Judges Series BadgeJudges Series


Who was Deborah, the strong a woman used by God? Drawing from this incredible account, Dylan draws many important lessons for us today: how God utilizes our trials for our good and His glory; how God has distinct plan and purpose for each individual; and the importance of being willing and available to hear God's plan and respond obediently.

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Dylan Flood


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Good morning church if you've got your Bibles here I'm going to encourage you to open up to judges 4 and 5 and you're not mistaken we are backtracking from last week but we're continuing on from two weeks ago so four and 5 we're not going to read it all together but can I encourage you this week to read these two chapters because they're so rich and so beneficial they've been a blessing to me and I'm sure that they'll be a blessing to you I'm going to test your memories two weeks ago David loer preached on the judge ehad and we we heard about the work which he did we heard about what God did to deliver Israel from oppression and we read at the very end of that in judges 3: 30 that Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel and the land had rest for 80 years 80 years Israel had rest and we're going to continue on from that directly into chapter 4 and we're going to look at a judge that stands out against all the other judges and that is the judge of Deborah and she stands out for two reasons one she is the only judge in the Book of Judges who is a female and we have to remember that in this time Israel the the whole ancient near East was very patriarchal as in men had Authority and they would generally the leaders and the higher ups but here we have Deborah a strong woman of Faith who is set as the judge of Israel the second thing that makes it stand out is that up until now when we've mentioned the judges we've said their name take ehad for an example and the whole story has focused pretty well on them and their actions and what God has called them to do and yet here W Deborah is very much the judge she is the one that God set aside to be judge at this time we could almost call this section of scripture Deborah Amber and JL because there's a call on each of these people and God uses them in a very particular way according to his will I don't know whether you've still got it at the beginning of this series we handed out a piece of paper from the Bible project don't stress if you don't it'll be up on the screen they do a wonderful job at visualizing what's going on throughout the entire Book of Judges hopefully you've picked up the theme that each and every week we seem to go through this cycle with Israel where they're at peace peace they then sin they fall under oppression they repent they're delivered and there's peace again and here we've seen that peace has come for 80 years as I was looking through to try and find where each of these steps happened during the week so easy first three verses are the first three transitions first three verses we go from peace to sin to oppression to repentance let's read it's says in judges 41 and the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after ehad died and the Lord sold them into the hand of jbin king of Canan who reigned in hazor the commander of his army was CER who lived in harth hego then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help for he had n 900 Chariots of iron and he oppressed the people of Israel cruy for 20 years we read those three verses it doesn't take a lot to skip through them and quite quickly when we know that there's a cycle we can look to the deliverance we can look to okay Deborah is the judge what she's going to what is God going to do through her to fix this but I want to encourage us this morning just to stop and and reflect on these first three verses see Israel did Vil in the sight of the Lord when when ehad died the same ehad who had brought them back to focusing on God There Was 80 years of Peace 80 years where Israel was good with God they weren't necessarily doing evil in his sights why because ehad was there and they kept he kept bringing their focus back to God and yet we see that when ehad dies Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord they hadn't taken this teaching this direction this lesson from God that they actually need him they had to keep being reminded and so when the reminder stopped so their attention wavered and they became sinful again they did evil in the sight of the Lord and so what happened well the Lord sold them into the hands of Canaan they became oppressed and it's easy to think of these things is happening one after the other but the thing that baffles me is in verse three we're told for 20 years the Israelites were cruy oppressed 20 years and then they repented I don't know about you I'm 24 20 years is a long time okay that's most of my life to just be going oh this isn't great I wonder what we could do about it and then 20 years later going oh that godf everything was all good when we were under him 20 years and we're told that unlike the oppression that had come before this was particularly cruel and we're told that the Canaanite Army were particularly Advanced see we're told that they had Chariots of iron and that might not mean much for us today but let's put it into perspective a modern day equivalent would be saying that Israel who are the oppressed people are weaponless okay they've got me myself and I and that's about it maybe if they're lucky to Pitchfork and the opposing army they have reinforced tanks that's the reality that we're looking at they were cruy oppressed for 20 years and yet God is faithful and we see in the cycle that he heard the cries of his people we he he heard that they repented and he acted to bring Deliverance before we continue would you bow with me as we pray Heavenly Father we thank you for your word we thank you for the truth which you reveal to us through it and we just pray that as we come now to