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March 20, 2021 12:01 am
The Lord does not need mighty men to accomplish His purposes. Today, R.C. Sproul considers how God used an unlikely leader--Deborah--to lead the tribes of Israel to freedom from the oppressive king of Canaan.
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In the days of the judges a foreign king rose up against the Israelites, but only two tribes were willing to help two tribes were like the Tennessee volunteers. They became 10,000 people from Lapsley and from Zebulon ready to give their lives for the cause of freedom for the length and they followed and rallied around Deborah is unusual in the Old Testament with the national leader to be a woman but when God called Deborah to leave the armies of Israel against Natalie rose to the challenge with strength and wisdom that only God could provide today on Renewing Your Mind. We continue Dr. RC's ProSeries great men and women of the Bible as we continue our study now of great men and women to live by.
Want to turn your attention today to the extraordinary story of the Old Testament prophet tests and judge whose name was Deborah Deborah represents to me a person who is what I would call the Joan of arc of the Old Testament. She is a woman who in an hour of extreme emergency and crisis was used of God to rescue her entire nation that the story of Deborah takes place during the period of the judges remember how the Bible goes judges. This visual number. Deuteronomy Joshua Judges, the book of Judges represents a transition period in Israel's history. We remember that the nation was formed at the foot of Mount Sinai after God had brought the people out of bondage in Egypt and he formed them into his covenant people and gave them his law, but then they wondered for years in the wilderness before they set about to conquer the promised land. In the book of Joshua. For example records for us the conquest of the land of Canaan and after the Jewish people came into Canaan, they settled there in proportionate allotments distributed by tribes. So one tribe settled here and other tribes settled there and so now what was the form of government they had in that time it was not a democracy. It was not a monarchy.
It's what the scholars call and perfected me or what we simply call the period of judgeships, where each of the tribes had its own clan leaders and they organized really got like extended families throughout their own tribes, but the tribes were linked together not by elected or appointed officials, but by kind of a loose federation of tribal leaders, and the only time that there would be any kind of consolidation or unity of the tribes was in the time of a crisis when what we would call and national emergency, then leadership over the entire nation of these loosely federated tribes was what we call charismatic. We had charismatic leaders know what that means is that the leadership over the nation was selected and chosen by God and what would happen is that whenever the need arose. God would endow an individual with his Holy Spirit and empower them to be the leader for the season is during the period of judges that we hear Sampson whom God raises up and enables with power from on high to defeat the Philistines. Gideon was the judge.
Ehud was a Judge Austin.
He was the judge and so on.
We have these heroic individuals who were especially gifted. That's what charismatic means that they were gifted by God to lead the nation in a time of crisis that we read the book of Judges we read a litany that goes through the book again and again. There's sort of a pattern developing where the people of Israel begin to do what is evil in the side of the war, they begin to get enamored with the local pagan deities and they depart from obedience to the law that God had given them at Sinai, and so when they do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord God punishes them by giving them over to some pagan king who tyrannize system and then the people repent, and they cry out to God and say please deliver us and God raises up in a scooter and off they will already Gideon or someone are Sampson and these mighty leaders, and they drive out the pagan princes and Israel rejoices and then the next refrain is what and Israel did what was evil in the side of the Lord and so God raises up the Philistines or the Midianites or whoever Pamela kites and it just goes on and on and on and on. Well, as the book of Judges opens.
We see this pattern already established that it's happened two or three times already and by the time we get to the fourth chapter of the book of Judges we read this, then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord.
After Ehud died, Ehud was the left-handed judge.
You know who killed the king and he delivered the people of Israel.
But as soon as this righteous charismatic leader dies, the people go right back to their old ways and what we read next.
And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jacob and King of Canaan, who reigned in Hades were in the commander of his army was Cicero was and the sons of Israel cried to the Lord for he had 900 iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for 20 years now. I don't know exactly when the period of judges took place. There's all kinds of debates about that among archaeologists among historians conservative scholarship places the time of this crisis that were speaking of mouth roughly in the 13th century B. C. In the 13th century BC, the Jews are being tyrannized and oppressed by this king, who has an enormously powerful military that includes 900 iron chariots. I'll reread in verse four now Deborah prophetess, the wife of Lapin does was judging Israel at that time and she used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the whole country of Ephraim. What this means is you remember when Moses had all the people in the wilderness and God made Moses the judge over the whole nation. If people had disputes. Contractor will dispute source or domestic problems in the law courts of the day they had leaders over tens and 20s and 50s in the hundreds who would solve these little squabbles, but anything that was really significant and heavy came to Moses and Moses would hear the case. Try the case and make a decision so he was like the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Moses was only without the other justices.
