Robert Gardiner

Judges 1: 12-15

         This, dear brethren, is one of the most attractive young couples in the Old Testament, and they are attractive because of their committal to the Lord, before and after marriage.  Our brother and sister, as individuals, have been committed to the Lord Jesus before 11 o’clock this morning.  Those of us that have watched our young brother grow through his teenage years know of that.  He has been prepared to stand by what belongs to the Lord and seek in his measure in the teenage years. -  which have been difficult and are difficult for all of us - to be apart from the world and to be a help in his local meeting.  From what our brother has said, this would be true too of our young sister.  How wonderful!  That makes them more attractive than many other young persons.  Now that they are married, they are one. 

         In this section where we have read, the word of God comes through Caleb.  It is God Himself that is speaking through Caleb, who says, “He that smites Kirjath-sepher and takes it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter as wife”.  Othniel, who was Caleb’s nephew, values his cousin so much - one committed person valuing another committed person - that he is prepared to take up the challenge and overcome Kirjath-sepher.  I would like just to use this simply to demonstrate that those that are blessed are blessed because of committal.  Such committal, of course, is seen perfectly in the Lord Jesus.  God said, “Who will go for us?” Isa 6: 8  There was one blessed Man who said – as Isaiah, “Here am I”, and the Lord Jesus, in full committal to His Father’s will went down even unto death, led captivity captive and “set free all those who through fear of death through the whole of their life were subject to bondage”, Heb. 2: 15.  What a committal it was by our Lord Jesus!  The underlying reason is made known to us, “who, in view of the joy lying before him, endured the cross, having despised the shame”, Heb. 12: 2.  The joy of the assembly was before the Lord Jesus in such wise that there was no holding back; He gave Himself.  He gave His all.  Beloved young brethren, have you come to appreciate the committal of the Lord Jesus in such a way?  If you have, then you yourselves will be prepared to be committed as He was committed.  So Othniel is committed in that way.

         Kirjath-sepher means, ‘the City of the Book’, and what this city speaks of is prominent in the present day.  This episode is spoken of in the book of Joshua, but I have read of it in the book of Judges because it is set in the day of declension, the day of being lukewarm.  Many of the tribes did not take possession of the land as they ought to have taken possession.  Look around Christendom and you will find that there are many persons who maybe know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour but who are not committed; not prepared to take possession.  Othniel realises that this city has to be taken to take possession, and so he takes Kirjath-sepher, the City of the Book.  This world, in which we are, where there is such lack of committal, beloved brethren, is a place where books have proliferated as never before.  I just want to appeal to you young people: in your committal you must leave aside anything that tarnishes your spiritual well-being and your spiritual growth.  There are books now being openly spoken of that are detrimental to Christian principles.  Darwin’s book on the Origin of Species should have no place in any person’s house that knows and loves the Lord.  There are authors who have written macabre books that belong to the underworld.  These should not be found in any committed person’s house.  I say this because I believe there is a need now for us to leave aside what belongs to the world.  I am appealing to every young person, as well as our young brother and sister, to leave aside everything that belongs to the world and that does not have the accreditation of the Holy Spirit.  You commit yourself to the Lord by taking on board that which is accredited by the Lord.

         Well now, Othniel takes Kirjath-sepher, and he is given Achsah as his wife.  Our young brother and sister from today are setting out to go on together as one and to be fully committed.  After marriage, Achsah shows her committal when she urges her husband to ask of her father the field.  You will notice that there is a difference here from Joshua.  It is “a field” in Joshua (chap 15: 18); this is “the field” in Judges.  Joshua is like the beginning of this dispensation: “a field”, the opening out, you might say, of what the apostles and those with the apostles were entering into under the power of the Spirit.  But now when we come to the day of declension it is “the field”.  It suggests to me Paul’s ministry, beloved brethren.  She loved and appreciated “the field”: ‘ask of him the field’, she says.  I say in our day, lay hold of Paul’s ministry.  It is part of the greatest legacy that we have in this dispensation.  It brings the truth from the Lord in heaven directly to bear upon us, to see us through, and to cause us to be like the Lord and to be for the Lord.  As she springs down from the ass - what energy, what life there is - Caleb said to her “What wouldest thou?”.  And she said to him, “Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a southern land; give me also springs of water”.  She realised the sun was shining in this land; she realised that there was blessing coming from God, but there could be a certain aridity about it and she says, ‘I want water’, “springs of water”.  She wanted what would give her the full produce of the land.  Not thirty-fold, not sixty-fold, she wanted a hundredfold, and she wanted it with her husband, “springs of water”.  And it says he “gave her the upper springs and the lower springs”.  Paul’s doctrine in all its glory is set out in the Ephesian epistle.  It is not the terms of the epistle that we want to emulate, it is those Ephesian saints themselves of whom the epistle was true at that time when Paul wrote it.  The upper springs open up for us in all their glory and greatness, beloved brethren; what there is in Christ for us, “every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ”, Eph 1: 3.  At the end of the epistle we get the lower springs where every relationship is spoken of, everything that we have to do in our lives, everything that we have to meet, all is laid out for us there.  Why is it not in Corinthians?  It is laid out for us in an epistle where we get the glory and greatness of God’s purposes for us, first of all; and then from that height, how we can meet all that is down here in the power of the Spirit as we are here in testimony for the Lord Jesus.  What a future we have before us!  The Lord may come before tomorrow morning but, however short it is or however long it is, what a future we have!  We have “the field”, and the gift of the upper and the lower springs, so that we might enjoy the produce of the inheritance.

         May our young brother and sister, and all of us here, be encouraged.  May we be challenged, too, that in this day in which there is so much declension, so much that is detrimental to the Lord’s Name, we might commit ourselves so that there is nothing that would hold us back from being fully here for the Lord and His interests in every local assembly.  May it be so for His Name’s sake.


17th July 2010