Friday, November 30, 2012
DEBORAH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Fri, 11/30/2012
DEBORAH: A WOMAN OF CONVICTION AND COURAGE, Lesson 5b
v. 4-24 THE SPECIAL MINISTRY OF DEBORAH
v. 4-5 Her Position – The Bible is very clear; Deborah was both a “prophetess” and a “judge”. Her name means “Bee”, and she was as busy as a bee! Matthew Henry says that her very name suggests the work of the bee: industrious, sharp perception (discernment), great usefulness, sweetness to her friends, and sharpness to her enemies.
The word “prophetess” suggests that she received direct revelation from the Lord and shared that word with His people. Deborah is not the only “prophetess” mentioned in the Bible. Others include: Miriam, (Ex. 15:20); Huldah,( 2 Kings 22:14); Anna, (Luke 2:36); and the four daughters of Philip, (Acts 21:9).
There is no contradiction between this fact and the fact that God only calls men to preach, (2 Tim. 3:1-8). God laid His hand on these women and poured His truth through them in an age when there was not a complete Bible. In this age, we have a completed Bible. God does not call women to preach in this age, (1 Tim. 2:8-15).
The word “judge” lets us know that she settled disputes among the people of Israel,( v. 5). They came to her with their problems and she rendered judgment. In a very real sense, Deborah, was the leader of the nation during those dark days.
v. 6-7 Her Prophecy – Deborah receives a word from the Lord and she calls Barak, to take 10,000 soldiers and go to war with the enemy. The Lord promises to defeat Sisera, the Canaanite general. God promises a great victory, if they will simply trust Him. And go to war.
v. 8-9 Her Problem – Deborah has a word from the Lord. She shares that word with Barak, and she finds that Barak seems to be afraid to follow that word. He is willing to go to battle, but only if Deborah will go with him. She agrees to go, but tells him that since he depended on a woman, the glory of victory will be given to the woman!
v. 10-24 Her Partner – Barak and Israel go to war with Sisera and the Canaanites. Barak gets 10,000 from his own tribe of Naphtali and the neighboring tribe of Zebulon, (Judges 4:6, 10; 5:14, 18). Later, the ranks swelled to 40,000,( 5:8), with volunteers from Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Issachar, (5:5:14-15). Some of the tribes refused to come, (5:15-17), but those which did saw God give them a great victory.
Considering the fact that Israel had no weapon,( 5:8), and no standing army, what Barak and Deborah did was an amazing act of faith. They trusted God and He have them a great victory!
Verse 15 tells us that God “discomfited” Sisera and his armies. Judges 5:21 tells us what happened. As they fought, God allowed the Kishon River to overflow its banks, the iron chariots of Sisera became stuck in the mud and the soldiers were swept away by the currents. All the soldiers of Sisera were slain, (4:15).
Seeing that his army was defeated, Sisera fled the battlefield on foot. He went to the tent of a man named Heber, who was of the Kenites. The Kenites were a people group who aligned themselves with Israel. This particular family, however, had turned on the rest of the tribe and took sides with Sisera and his army.
So, Sisera flees to the tent of Heber thinking that he will find refuge there. Heber’s wife Jael greets Sisera and invites him into her tent. She helps him hide from his pursuers, (v. 18). Sisera asks Jael for a drink of water, she brings him a drink of milk instead. The offer of milk served two purposes. First, it eased the mind of Sisera. He was convinced that he had entered the tent of a friend and that he was safe. He asks Jael to lie for him, (v. 20). Second, the milk would have helped him fall asleep. He was already tired from the battle and when he drank the milk and laid down in the darkness, it wasn’t long until sleep overtook him. While he slept, Jael takes one of the tent nails and drives it through Sisera’s head, killing him, ( v. 21).
In that culture, it was the woman’s responsibility to put up and take down the tents. So, Jael was used to swinging that hammer. This woman was not stupid! When she saw Sisera come to her tent on foot, she knew that he had been defeated in battle. She also knew that if she was caught hiding him in her tent, she might be put to death with him when Barak found them. She saw that Israel had come out on top in the battle and she wanted to be found on the right side when the dust settled. Jael was a wise woman!
Let me stop here and say a word about women in the church. Thank God for the women! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!
They are not second class saints. They fulfill a vital role in God’s kingdom work. If all the women were removed from the average local church, the work of the church would grind to a halt. I have watched the ladies work while the men just stood around and talked. Most men are spoiled. Their mothers did everything for them when they were growing up. Their wives have done everything for them since they have been married and they don’t know how to do anything but grunt work outside.
Women hold a vital place in the work of the church. They are the ones who, for the most part, teach our children. They are the ones who have the kind of compassion that drives the outreach ministries of the church. They are the ones who bring the gifts of grace, love and mercy to the table. By and large, they are more dependable than the men, when it comes to be involved in the work of the church. The women in every church exert tremendous influence on the children in the church. I thank God for the godly, active women in the Lord’s church!
“Jesus, Rose Of Sharon” By: Ida A. Guirey (1921)
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom within my heart
Beauties of Thy truth and holiness impart
That where’er I go my life may shed abroad
Fragrance of the knowledge of the love of God
Jesus, blessed Jesus, Rose of Sharon
Bloom in radiance
And in love within my heart
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, sweeter far to see
Than the fairest flow’rs of earth could ever be
Fill my life completely, adding more each day
Of Thy grace divine and purity, I pray
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, balm for ev’ry ill
May Thy tender mercy’s healing power distil
For afflicted souls of weary burdened men
Giving needy mortals health and hope again
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom forevermore
Be Thy glory seen on earth from shore to shore
Till the nations own Thy sov’reignty complete
Lay their honors down and worship at Thy feet
THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Heavenly Father, Glorious God! We pray that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope in which You have called us, the riches of our inheritance and Your incomparably great power for us who believe in Jesus Christ. Enable us to comprehend thy mighty works on our behalf because of our faith in You. Help us to seek and understand more of Your presence and power being manifested daily in our life to Your glory and Honor. These things we pray and ask in the Almight name of Jesus. Amen!
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