Study of the Book of Judges – Jdg 3:1-11 Teaching the Generations of the Children of Israel how to War

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Jdg 3:1-11 Teaching the Generations of the Children of Israel how to War

[Study Posted February 24, 2021]

Jdg 3:1  Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; 
Jdg 3:2  Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof; 
Jdg 3:3  Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath. 
Jdg 3:4  And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. 
Jdg 3:5  And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: 
Jdg 3:6  And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. 
Jdg 3:7  And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves. 
Jdg 3:8  Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years. 
Jdg 3:9  And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 
Jdg 3:10  And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. 
Jdg 3:11  And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died. 

Chapter 2 of Judges shows us that when we started our journey with Christ, we were carnal. This means that we were under the control of the flesh. Under this circumstance, we all experience cycles of defeat. However, we should not give up at this stage of our walk with Christ, because everything that is going on in our lives is according to the counsel of God’s will. It is the Lord himself who decided to leave some of the nations in our land. At the right time, God will devise a means so that His banished is not expelled from Him.

It is in Chapter 3 of Judges that we understand why God leaves some of the nations (enemies within) in our land. The reason for God’s action is as follows:

Jdg 3:1  Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; 
Jdg 3:2  Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof; 
Jdg 3:3  Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath. 
Jdg 3:4  And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. 

In God’s wisdom, He leaves some of the nations in our land to train us how to war against the flesh. This war against the flesh is about how to overcome our carnal nature.  In the early stages of our walk with Christ when we are carnal, we are easily overcome by the flesh, and God uses this to teach us that this war against the flesh is not our fight but His. He teaches us to war by causing us to fail so that we can learn to depend on Him to overcome on our behalf. This happens only after we have gone through several cycles of defeat so that we come to acknowledge we are actually the worst of sinners. When we come to the realization of being the worst sinner, then we have learned how to war by depending on Him wholly.

1Ti 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

I remember when we started this journey of knowing Christ in Babylon that we used to sing this song by Hosanna Music very often, and we did not understand how He trains our hands to war. This song is even more relevant for us now than when we started:

Who is God beside our Lord?
Who is the rock beside our God?
A fortress and a shield
A tower of deliverance is He all who trust in our king
Who is God beside our Lord
Who is the rock beside our God
He trains my hands to war
And lead me into triumph more and more
Praise to His name forever more!!!

This song is taken from Psalm 31 as follows:

Psa 18:31  For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
Psa 18:32  It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. 
Psa 18:33  He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. 
Psa 18:34  He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

Verse 34 says that He teaches my hands to war so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. We all know that a bow of steel cannot be broken by our arms. That is to show us that this war against the flesh is like breaking a bow of steel.  Only God can accomplish it for us so that no flesh can glory in His presence!! That is why the righteous must fall seven times to know that the battle is the Lord’s and that is what this cycle of defeat by Israel is all about. Falling seven times means a complete domination by the flesh.

Pro 24:16  For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. 

Immediately after leaving Egypt, the Amalekites waged war with the Israelites, and this war was to teach the Israelites how to war – that is to depend entirely on God.  This war was such that the Israelites were fighting, but victory depended on Moses’ hands being raised.  So technically, the Israelites fighting the Amalekites was not what won the war. It was the hands of Moses.

Moses’ hands here are the hands of the Lord Who fights our battles for us. This war against the flesh within is not to be fought in our strengths. The reason we are losing this fight is that we are depending on ourselves!!  It is the Lord’s battle. Let us lift up our eyes unto the hills from whence cometh our help.  Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth!! This help is what wins the war, not our strength.

Exo 17:8  Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
Exo 17:9  And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
Exo 17:10  So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
Exo 17:11  And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
Exo 17:12  But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 
Exo 17:13  And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Psa 121:1  A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 
Psa 121:2  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 
Psa 121:3  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Psa 121:4  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
Psa 121:5  The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The five names of the enemies in the land mentioned in verse 3 imply that it is by grace through faith that we can defeat these enemies. We must have faith that He who has started this overcoming process will see to its completion. At the same time, it is His grace that chastens us to stop sinning and to live righteously in this present world.

Php 1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Tit 2:11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12  Teaching [Chastening] us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 

Jdg 3:5  And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: 
Jdg 3:6  And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. 
Jdg 3:7  And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves. 

