(Today's post by Jacob Moore)

Judges 4

This chapter starts with the Israelites messing up. For anyone who is at all familiar with the Old Testament, he or she knows that the Israelites mess up a lot. Samuel (after a quick Google search, it seems we're not 100% sure who the author of Judges is, but Samuel is the dude we normally give the credit) even states that “the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (4:1 NIV). Because the Israelites are so often doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, the Lord often punishes them. The punishment for once again doing evil: slavery.

The Israelites are sold to a king named Jabin, and the commander of Jabin’s army is a man named Sisera. At this time, Sisera has cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, and, perhaps even scarier, has 900 chariots. He’s a very powerful man, and the Israelites are very aware, because they immediately cry to the Lord for help.

While enslaved to Jabin, the Israelites leader is a prophetess named Deborah. God tells Deborah what the Israelites need to do to escape from Jabin and Sisera, and she relays the information to man named Barak. Barak basically said, “Fine, I’ll do it, but only if you, Deborah, come with me.” She agrees, but she warns Barak that because of his cowardice the honor of Sisera’s death will not be given to Barak, as it should, but to a woman.

Barak, Deborah, and ten thousand men attack Siisera and his 900 chariots, and with the Lord’s help, the Israelites destroy every single man except for Sisera. Somehow, Sisera escapes the attack and finds himself in a tent with a woman named Jael. Jael waits until Sisera falls asleep and then hammers a tent peg through the temple of his head and into the ground. Yes.

The Israelites then become stronger and stronger until they destroy the king.

This chapter starts with the Israelites doing evil. This chapter ends with the Israelites being made stronger. And it’s all because they cried to the Lord for help.

So often when I do wrong, I fall into darkness, and the last thing I want to do is cry out to the Lord for help. I’m much too prideful, and so the darkness lasts longer than it should. Once I’m in darkness, I can’t see, and I continue doing more wrong. I need to remember that as soon as I make a mistake — as soon as I sin, as soon as I do wrong in the eyes of the Lord — I need to cry out for help and forgiveness. And though I am a pathetic human being who might mess up even more than the Israelites, God can make me stronger. And in just one chapter.

Take-away: When I do wrong, cry for help. Get strong.

How fast do you run to The Lord?

Do you avoid Him when you feel like you've 'let Him' down?

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  • keith senator

    I like the way Jacob walks us through the chapter. That was pretty cool. I am brought to a place of introspection from the reading. With it I am summoned to look more closely at the character of God, and also our relation to Him (individually or collectively). The question for me is about obedience and our role in the process. My personal view is that God wants us to be utterly dependent on Him. The counter would be that we know what we should do and can summon motivation ourselves. So where does this motivation for holiness come from? When I get up in the morning, is it a choice to read the Bible, generated by my knowledge that as a Christian I should do so. Or is it out of the Grace of God that he draws me into walking with Him.

    Great thoughts and application points. Very cool.

    • I wonder if anyone will chime in here? This is an interesting question you have posed, Mr. Senator.

  • Steven Gregory

    To me Jacob and Jeff have summed it all up very well. When I fail I need to immediately recognize and not try to cover or lose hope but go straight to God. The Isrealites would have never left bondage without God.

  • Jeff Morton

    Wow, great perspective! I usually try to fix myself, cleaning the outside of the vessel first, all the while letting mold grow on the inside, and knowing better. I feel like this is the biggest battle of men. Regardless of what gets us dirty, most of us feel like we have to hide our weakness….. Good ole American theology! Praise God for other men honestly seeking Him, and leading the way!

    • Steven Gregory

      Jeff, you are right on.

    • Dude..that is convicting..thanks for sharing.

  • Brad Bacon

    Adding to Brandon’s point on giving God conditions – in this case, Barak told Deborah he would only go if she went with him. There is certainly comfort in numbers, and having a partner is helpful to accomplish a task, But when God calls us, we don’t need another human to join the mission: we have the Almighty God as our partner! We cannot fail.

  • Brandon

    My take away from this passage…There is no victory if you don’t say yes immediately to the Lord. Barak didn’t trust and so therefore he is not the one we talk about. We talk about Deborah. We can’t give God conditions. History doesn’t wait for those who can’t seize the opportunity. God’s will IS going to be done, so when He asks it of you do it!

    • man..that’s right in line with yesterday’s sermon too.. the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builder. Jesus expects us to obey. Simple. but difficult.

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