hear from your word Lord God that you would speak to each and every one of us in the way in which you have planned Lord God let us have ears to listen and hearts to respond we pray in the name of Jesus Christ amen if you're taking notes the first major point that we want to point out for today is that God can and does use suffering for our good and His glory god can and does use suffering for our good and His glory seems kind of counterintuitive but it's true see if you were here last week Pastor Dave reminded us that God is gracious he reminded us that Grace is getting what we do not deserve and he reminded us that God rescues rebellious people for no other reason than he chooses to do so see we may read through this and go man 20 years of cruel appro that's pretty rough but why were they there why did God hand them over to this it wasn't because of anything he did necessarily he just stopped protecting them he let their actions speak for themselves in a very real way their suffering came as a result of their sin and sometimes in our lives that can be the case we can do something which Rebels against God we can do something sinful and we can notice the direct affected that but sometimes I know there's many of us sitting in the congregation today who have experienced suffering for no other reason than they have experienced suffering they haven't necessarily done anything wrong to deserve it and that's just a reality of the sinful world that we live in the Bible tells us that this is not God's plan I need to make this very very clear this morning that while God can and does use suffering for our good and His glory God does not cause suffering and God does not Delight in our suffering rather s suffering is a consequence of the Fallen state which we are in of the Fallen World which we find ourselves living in and it sucks there's no tiptoeing around it suffering isn't easy and yet I want to give us some hope because just as we get are going to see with Israel God uses their suffering for their good and for his glory and God can use our suffering for our own good and for his glory I'm reminded of Romans 51-11 Paul makes this statement he says therefore since we' have been justified through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand and we boast in the hope of the glory of God not only so but we also glory in our suffering because we know that suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us see we have a gracious God who just like for Israel intervened and brought them back delivered them from the Canaanites so too he saw the suffering of the whole world the suffering that you're going through the suffering that I'll go through any suffering in this world he saw that and he chose to intervene he chose to send his son to die for you and I that whoever believes in him has hope that there is coming a day when all suffering will cease God can and does use suffering for our good and Glory see it strikes me that Israel was in suffering for 20 years before they repented but that begged me to ask the question what if they hadn't suffered what if Israel had done evil in the sight of the Lord and not suffered this oppression could 20 years have turned to 200 years years and could there have just been a lifetime of walking in Rebellion against God with no hope of turning back God can and does use suffering for our good and His glory Point number two is God has a plan and a purpose for everyone we read in here as the scene shifts as we look towards Deliverance in verse chapter 4 now Deborah A prophetes the wife of lepido was judging Israel at that time she used to sit under the palm of Deborah between RAR and bethl in the Hill Country of Ephraim and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment she sent and summoned Barack the son of abom from cadesh Neftali and said to him has not the Lord the god of Israel commanded you go gather your men at Mount Tabor taking 10,000 from the people of Natali and the people of zebin and I will draw out CER the general of jabin's army to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops and I will give him into your hand see right from the beginning we're introduced to two characters Deborah the judge the prophetess this amazing woman who despite being in a patriarchal society will'll see from the response that she gets from Barack was highly respected and Barack this military leader both very very different people but both had a purpose and a call from God God had plans for each of them and he has plans for each and every one of us we see that for Deborah she she was a prophetess she had been given the gift of being God's mouthpiece to the people God's plan for her was to speak his plan and will to her that she would be able to communicate and very really lead Israel in their Deliverance she was a leader and she was a delegator see from the very beginning we see that Deborah knew that this burden was not her Deborah knew that God had called her to play a role and God had a very particular plan and purpose for her life but it wasn't to be as it was with ehad the person who went and physically defeated the king and so she summons Barack and I don't know whether you noticed it but Barack also has a purpose and a plan put in his life by God because when Deborah says this thing to him when Deborah communicates what God has spoken to her to tell him it comes across as an affirmation rather than new information Deborah says has not the Lord the god of Israel commanded you insert God's words and we see that Barack doesn't jump back startled by this he's not surprised by the fact that God's calling him to do this in fact his response goes that he acknowledges that God has said this thing there's no doubt in his mind that God has a purpose and a plan for him and that that has been clearly communicated God has a purpose and a plan for each of us and yet we see in barack's response that there's hesitation Barack said to her being Deborah if you will go with me I will go but if you will not go with me then I will not go