Today: [Judges Chapter Five]: Mothers in Israel Arise! Are you a “mother in Israel”? We hear this term a lot in the church. Do you know why Deborah was considered a mother in Israel? There were specific things she did and specific things she did NOT DO. Many women take this honor upon themselves or have it ascribed by others. The important thing is not to have the “title” but to actually be a mother-in-Israel as Deborah was. Deborah is one of the most honored women in biblical history because she defied the status quo and stood up in the power of her gift and led a nation to victory.
Today: [Judges Chapter Five]: Today: [Judges Chapter Five]: Mothers in Israel Arise! Are you a “mother in Israel”? We hear this term a lot in the church. Do you know why Deborah was considered a mother in Israel? There were specific things she did and specific things she did NOT DO. Many women take this honor upon themselves or have it ascribed by others. The important thing is not to have the “title” but to actually be a mother-in-Israel as Deborah was. Deborah is one of the most honored women in biblical history because she defied the status quo and stood up in the power of her gift and led a nation to victory.
[Jdg 5:1-31 KJV] 1 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, 2 Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves. 3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, [even] I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing [praise] to the LORD God of Israel. 4 LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. 5 The mountains melted from before the LORD, [even] that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel.
The authorship of the book of Judges is attributed traditionally to Samuel. It speaks of looking back to the time when Israel had no king suggesting it was written shortly after the inauguration of Saul as it’s first king. What is interesting about this chapter is that it is an ode or poem written by Deborah. To my knowledge this would make it the only scriptural passage authored by a woman. What a powerful influence she must have been in her lifetime that she has a legacy that reached down from the time of the judges to the era of kings. She was such a potent leader that even as a woman one of her writings (which may have been many) found a place in the contemporary sacred history of Israel.
Deborah is powerful and a great example because she stepped into the arena of military affairs completely ignoring what society would say her place was. When you read her history she was very secure in herself and her walk with God. She provoked Barak to obey God and lead an army without any hint of defensiveness regarding her gender. She looked past herself and obeyed God in behalf of those she cared about.
Deborah was also an educated woman. So she not only stepped into the affairs of state traditionally exclusive to men she also dared to become a learned person – probably one of the very few women of her day who could write as well as read. Her motive for doing so does not show any self focus but rather she was called and anointed of God to provoke and encourage and lead her people to revolt against the pagan influences of her day and return the people to liberty and freedom.
6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travellers walked through byways. 7 [The inhabitants of] the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel. 8 They chose new gods; then [was] war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?
The oppression against Israel during the reign of king Jabin was very great. There were no weapons to be found among thousands of people and they could not even travel freely on the highways but rather had to confine themselves to back roads and byways so they could avoid being molested by foreign fighters. She calls for men of courage to rise up but she also points out how they got in this condition in the first place.
“The chose new gods, then was war in the gates …”
As individuals and as groups we live in a time of war both naturally, culturally, individually and spiritually. When there is war in our gates let the scripture discern the situation. Have we chosen other gods? How would we know we have done this? Our first reaction is to point to others and say yes the political institutions around us or the religious institutions around us have chosen other gods and caused all these problems. If you look deeper though the religious institutions and political instructions of our day haven’t chosen the new gods of our culture they ARE the new gods of our culture.
In 1 John 5 the writer warns the Christians against idolatry. Now these believers were not visiting pagan temples. Yet John warns them:
[1Jo 5:21 KJV] 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
What is idolatry. Idolatry is looking to something or someone else for what we ought to be looking to god for. If we believe the words of Jesus when He said the kingdom of God is within us – then idolatry is any outward dependence. Idolatry further proposes the dwelling place of God to be somewhere other than the human heart. When our security and dependence are found in religious infrastructure or if we look to the political scene for problems to be solve this is idolatry. The question of king David in Psa. 121:1 is “… do I look to the hills whence cometh my help…” this is a question not a statement. The hills were where pagan worship took place. Where are you going for your security, protection, information, and trust? When we allow other things to become our strength and our source we become functional idolater and as a result we will have war in our gates.
9 My heart [is] toward the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the LORD. 10 Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way. 11 [They that are delivered] from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD, [even] the righteous acts [toward the inhabitants] of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the LORD go down to the gates.
In a time of instability Deborah says look to the governors or leaders who put themselves at risk in behalf of the people. She identifies leaders not as those who sit in seats of human authority but those who put themselves at risk to speak truth in places where the challenge arises. The people couldn’t even go to the public wells to draw water because of archers lying in wait to strike them down. Yet here were true servant leaders exposing themselves to danger not hiding behind excuses to stand up for righteousness.
