This week at the Rock we continued on through our study in the book of Judges and looked at the story of Deborah in Judges 4-5.
When Pastor Miles and his wife took their daughter to college a couple of years back, their reactions to leaving their daughter greatly differed. Pastor Miles explained that his wife was crying the whole way home, while all he wanted to do was find a place to eat.
God created man and woman differently, in the beginning of the book of Genesis, God created woman because it was not good for man to be alone. Woman is a helper to man, and though women and men are created differently by God they can both be used to effectively minister to others.
Introduction to Deborah
In Judges 4 we meet Deborah. Deborah serves as a judge over Israel for sixty years. Deborah represents a woman providing leadership instead of a man. Debroah was a prophetess, a spiritual leader, and a military leader in Israel. And as we see in Judges 5 Deborah was a songwriter as well.
As we continue to study through Judges we see a common trend among the Israelites, and that is the cycle of living that they are ROPED in. Pastor Miles talked about this ROPED in living the Israelites were stuck in, when we began this study through the book of Judges.
ROPED is an acronym for:
We see this same cycle in the story of Deborah. The Israelites once again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and were oppressed under Jabin the king of Cannan. They cried out to the Lord for help. But through Deborah's leadership the people of Israel pressed hard against Jabin and destroyed him, and the land of Israel had rest for 40 years.
Christians can get stuck in this kind of cycle of living. We may be stuck in a pattern of sin, seeking God's forgiveness, experiencing His forgiveness, love, and peace, but then get roped into the sin again!
Living a New Life
God may be calling us to live our Christian life differently. Pastor Miles told us that Christianity is a life of opposites.
We must be open to seeing things completely backwards from how the world has trained us to see it; thus doing things contrary to the way we are accustomed to.
Looking at the story of Deborah, Judges 4:4-5 states, Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided.
Deborah, the Leader
We see that Deborah must have held the respect of the Israelites for them to come to her with their issues.
We see Deborah's leadership skills spiritually and militarily in Judges 2:6-10, She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.' Barak said to her, "If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go." "Very well," Deborah said, "I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman." So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh, where he summoned Zebulun and Naphtali. Ten thousand men followed him, and Deborah also went with him"
Deborah is led by the Lord's voice and leads others in spiritual guidance. Deborah directed the military to fight and not hide. Deborah was a woman ready to do the work God was calling her to, courageously leading.
Deborah and Jael
Because of Barak's hesitation to go to fight, Deborah told him that the honor in the fight would go not to him, but a woman. That woman was Jael.
Judges 4:17-22 states, Sisera, however, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there were friendly relations between Jabin king of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite. Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, "Come, my Lord , come right in. Don't be afraid." So he entered her tent, and she put a covering over him. "I'm thirsty," he said. "Please give me some water." She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up. "Stand in the doorway of the tent," he told her. "If someone comes by and asks you, 'Is anyone here?' say 'No.' " But Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died. Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. "Come," she said, "I will show you the man you're looking for." So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple-dead."
In this story we see the impact of the touch of a woman. Deborah was strong and obedient to God. She grants the glory to another woman instead of a man.
What's Holding You Back?
Deborah lived and put to use the gifts God gave her to bring honor and glory to Him.
Are you faithful to the gifts God has given you? If God has called you to lead others, are you leading others?
No matter who you are God has given you gifts and talents. Have confidence in those gifts and use them for His glory. Though we don't always know what is in the path ahead of us, God is calling us to trust Him, and take the step of faith.
Matthew 19:21 states, Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Is there something in your life, in the way that you are living that needs to be changed in order to be able to wholly follow God? Have you been following what the world tells you is good?
Remember what Pastor Miles said, the Christian life is one of opposites. Forget what the world says is good, and follow after what God says is good.