Women of Faith #3 Achsah Woman of Boldness
Or Get Off Your A…nimal And Ask God.
Text: Judges 1:12-15
Introduction: Unwilling Wife
A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor's office. After his checkup, the doctor called the wife into his office alone. He said, "Your husband is suffering from a very severe disease, combined with horrible stress. If you don't do the following, your husband will surely die."
"Each morning, fix him a healthy breakfast. Be pleasant, and make sure he is in a good mood. For lunch make him a nutritious meal. For dinner prepare an especially nice meal for him. Don't burden him with chores, as he probably has had a hard day. Don't discuss your problems with him, it will only make his stress worse. And most importantly be willing to physically meet your husbands needs. Make sure you satisfy his every whim."
"If you can do this for the next 10 months to a year, I think your husband will regain his health completely."
On the way home, the husband asked his wife, "What did the doctor say?" "You're going to die," she replied.
Today we are going to study the opposite of the lady in our opening story. We are going to look at Achsah, the daughter of Caleb, who married Othniel who became one of the Judges of Israel later in chapter 3.
The Call Judges 1:12-15
And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife. And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife. And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou? 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.
Caleb calls for a hero to take Kirjathsepher.
This is not a well know story in the book of Judges. I don’t recall any Sunday School stories about Achsah when I was growing up and when I took Old Testament survey in College they didn’t assign any papers on this event. Nor have I ever heard a message preached about Achsah. Well…we’re going to fix all that today. Now I thought about titling this sermon “Get off you’re a…nimal and ask God.” Because that is exactly what Achsah does in this passage. But due to changes in language since 1611 I’m not going to call it that. Instead we could just talk about the Achsah the Bold.
As we read in Judges 1:12 Israel is consolidating it’s territory under the different tribes. Hebron has already been taken in the opening of the chapter and then in verse 12 we hear about Debir which before it was conquered was call Kirjathsepher, which meant city of the book, it was about 10 miles away from Hebron. It had been taken once before but now apparently had been retaken by the Canaanites.
Caleb, now a man well past his 80s, wanted to make sure that the Canaanites were driven out, so he sends out a challenges for a hero to take the city and offers his daughter as a prize. This was common in a time when marriages were done by contract. Often it was done with a Fathers understanding of his daughter’s heart and who would fight for her.
Othniel comes forward to answer the challenge.
I like to believe that he already loved Achsah and was willing to meet the challenge in order to prove that love. He goes forth into battle to claim the prize of Achsah as his wife.
God called for a hero to win salvation for us.
I see in this story a type or picture of another challenge, this time given forth by God the Father for a hero.
This challenge was for a hero to conquer and destroy sin. That hero was Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
And when God could find no man, He sent his own son to stand in the gap. Galatian 4:4-5 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Jesus came, took on the challenge of our sin and rebellion and fought the battle to reclaim us from sin and the price of victory was his own life given on the cross.
Illustration: Jesus The Great Hero
The historian Phillip Schaff once wrote, “This Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and divine than all the philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, He spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, He set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times." - Historian Phillip Schaff
That is the hero that came to save us. Next in this story I see another picture in the giving of Achsah to Othneil.
The Gift Joshua 1:13
13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.
Caleb gives Othneil his daughter Achsah
The language here in the Hebrew means that Othneil was either Caleb’s nephew or another relative a little further removed.
Othneil, whose name means “lion of God” rises to the challenge and is victorious in the battle to take the city. He is given the prize of Achsah, who name mean “ankle-chain”, or today we would say anklet, a piece of jewelry wore by women of the middle east.
Together Othneil and Achsah will rule Kirjeth-sephar now called Debir, (sanctuary.)
God has given us to Jesus Christ
The prize given to Jesus Christ for winning the battle with sin and death is us.
We are called his bride and we are called the trophies of salvation.
Ephesians 5:24-27 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
And one day in heaven when sin is at its worse on earth, God will rapture us from this earth and we will sit down with the host of heaven and be joined with Christ
Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Now back in Judges we get to the heart of this message and it comes from Achsah as she makes a request of her father Caleb.
The Prayer Judges 1:14-15
14 And it came to pass, when she came to him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou? 15 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.
