Read Judges 3:1
The Lord uses other nations to test Israel's loyalty (Judg. 3:1,4). Notice the sequence: First servitude — Mesopotamia — 1st Judge Othniel. Second servitude — Moab — 2nd Judge Ehud. Third servitude — Philistia — 3rd Judge Shamgar (3:8-31). Fourth servitude — Canaan — 4th Judge Deborah (along with Barak).
At this dismal time in Israel's history, nothing is said of the priests of God 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 (Josh. 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 Israelites who were again servants of the Canaanites. However, God chose two women and God used them mightily to defeat His enemy and theirs. Deborah would act as the head (Judg. 4:4) and Jael as the hand (4:21) in defeating the powerful King Jabin of Canaan, the captain of whose host was Sisera who had kept Israel in slavery for twenty years (4:2-3).
What was it about Deborah that helped encourage and convince Barak to accomplish Israel's first united action since the conquest (possibly 175 years earlier)? Obviously, there was no visible evidence that the enemy could be defeated. Nor did Deborah convince Israel to believe the possibility of conquest. The distinct influence of Deborah is that she was a godly prophetess of God. God always imparts guidance and power to everyone who undertakes to do His will regardless of adverse circumstances. Deborah had said to Barak: I will surely go with thee. . . . 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 (Matt. 9:38). A distinctive role of Christ's church is to manifest His resurrection life. This newness of life (Rom. 6:4) is something much deeper than doctrine, good works, and a growing membership. Needed more than ever in our churches today are men like Caleb and Joshua and women like Deborah and Jael. God destroyed the power of death and defeated death through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:18). Today, God uses the church to tell the Good News of our Savior and Lord and 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:
How great are His signs! and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation (Dan. 4:3).
By Othniel, a deliverer upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rested (Judg. 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 (Rom. 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 groves idols, trees or poles set up near an altar for idol worship; 3:13 gathered recruited; 3:18 made an end to offer the present finished giving the tribute; bare carried; 3:19 Keep silence leave us alone; 3:24 covereth his feet taking a nap; 4:13 Gentiles nations; 4:15 discomfited struck terror in; 4:16 host army; fell upon the edge of the sword were killed; 5:10 ride on white asses sold public offices; 5:11 go down to the gates defend themselves; 5:14 root new; 5:15 princes rulers; 5:18 jeoparded risked; 5:30 sped found (the enemy); divers various.
Pray for Staff: Jennifer Cunningham • Country: Bahamas (284,000) in the northern portion of the West Indies • Major languages: English and some Creole • Religious freedom • 72% Protestant; 26% Roman Catholic; 1% Afro-American spiritist • Prayer Suggestion: Wives, ask the Lord to give you a submissive spirit to your husbands as if it were to the Lord, and husbands, ask the Lord to give you a heart to love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:22-25).
Optional Reading: John 14:1
Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 1:8