.) She already had plenty of land, but she wanted even more. She wanted springs, which her father granted as soon as she asked.

Did her boldness to ask and expect great things rub off on Othniel?

Was he surprised by the hand of God, quick to save His people even though they’d wandered off? Even though they’d clearly broken their end of the deal? I wonder if Othniel, in all his own faithfulness ever secretly figured God might leave His children to the mire and the consequence of the sin they’d let themselves fall into. What right had they to ask His mercy after all their rebellion?

Then again, what right had his wife to ask even more of her father, Caleb, that day? Had Othniel been surprised at his father-in-law’s generosity? Had God used that to show him His generous desire to bless His children beyond abundance?

The children of God had settled for less than the whole promise of abundant living God had offered. He’d promised the land would be entirely theirs to possess. But it wasn’t. Because they hadn’t fully obeyed. They hadn’t fully submitted to God’s ways or followed Him wholly.

They did not yet possess all that God had offered.

And they were content with the less-than. Less than the promise. Less than the whole of all that God had promised. They had settled for just the deliverance.

“But when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer . . .” (v9).

And the LORD gave the land into Othniel’s hand.

I wonder how many of us have just settled for the minimum of what God has granted. How many times has He offered us freedom to live right here, right now, but we’ve settled for the promise of someday?

How often have we settled for God’s merciful hand to save us from our messes and denied the promise of abundance (the more and better life that Jesus promised in John 10) of the real, true life He wants us to live?


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