And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether springs.
The post "Gideon--Israel's Turning Point" revealed two points. First, the book of Judges is written in a chiastic pattern when the main judges of Israel are considered and Gideon is the center point of the pattern's revelation. Second, it is not how you start the race that counts but how you finish. If Gideon is the center point, who comprise the beginning and the end of the pattern? As the title suggests, it is Othniel and Samson. There is a direct correlation between their life actions and attitudes. Furthermore, they add to the concept of ending well while also revealing that relationships do matter. Relationships can bless or mar our work and witness for Christ. What is salvation in the first place? Is it not a fellowship or relationship with Christ and His atoning suffering? Furthermore, one dynamic of our relationship with Christ is personal relationship with others. Do you remember the two greatest commandments that Jesus gave? Love God--Love others; so relationships do matter!
The chart above shows that the major life highlights of these two judges match equally. Othniel was not unequally yoked to an unbeliever, so his wife was a major blessing to him. It was his wife, Achsah, who procured the blessing of the upper and lower springs in the desert region that they inherited from her father, Caleb. She completed Othniel by extending his territory and blessing. Surely Achsah stood firmly with her husband in prayerful support while he served as Israel's Judge for 40 years. The keeping of their vows is further proof of their deeper vow of relationship to God. Their rule was a time of blessing and prosperity for that land and its people, Israel.
In direct contrast we have Samson. Continually he is seen in bad relationships with unbelieving pagan women that adversely affect his work and ministry. His mistress, Delilah, robs him of his strength and covenant blessing. His former father-in-law, unlike Caleb to Othniel, is a source of anguish for him. Samson is seen constantly marring every vow he took including his marriage vows and vows to God. With no prayer partner, his ministry is one of compromise that is clearly half that of Othniel's--he rules 20 years as sin cut his reign short. His story does not end well and his rule was one of chaos, confusion, and disorder. With such a lax view of and concession on marriage, I wonder if that is why Israel is soon dealing with the issue of homosexuality in the Book of Judges?
Marriage in America is in trouble. Yet, every study ever conducted shows that couples who regularly attend worship together publicly and pray together privately have lasting, healthy marriage relationships. Furthermore, our "fear of the LORD", a sincere relationship with Christ, begs us to serve each other greater than self as we seek harmony in the home. In turn, these two relationships affect every other inter-personal relationship we have either for blessing or curse. With National Marriage Week running from February 7th-14th, why not seek God and His word about your current relationships with Him and others. At home, take time to fall in love with your spouse and rededicate your home to Christ as a sanctuary for biblical values.
Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.