The children of Israel living among the nations which God asked them to drive away are the same as our old man being alive and well and dominating us in our thinking and actions. As a result, we end up “marrying” the world (being in bondage to the weak and beggarly elements of the world) and serving another Jesus.  In verse 5, the Israelites were living among six nations – the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. The number six is the number of mankind. This means that living under the influence of the flesh (the six nations) would cause us to do evil in the sight of God, as every imagination of our heart is evil as shown in Genesis 6:5.

Gal 4:8  Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
Gal 4:9  But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Gal 4:10  Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Gal 4:11  I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

2Co 11:4  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Gen 6:5  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

These actions by the Israelites gave God the occasion to come and judge them as follows:

Jdg 3:8  Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years. 

Here in verse 8, the Israelites served the Mesopotamian king for eight years. Eight is the number of new beginnings or the new man. What this means is that our being under bondage to the flesh is all part of the requirement for the new beginning or the birth of the new man in us. Indeed, God’s ways are mysterious!! They are past finding out!!

Rom 11:33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
Rom 11:34  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Rom 11:35  Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
Rom 11:36  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

The meaning of the name of the king of Mesopotamia (Chushanrishathaim) is significant here. It means double wickedness. In other words, when we start our walk with Christ and we start getting some victories over the flesh, the areas of our flesh where we do not have victory become a snare to us. As we succumb to the dictates of the flesh, we end up being double wicked.  In other words, we become worse off than when we started. This was what Jesus was talking about when He said the following:

Mat 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
Mat 12:44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
Mat 12:45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Israel’s state became worse, and so they began crying for a deliverer. This is the same as Paul saying, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?” When we cry to him in our distress, he hears us and comes to our aid. This is what happened to the Israelites. God gave them a judge, by name Othniel, to deliver his people from bondage.

Jdg 3:9  And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 
Jdg 3:10  And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. 

Othniel here represents the elect whom God is raising up in every generation to take His people out of bondage to the flesh. The Spirit of the Lord coming on Othniel in verse 10 here is God’s fiery words in the mouth of His elect which judges us, and as a result, we start the process of being delivered from bondage to the flesh.

Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Mat 13:21  Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Jdg 3:11  And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died. 

Here in verse 11, the land has rest for forty years. To understand the significance of the number forty as it applies to us, let us look at what happened to the Israelites when they were in the wilderness for forty years.  During that period, it became clear that they were not cut out to please God because their hearts were always erring.  In that situation they were not able to discern God’s ways. That is what happens to us when we come under bondage to the flesh. We will always be erring, and we cannot please God during that period because we do not know His ways. However, forty years on a positive note also signifies the period of God’s provision and protection. The Israelites lacked nothing during the wilderness experience.  It is also the period in our lives that we begin the dying to the flesh process and getting ourselves ready to drive out the giants of our land.

This period is also characterized by our raiment not waxing old as it happened to the Israelites in the wilderness. As we know, raiment stands for our righteousness. So what it means is that we do not change our righteousness to put on the righteousness of Christ. We bask in our own righteousness just like Job as we wear our own clothes and eat our own food and only desire to have the name of Christ as our husband. This is what happens to us when we come under bondage to the flesh for forty years during our walk with Christ.

Psa 95:10  Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
Psa 95:11  Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Num 32:13  And the LORD’S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed.

Deu 2:7  For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.

Deu 8:4  Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.

Isa 4:1  And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.

Now let’s focus on what this rest is about. This rest of forty years by the Israelites under Othniel is a period where the devil’s activities are constrained by the Lord just as at the beginning of the millennial rule, Satan would be bound for a period of a “thousand years”. As a result, the Israelites had a period of rest from war with the other nations in their land. It is therefore a physical rest, and as we journey with Christ, we also experience these periods of rest. However, this is not the spiritual rest for the elect which we must endeavor to enter. As indicated in Hebrews 4:9-11, this spiritual rest is to cease from our own works. We can enter into this rest when we believe in the Lord that what He has started in our lives, He is able to finish it on our behalf.

Rev 20:1  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Rev 20:2  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Rev 20:3  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Heb 4:5  And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
Heb 4:6  Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
Heb 4:7  Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Heb 4:8  For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
Heb 4:9  There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
Heb 4:10  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Heb 4:11  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

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