Barack had clearly heard God's plan Barack had clearly heard God's call his purpose for his life in this time and yet he says to Deborah hey Deborah if you come with me then yes I will go but if you if you stay if you're not willing to come then I'm not going either and so we question why is this the case we know it wasn't because Barack didn't have faith in fact Hebrews 11 highlights Barack famously for his faith it highlights him as a great man of faith and so what's going on here is that Barack has heard God's plan has heard God's purpose for his life and he has hesitated he's looked at Deborah and put more trust in Deborah and her relationship with God than his own Deborah had brought this affirmation this word from God for what he was supposed to do and he goes I know this is from God but can you come with me it's not necessarily bad that he asked for help but what is bad is that he made it conditional he said if if you come with me then I'll do what God's calling me to do but if you don't then I won't he tried to shift responsibility and so while God has a plan and a purpose for everyone God also gives us the freedom to choose whether or not we are going to participate with what he is doing God's not a dictator he doesn't say you will do what I tell you to do he says I've got a plan I've got a purpose will you join me it's also important to note that that hypothetically if both Deborah and Barack had gone n God this is too hard it's not really the time I'm not feeling it then that wouldn't have stopped God's plan right he's invited them to participate in what he's doing but if they had said no God would have made a way through other people through other means and so then what is the purpose of this plan and this call on our lives well we see that for Barack says to him in verse 9 I will surely go with you nevertheless the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory for the Lord will sell cicera into the hand of a woman what's going on Barack said yeah I'll go and Deborah said I will come with you but because you've hesitated because you haven't been obedient to God straight away because you had that moment of oh do I really want to do what God's calling me to do you're going to miss out on the full blessing that God had for you God had a plan and a purpose for barack's life and to his credit he still did it he's still a great man of Faith but we see the reality that we need Point number three we need to be willing and available not only to hear God's plan but to respond obediently see Barack still played his role he still had a purpose God still had a plan for him and used him in Mighty ways and yet he missed out on the glory of being able to say I was the one who defeated CER his hesitation LED way for God to say it's okay I will use another and as we continue on in judges we see that the the things that that Deborah had communicated to Barack this plan of gods comes to fruition they go out they gather the 10,000 men the the 10,000 Israelites for their army not very well prepared or equipped or or ready for battle and they go up to mount Tor they're there and CER he hears about these things so he goes off he gathers his 900 chariots chariots are Ste this this tank force of Army and while the Israelites are on Mount tabour CER and his army come approaching next to the Kishon River and I don't know about you but if I put myself in the position of the Israelites I would be standing there going we've got the higher ground that's great but they have chariots they have tanks our odds aren't looking that fantastic we know that God's got a plan we know that we're here but but I haven't really seen God doing much yet we're sort of standing here a little bit I I don't know what what's going on and Deborah the judge remember the prophet has the mouth mouthpiece of God to his people she says in verse 14 of chapter 4 she turns to Barack up for this is the day in which the Lord has given CER into your hand does not the Lord go out before you God's prompted her to say these things she's declared hey now is the time God is before us and now in this situation where it seems more logical to doubt right if I'm Barack I'm going where where is God he's I haven't seen him yet there's only chariots down there Barack doesn't hesitate not this time Deborah says upo now is the time and Barack went down from Mount tour with 10,000 men following him he led the charge towards an impossible an impossible enemy God still hasn't necessarily done anything yet that they can see that tangibly they know is going on but he had Faith he knew his purpose he knew his role and he acted obediently we continue reading verse 15 and the Lord routed CER and all his chariots and all his army before Barack by the edge of the sword and CER got down from his Chariot and fled away on foot and Barack pursued the Chariots and the Army see God intervened and it's not very clear of what's going on there you sort of and it's like okay God's done something and CIA is running on foot now it begs a question why would a man who's got a chariot driven by a horse that goes much faster than he can run run away on foot and if we read the song of celebration of praise to God in chapter 5 we get answers see God just didn't intervene in a way that no one knew about as Barack and the 10,000 Israelite men were charging towards this impossible enemy God intervened in a very miraculous way judges 5:21 reveals to us that in fact God sent down rain so much rain that remember they were battling next to the Kishon River so much rain that it caused a flash flood and you go yeah but what's that they've got Chariots of iron chariots of iron tend to be heavy right tanks don't go on lofty Bridges they're heavy and so why does c the captain of this amazing army run away on foot because the Chariots are bogged see this amazing impossible Army was rendered useless because of God's intervention all of a sudden the playing field was leveled and so much so that now there one attack was rendered useless the enemy was on the back foot