Caleb Blesses Achsah’s Asking
Achsah knew that her father loved her and had provided the best for her. She could have been content to just live out her life with just the gift of land that had been given her but she did not.
The Bible says she alights off her donkey and asks a blessing of her father and he gives her the upper and lower springs to water her land.
Her initial possession was a south land, this may have meat it was arid or dry. So Achsah determined that she would ask more of her ather Caleb in order to better care for that which he had given her.
Does Caleb berate her, or call her ungrateful or deny her the request? No the Bible says he gives her two springs the upper and the further springs to water her land.
God Blesses Our Prayers
What do we need to be petitioning God in order to care for what he has given us?
Here we see our final picture. A picture of a loving father giving to his child a blessing. That should be the picture I have of God at all times, my loving father who when I ask does not berate me but blesses me.
Oh we have been given so much in our first blessing from God. We have forgiveness, salvation, even eternal life. Dare we ask for anything more?
Look what Jesus said, in Matthew 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
We are told to come to God and in the boldness of the love He has for us and ask of Him.
Our asking and seeking though must be like Achsah’s.
We must ask in humility.
Now I’m not going to make any more comments about Achsah getting off her animal and asking Caleb but that doesn’t mean that there is not a good point there. I’m just not going to deal with it because we would never get back to the subject.
But I will say this, Achsah got off her animal because it would have been improper for her to ask of her father while sitting on the donkey.
I can say it this way. “You can’t be humble in prayer while praying from a high horse.”
Understand God requires humility when coming before Him.
Psalms 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Psalms 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
We must ask in submission to our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
And it came to pass, as she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou?
Achsah asked her husband first and received his okay.
There is much to be learned here about marriages and about prayer but we can only deal with one this morning. It is enough to say that God blesses submission in his people. If we cannot submit to our husbands, to our pastors, to our leaders that God has put over us, then you will not submit to God. You will not.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Before we pray we must be sure that we are in submission to Jesus Christ and to those God has place in our lives as leaders.
We must ask that which is within our Father’s will.
Achsah asked for springs which would water the land already given by Caleb.
She understood her father’s will was for her to use the land, to plant and harvest it, but it lacked water therefore she asked for that which was need to fulfill her father’s will.
We have been give a world to plant the gospel in and to harvest souls from, but it often lacks some things which is needed in order to make it bloom, to bring in that harvest.
What is it that we should be asking of God in order to make his gift to us grow?
Is it finances? Is it people? Is it land? Is it location?
Perhaps it is not physical at all. Perhaps what is needed is spiritual. Perhaps we need to be praying, “God give me a new heart for the lost. God give me a new vision for your church. God give me a hope for the future. God give me a new faith to trust you.
God give me whatever is lacking in my life that I might make your gift grow and prosper.”
1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
Know His will and then ask in order to fulfill that will.
We must not ask selfishly but we must ask for that which will water, nourish and grow what God has already blessed us with that those who come after us will be blessed as well.
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Achsah asked in order that she and her husband would have what was needed to insure the blessing of Caleb for many generations of her family and community.
Are we asking far enough ahead? Are we thinking of the generations that will come after us or have we given up on the future in our frustration with the present?
Our great calling is Eternity. Everything we do must be done with a view toward eternity and others.
A famous actor (James Dean) once said, “Live as if you would die today. Dream as if you would live forever.” Don’t you think we as people who truly will live forever should be planning for that eternity?
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Are we asking for that which touches the lives and souls of others and for that which lasts into eternity?
We have been so blessed of our Heavenly Father. We have been forgiven of our sin, we have tasted the grace of God, we have been granted eternal life.
We have also been given a possession, a land which we are to enter and possess. That land is this world and our portion of it is Calvary Baptist Church, in Athens, Tx. What are we seeking God for in order to grow and nourish this possession?
I don’t have to tell you that we have needs. I think our problem often is that we are not willing to boldly seek God for what we need in order to fulfill His will.
Perhaps we are praying but not receiving because we pray amiss.
We are not in submission to Jesus Christ.
We do not know Our Father’s will.
Or perhaps we are asking selfishly instead of asking on behalf of others.
Just like Achsah, we need to off our high horses, humble ourselves and ask God to bless us again.