Notice that these governors were not rehearsing all the bad things the enemies of God were doing. Critics are not leaders. Those who stand in the safety of their pulpits and decry the ills of the day, the political problems and all that the enemy is doing are not leaders. The leaders that God recognizes who will be empowered to conquer in His name are those who are “… rehearsing the righteous acts of the Lord…” When we ask “what is the world coming to” and “when will the people rise up …” it is NOT when we talk about and focus on all the bad things going on but when we rehearse the “righteous acts of the Lord…” THEN the people will rise up and go down to the gates …” In our culture we are so captures by the bad news that it has become a business that dominates the world scene and drives world events. The very definition of information and valuable communication has been totally coopted by the news organizations such as FOX, CNN, MSNBC so much so that they are referred to in the US as the 4th branch of government. You will not hear the good news on Cable News. The source you go to will determine the character of your life’s experience. Let’s go to the gospel! The “Sky Isn’t Falling the Kingdom is Coming!”
12 Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam. 13 Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty. 14 Out of Ephraim [was there] a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer. 15 And the princes of Issachar [were] with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben [there were] great thoughts of heart. 16 Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben [there were] great searchings of heart. 17 Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches. 18 Zebulun and Naphtali [were] a people [that] jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.
If you are going to confront the enemy at the gates of your life you must be willing to accept that not everyone will go with you. Ruben didn’t go to this battle. They had “… great thoughts of heart ….” They wanted to think about it. There were “… bleatings of sheep…” They used the people as an excuse. They claimed they wanted to “put the sheep first…” Deborah was a woman who wouldn’t wait for a consensus or a coalition of the willing before she would call up mighty women and men of God to the battle. Not everyone will be on your team when you decide to abandon the status quo and stand up for God in behalf of yourself and your loved ones. Gilead stayed behind. Dan remained in her ships. Dan means judge. They were very adept at identifying the problem but they weren’t about to do anything about it. They stayed behind in the safety of their ports and wouldn’t come out to support Deborah. Judgmental people only support those who articulate the problem they have no heart or intention to stand up for change. You cannot wait around for all the “do nothings” to decide there isn’t anything to do… you must embrace the gospel and stand up for yourself even when others won’t support you. You cannot allow the fact that the so called honorable, legitimate authorities and counseling think you are making a mistake. They will think any plan they didn’t come up with couldn’t possibly be God.
19 The kings came [and] fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money. 20 They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. 21 The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength. 22 Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones. 23 Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.
The waters of Megiddo speak of the doctrines of hopelessness and apocalyptic thinking. Many look at the affairs of life and say “… yes it is the end time there is nothing we can do about it …” This is a major battle that you will have to wage and if you do look what happens: heaven and the stars in the courses will fight with you. Remember that this warfare was initiated by those that received the prophetic word from Deborah. When you embrace the gospel and stand up to obey the prophetic mandate in your life all of heaven will ally itself with you. The pastors weren’t coming up with any answers. The teachers pouring through the five books of Moses available during this time couldn’t find a solution. Who is the prophet in your life? Find that out and find out what they are saying that applies to your life and all of heaven will conspire in your favor to destroy the works of the enemy against you.
24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. 25 He asked water, [and] she gave [him] milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. 26 She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. 27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead. 28 The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot [so] long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? 29 Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself, 30 Have they not sped? have they [not] divided the prey; to every man a damsel [or] two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of divers colours of needlework on both sides, [meet] for the necks of [them that take] the spoil? 31 So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but [let] them that love him [be] as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.
Jael cannot be forgotten. What many fail to notice is that Jael is not an Israelite. She is of the line of Moses father-in-law. This was not her fight. Her husband and his family were neutral in this conflict between Jabin and the Israelites. This is a HUGE stronghold in people’s lives today. We see a family in trouble or a marriage disintegrating and we say “… not my problem, I don’t want to get involved…” Yet those who claim to be in authority are looking the other way. Jael was put in a position by the sovereignty of God and she risked her life to win a victory for a people not her own. To let Sisera in her tent was equivalent to being guilty of adultery. She could have been dragged out in public and stoned. Yet she risked her own life to stand with a disenfranchised people. Remember the Israelites were idolaters. They got themselves into this situation that brought them under oppression. Jael loved them in spite of themselves. Why? Because as a woman she was drawing water every day and every day hearing the true leaders in Israel hazarding their lives at the well to rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord.
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