and so Barack and the army they charge they have them on the back foot they're defeating the enemy and C runs Barack knows his purpose he knows his plan and he chases baraca and it's at this stage remembering the words of deor right that the death of CER would come by the hands of a woman were're introduced to this interesting character she just kind of pops up we're not told too much about her and her name is Jael we're told that she was the wife of Heber the kenite and that at some point hea's family had separated from the kenites but that he was still very much linked to Israel was still very much a part of their people in fact he was a direct descendant of Moses's father-in-law we're also told that for some reason Heber and his family whilst they were isolated from the kenites had peace with King jbin and therefore CER and the Army unlikely person unlikely situation what's God got to do with her just like Deborah just like bar act just like you and I here this morning God had a plan and a purpose and so we're told that CER fled away on foot to the tent of jail verse 17 the wife of he the Canaanite Verse 18 continues to tell us J met came out to meet CER and said to him turn aside my Lord turn aside to me do not be afraid so he turned aside to her into the tent and she covered him with a rug and he said to her please give me some water to drink for I am thirsty so she opened a skin of milk and gave it to him to drink and covered him at this point she's fulfilling her role to be hospitable although as as a hiding spot it's brilliant because men weren't permitted in women's tents and so no one's going to assume that he's hiding in there but to cover himself C says stand at the opening of the tent and if any man comes and asks you is anyone here say no but J the wife of Heber took a tent Peg and took a hammer in her hand then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his Temple until it went down into the ground while he was laying fast asleep from weariness so he died and behold as Barack was pursuing CER J went out to meet him and said to him come and I will show you the man whom you are seeking so he went into her tent and there lay C Dead with the temp peg in his Temple God had a purpose and a plan for JA just like Barack just like Deborah just like for you and me and we see that the plan doesn't just stop there see God was delivering Israel from their oppressors and that wasn't just C the captain of the army was gone but they had more work to do and so they persevered through their struggle verse 23 says so on that day God subdued to uh jbin the king of Canaan before the people of Israel and the Hand of the people of Israel pressed harder and harder against jbin the king of Canaan until they destroyed jabin king of Canaan God delivered his people after they repented and so we have to ask ourselves so what what what's this mean these are three people who lived a long long time ago and did some pretty crazy things God can and does use suffering for our good and His glory things got a lot worse for Israel before they got better right they went from oppression to mounting this impossible attack because God had told them to and I don't know whether you're struggling right now whether you're going through hard times whether you've come out the other side of it or whether there's something waiting for you just around the corner suffering sucks let's not pretend it doesn't it's hard it takes a toll but take hope because God can and does use our suffering for our good and His glory because suffering produces perseverance perseverance builds character character produces hope and through Jesus we have an abundance of steadfast hope number two I don't know where you're out but God has a plan and a purpose for you just like he does for me just like he did for Deborah just like he did for Barack just like he did for jail maybe you're sitting in the congregation this morning going I know what God's called me to do brilliant lean into that if you're a little bit uncertain at this point if you're going God A lot's changed I don't even know if this is what I'm supposed to be doing I don't know if this is where I'm going to be going I know that at some stage you called me here but is this still your will for me right now God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us and invites us to participate and he makes it clear for us when we ask but that's dependent on number three we need to be willing and available not only to hear God's word but to respond obediently it's no good going oh God thank you for giving me this plan for my life and then doing nothing about it we're all different people here this morning Barack Deborah J they were all different people they all had different purposes and plans put on their life by God and they all chose to obediently follow what he had placed before them and so my encouragement for each of us this morning is to persevere through the suffering if it's not going on now it will come persevere because we have a hope that will not fail and if you're feeling like life's just a little bit too crazy if you're not really sure what you're doing here if you're not really sure what's going on spend time ask God but don't be surprised when he answers be obedient to what he calls us to do would you pray with me Heavenly Father we thank you for your word we thank you for the assurance that you hear our cries Lord God even when we wander off the rails even when we do evil in your sight father God you hear our cries for your help you hear our cries of repentance father God thank you that you are gracious Lord God for no other reason than you chose to you have made a way for us to have hope to have promise of an eternity where there is no suffering and Lord God we pray that as we continue to journey through our lives as we continue to seek what it is that you want us to be doing we ask that you would give us ears to hear and heart obedience to follow what it is you have called us to do we pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.