FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Thu, 11/29/2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
DEBORAH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Thu, 11/29/2012
DEBORAH: A WOMAN OF CONVICTION AND COURAGE, Lesson 5a
The book of Judges is a gritty, dirty book. It is filled with sin, violence and the judgment of God. It is an action book that probably appeals more to men than it does to women. A modern counterpart would be the action and war movies that men find far more appealing than the romantic comedies preferred by the ladies. While this book contains certain qualities that might appeal to men more than women, the book of Judges is a book that actually elevates the position of women in Israelite society.
In the chapters before us today, we are introduced to two women who were used by God in great ways, for his glory. Those women are Deborah and Jael. One was a respected leader in the nation; the other was a simple housewife. They came from different walks of life, but they were both used by God is remarkable ways. Since we are studying the judges of Israel, we will focus our attention on Deborah as we consider the passage before us.
I want to move through chapters 4 and 5 and point out some facts that present themselves in this tale of sin, judgment, war, faith, and victory. I want you to see how God used a courageous, faithful woman to deliver His people from bondage and oppression. I want you to see that God is still using women for His glory every single day. Let’s walk through these verses together and meet “Deborah: A Woman Of Conviction And Courage”.
v. 1-3 THE SPIRITUAL MELTDOWN IN ISRAEL
These verses describe the horrible spiritual conditions that existed in Israel during the time Of Deborah.
v. 1 Their Corruption – After Ehud delivered Israel from Eglon and the Moabites, the land has rest from war for 80 years,( Judges 3:30). As long as Ehud lived and judged the nation, the people followed God and served Him. When Ehud passed from the scene, the people returned to their sinful ways. We are told that they “again did evil in the sight of the Lord”: Judges 5:8 says, “they chose new gods”. The people of Israel turned their back on the God of their salvation and followed the gods of the Canaanites. There was a spiritual void in their lives and they walked away from the Lord. They no longer had Ehud to direct them, to guide them, to give them the truth, and they wandered from the right path.
The children of Israel are a picture of what we see all too often in our churches. We see people who will follow God for a while, and then when there is a spiritual void in their lives, they turn away from God and seek their own ways. Perhaps it is the death of a special loved one. A parent, a grandparent, or some other influential relative will pass away, and the believer finds his foundation is gone. It is sad when we base our faith on those around us and not on the Lord.
Sometimes it happens when a preacher leaves a church. When the preacher leaves, the people will sometimes scatter. This should not be! Our faith should be in the God Who gave Himself to save us, and not in any man. We should live just as close and just as clean regardless of who is removed from our lives. This kind of things happens when believers get their eyes on men and not on the Lord,(Heb. 12:1-3).
We need to be very careful! Like Israel, the old enemies from the past will rise up when you least expect them to. That sin you thought was conquered will defeat you if you give it an opportunity! You aren’t safe until you get home to glory and are delivered from this flesh, (Rom. 7:14-25; 1 Cor. 10:12).
v. 2 Their Chastisement – When Israel rebelled against God, He responded by giving them over to their enemies for punishment. The Bible says He “sold” them. This words means to “turn over; to give up”. In other words, God abandoned them to the life they chose for themselves. They paid a terrible price for their rebellion. The condition of the nation is described in Judges 5:6-7. They were literally driven from their highways and their homes
There is still a high price to pay for disobedience to the will of the Lord. When we choose our ways over His ways, and when we choose to follow other gods instead of Him, we can expect His displeasure. He will send chastisement into our lives, (Heb. 12:6-11; Deut 8:5; Rev. 3:19).
I don’t know about you, but I do not want to experience the displeasure and chastisement of the Lord in my life. The only way to avoid that is to keep short accounts with Him and confess sin when it appears in our lives,( Pro. 28:13; 1 John 1:9).
He might touch me through my flesh by bringing sickness or other sorrows into my life, (Psa. 51:3; 40:12; 38:1-11).
He might touch me through my family by working through them to bring me back to Him, (2 Sam. 12).
He might touch me through my finances by bringing me to a place of want where I realize where my supply comes from, (Hag. 1:6).
He might touch me through my future by allowing me to reap the full consequences of what I have sown, (Gal. 6:7).
I don’t know how God will work in your life or mine, but I do know that He will work. We may sin, but we will never get away with it, (Num. 32:23).
v. 3 Their Cry – Israel was oppressed by Jabin and his armies for 20 years. As far as Israel was concerned, Jabin was undefeatable. He possessed a powerful army anchored by 900 chariots of iron. The helpless armies of Israel were no match for this enemy. According to Judges 5:8, the Israelites possessed no weapons. They were a conquered, defeated people. They were a people without hope. Eventually, they came to the place where they were tired of their situation. They called on the Lord and He heard them. But, you will notice that they did not cry out in repentance, they cried out for deliverance from their problems. Israel never seemed to realize that walking with the Lord, and honoring His Word and His ways brought His blessings, while rebellion and wickedness always brought His judgment.
Most people in our day never learn that lesson either. People call on the Lord so that He will deliver them from their problems, while they fail to deal with the root of their problem, which is their sin. If we really want to be delivered from the oppressive effects of evil and the harsh whip of chastisement, we must deal honestly with our sins before the Lord. Our goal should not just be to escape our problems; our goal should be to be found pleasing to the Lord. Our goal should not just be to have an easier time in life; our goal should be to be right with the Lord in every area of our lives. If we could ever learn to seek the Lord’s will above all things, we could be spared a lot of the hardships we are forced to face in life
“Gentle Shepherd” By: Gloria and William Gaither (1974)
Gentle Shepherd come and feed us
for we need you to help us find our way
Gentle Shepherd come and feed us
for we need your strength from day to day
There's no other we can turn to
who can help us face another day
Gentle Shepherd come and feed us
for we need to you to help us find our way
THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Holy and Righteous Father, Merciful and Just God! We know when we fast and pray our prayers gain new power. Help us to do this, especially when we have to make important decisions as we seek Your guidance. Grant us the discipline to fast regularly so we can be prepared when we have to make quick decisions. Enable us to be ready, when great difficulties come our way, by Your Word and Your Spirit to handle great opportunities to serve and bring You glory, honor and praise. This we ask and pray in the blessed name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen!
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