Highlights In Today's Reading:
Other nations test Israel's faith (3:1,4). Notice the sequence. First, servitude by Mesopotamia — 1st Judge — Othniel. Second, servitude by Moab — 2nd Judge — Ehud. Third, servitude by the Philistines — 3rd Judge — Shamgar. Fourth, servitude by Canaan — 4th & 5th Judges — Deborah and Barak. Deliverance = song of praise.
At this dismal time in Israel's history, nothing is said of God's priests who presented the sacrifices and prayers of the people before the Lord. Had they forgotten that the Captain of the (Lord's) Host would lead as they fought their battles (Joshua 5:14)? This Captain of the Host (Christ) had appeared to Joshua at the beginning of the campaigns.
But now there is no Moses or Joshua or Caleb to encourage the people. Who could have supposed that just two women would have been mightily used of God to meet one of the most serious crises in Israel's history — one to act as the head (Judges 4:4) and the other to act as the hand (4:21) — in defeating the power that had kept Israel in slavery for twenty years (4:3).
What was there about Deborah that helped her encourage and convince Barak to accomplish Israel's first united action since the conquest, 175 years earlier? Obviously, there was no visible evidence that the enemy could be defeated. Nor did she convince Israel to believe the possibility of conquest. The distinct influence of Deborah is that she was a godly woman who, as a prophetess of God, was able to impart hope of a new life of freedom from oppression. But equally important, God always imparts guidance and power to everyone who undertakes to do His will. Deborah had said to Barak: I will surely go with thee. . . . Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from Mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him (4:9,14).
Jesus said to pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest (Matthew 9:38).
A distinctive role of Christ's Church is to manifest His resurrection life. This newness of life (Romans 6:4) is something much deeper than doctrine, good works, and a growing membership. Of utmost importance in our churches today are more men like Caleb and more women like Deborah. God, who destroyed the power of death through Christ's resurrection (Revelation 1:18), now uses the Church to tell the Good News of our Savior and Lord — the Church established by Christ to bring others to receive Him and His resurrection life.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Thought for Today:
God can do great things through every person who is willing to be obedient to His Word. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13).
By Othniel, a deliverer upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rested (Judges 3:9-11). The Spirit of God was also upon Christ, our Deliverer (Matt. 3:16). There shall come out of Sion (Zion) the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Romans 11:26). Jesus declared: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me . . . to preach deliverance to the captives (Luke 4:18).
3:7 served Baalim and the groves =b> worshiped idols; 3:22 haft =b> handle; 3:29 lusty =b> strong fighters; 3:30 fourscore =b> 80; 4:21 nail of the tent =b> a large tent peg for holding down the tent.
Pray for English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in honor of Bonnie Wilhite • Staff: Jennifer Cunningham • Government Official: Gov. Michael Easley (NC) • Country: Honduras (6 million) in Central America • Major languages: Spanish and Indian dialects • Religious freedom • 86% Roman Catholic; 10% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Remember, what is impossible with men is possible with God (Matthew 19:26).
Optional Reading: John 14
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:22