He sat by himself on the bench of the Supreme Court and he made the final decisions. He was not the king. He was the judge and this is the role to which God now calls Deborah so she's not only Joan of arc, she's Margaret Thatcher and a whole lot more than that, but again she's not elected she's not one by regular officer development. She is charismatic, Lee chosen and endowed by God for this role in history and so she begins as a prophetess and as a judge. She's married. We don't know what her husband did, but we know who she is. She is handling the leadership at the highest level among all of these tribes here in Israel know what is happened. We read is that this oppression has gone on for 20 years, turn your attention for minute over chapter 5 and come at the story a little differently we hear the story to ways we hear in chapter 4. In normal prose historical narrative literature.
In chapter 5 we read the song of Deborah after the event in which politically and prophetically see sets forth the relevant issues of what is taken place during her reign as judge and we get so much more poignant information in the song of Deborah that I want to jump now to that to see what happens with this crisis we read the Deborah and Barrick, the son of a minnow & on that day singing that the leaders lead in Israel that the people volunteered.
Bless the Lord hero kings give ear a ruler side to the Lord. I will sing I will sing praise the Lord, the God of Israel, Lord, when will this go out from seer when Elvis Marshall the field of Edom, the earthquake, the heavens dripped even the clouds dripped water, the mountains quaked at the presence of the Lord, this Sinai at the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel.
The background the beginning, the first verse.
If you will of her song recapitulates the roots of the Jewish nation where she talks of the glory of the Lord that had appeared at Sinai.
When these people were first formed into a nation by God. And then she said in the days of sham, God the son of Amos in the days of jail. The highways were deserted and travelers went by roundabout way. Now the peasantry ceased they ceased in Israel until I Deborah arose until I arose a mother in Israel what she is saying here is fascinating. She said that in this preceding years. Now bring it right up to her present moment in the last 20 years. The thing that we find is that the main streets and highways of the Jewish people are deserted. Why, why do you suppose what exactly because they are controlled by J been the king of the Canaanites, so that, for all intents and purposes commerce in Israel ceases they could not use the high roads the highways that's what they're called highways because they were on the elevated levels were the waters, then pour down and were they were safe for the call highways to even today there called highways, but in any case, the highways were in utter disuse because of J been with his military leader. Cicero had a stranglehold on the Jews. Now this happened until I Deborah arose as a mother in Israel.
New gods were chosen and then war was in the gates. New gods were chosen by whom the Jews started embracing the pagan deities and the Jews were so intimidated by these Canaanites that we read this, not a shield or a spear was seen among 40,000 in Israel I 40,000 healthy virile military men and the Jews, and I looked at them. I see a single spare. I didn't see a single shield of them would lift a finger to resist the oppression and the terrorism of Sisera, the leader of the Canaanite Army.
My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel's volunteers among the people. Again, in the refrain here in the song she said, because what happened was she came to her general whose name was Barrick and let me jump back he can keep. We are all just jump back for second verse six of chapter 4 now Deborah Simon Barrick and said to him, behold, the Lord God of Israel has commanded go in March to mount a board and take with you 10,000 men from the sons of Natalie and from the sons of Zebulun and I will draw to you Cicero, the commander of Jabez armies with his chariots and his many troops to the river to Sean and I will give him into your hand. The prophetess Joan of arc of Israel. Deborah comes down to the chief military leader of the armies of the Jews. I said okay I have a prophecy for you. God has told me to tell you to get 10,000 from Zebulun and Ashley and go in the battle against Sisera and God will deliver you what the Cisse listener what he says this is the mighty champion of Israel.
Barrick said that her if you will go with me that I will go you will not go with me. I will not go the whole male-female order of protection and chivalry and knighthood is reversed right here in redemptive history. I always rise up in a white horse and I'll take care of you all protect you. You just do know don't worry about a thing as long as I'm at your side dear maiden you have to worry about anything. Now the hero the masculine champion of Israel says well I'll go in the battle.
If you go with me mother for all of my head, but if you go I'm not going. Deborah said I will surely go with you.
Nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman are not back to chapter 5, verse 10, you who ride on white donkeys you who sit on rich carpets and you who travel on the road sing at the sound of those who divide flux among the water and places there.
They shall recount the righteous thieves of the Lord, the righteous deeds for his peasantry in Israel. Then the people the Lord went down to the gates now. The song is becoming a song of celebration song of victory awake, awake, Deborah awake, awake, sing a song arise. Barrick take away your captives, the son of a bin and went and survivors came out of the nobles and the people the Lord came to me as warriors from Ephraim. Those whose roots is and Amalek came down following you, Benjamin, with your people from maker commanders came to and from Zebulun. Those who wield the staff of office and the princes of Issachar were with Deborah as was Issachar. So was Barrick into the valley.
They rushed in his field only to stop right there.
She is celebrating the fact that she told Barrick to make the sound of the trumpet and at the sound of the trumpet that was the signal to all the tribal leaders to rally to the cause of the nation. This is their moment of liberation. Barrick is going to raise the standard and going to march against Sisera and he member there's no standing army. There is no conscription there is no federal government what you have are little tribal malicious and again that the trumpet is blown in a time of controversy and you hope the volunteers show up in the praise and the glory of this is that the call of Deborah and then Barrick. The rallying came from Issachar from Natalie from Zebulun and from the others that are mentioned here. Benjamin and and so on. In the princes of Issachar were with Deborah Millicent in verse 15. Among the divisions of Ruben. There were great resolves of heart. What does that me when we look at this closely. What the tribe of Reuben did the elder tribe, the one that has a heavy major responsibility here. What did they do the elders of Ruben got together and passed resolutions decrying the tyranny of the Canaanites that went through all kinds of political machinations issuing press releases and vocal denunciations against the injustices that were perpetrated but when the crisis came and the bugle was blown. They stayed home.
That happens all the time in world history. The people are quick to make the political new voice when the push comes to shove the politicians go home or go out to lunch when the bullets start flying.
Juliet remained across the Jordan. Why did Dan stay in the ship/reset at the seashore and remained by sling say these groups stayed home.
Zebulun was a people who despised their own lives, their own souls, even to death, and Natalie. Also on the high places the fields of two tribes were like the Tennessee volunteers. They became 10,000 people from Natalie and from Zebulun ready to give their lives for the cause of freedom for the length and they followed and rallied around Deborah. The Kings came and fought the Kings are the Federation of the kings of the Canaanites now under the leadership of the King of the kings of the Canaanites, Jaden. He gets his military might and brings them and they fought the kings of Canaan at Tomahawk near the waters of the Gita. This battle takes place at the plane of just real very close within just a few miles of Nazareth childhood home of Jesus.
The name Megiddo is the name that the book of Revelation has in mind when it speaks about that last cosmic battle between the forces of evil forces of good, which is called the battle of what the battle of Armageddon are Megiddo. See the earthly point of reference for the battle of Armageddon is exactly where this battle takes place now between Deborah and her general Barrick and the kings of Canaan, but the kings of Canaan took no plunder in silver. They rallied there they expected to utterly destroy the Jews and to take the booty of victory home with them, but they got not one piece of silver for the stars fought from heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera now the Bible doesn't tell us exactly what happened but it makes it very clear that on that moment of confrontation, God miraculously brought deliverance to the Jews, though probably was through some kind of tempestuous store because the river And They're All Kinds of Water Used in This Area That When a Sudden Dramatic Rainstorm Comes the past These Things Fill up Instantly and Become Conduits for Arranging Flash Floods What Happens.
The Chariots of Iron in Marshland. What Happens to Furious in the Midst of a Title, What They Can Have a Chance and the Jews Were Waiting for Them, and God Opened up the Heavens Somehow Miraculously at the Right Time and Delivered All of These Charioteers and the Armies of J Been into the Hands of Barrick, but Sisera the General for the Canaanites Escaped and Barrick Is Pursuing Him and What Happened Was the Sisera Escaped into Some Obscure Place and Came to the Tent of This Woman Whose Name Was Jail JA EL Jail and He Asked for Refuge and Hospitality.
According to the Semitic Law Will She Goes Out Of Her Way to Give Him Sanctuary Invites Him into the Tent and Send on in the Finest Skins Covers Them up Takes Care Of Them, Just As He Asked for Water, She Does Is Give Him Water. She Could Smell She Calms Him down and He Fall, Sound Asleep, and What the Bible Calls a Very Deep Sleep Because Is Exhausted from the Back and As Soon As He Is Deeply in Sleep Jail Snakes over and Gets One of the Pegs That They Used To Keep the Tent up and Takes a Hammer and Drives the Steak Right through His Head and Plugs His Head into the Ground Sticks It into the Ground.
Pam Is One of the Most Brutal Glory, Thinking at All about I Will She Nails As He Literally Nails His Guy Else's Head to the Ground and so in the Celebration Who Gets Credit for the Vanquishing and the Conquest of the Mighty General Sisera. This Woman Jail. So It Is Deborah Who Is the Leader and This Woman Who's Not Even a Soldier That Kills the Opposing General and so the Prophecy of Deborah Comes to Pass, but What Can We Say about a Woman like This a Woman Who Believe God, a Woman Who Was Faithful to God Who Was Willing to Go up against 900 Chariots of Our up against the Standing Army In Spite Of the Fact That When She Did What God Told Her to Do and Gave the Call to Alarm among Her People That the Leading Tribes of the Nation Did Not Rally around Her but She Said Were Going and God Will Bring Us and under the Witness of the Spirit of God. Deborah Led the People to Free What a Great Story, God's Purposes Will Not Be Forwarded and He's Able to Use Willing Men and Women to Accomplish Those Purposes. Today's Messages from Dr. RC Sproul Series Great Men and Women of the Bible Were Making Her Way through the Series. Each Saturday Here on Renewing Your Mind God's Word Is Filled with Stories Just like This. Real People Facing Real Problems with Real Faith in Our Resource Offer Today Helps You Connect the Dots of These Great Stories and Puts Each of Them in Perspective When You Contact Us with a Donation of Any Amount Would like to Send You Doctors, Groceries, Dust, the Glory and 57 Messages.
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