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Calling All Leaders, Both Male and Female, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
June 10, 2022 9:00 am

Calling All Leaders, Both Male and Female, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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June 10, 2022 9:00 am

Pastor J.D. invites us to follow along as he teaches from the book of Judges, Chapters 4 and 5, as he shares five key points that will apply to both men and women in leadership.


Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. There's more than one way in God's eyes to be wicked. Wickedness can come from what you do, but wickedness can just as easily come from what you fail to do. You see, when Jesus called his disciples, he didn't say, hey, watch me intensely.

When Jesus called disciples, he said, follow me, which means that some of you need to stop listening and watching and start following. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and teacher J.D. Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. In the Old Testament book of Judges, we find a fascinating story about two people named Deborah and Barak. A careful examination of their lives offers a powerful lesson on leadership. Today, Pastor J.D. invites us to follow along as he teaches from the book of Judges, chapters four and five. He shares five key points that will apply to both men and women in leadership today. If you have missed any of the messages in this teaching series so far, or if you'd like to get your copy of Honest Questions, quick answers, visit us at or by calling 866-335-5220.

But for now, let's get back to our teaching that we began yesterday. Here's Pastor J.D. We're going to look at the story of Deborah and Barak, Deborah and Barak. Judges 4, 1, the story begins, again, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Now that left-handed Ehud was dead.

Remember, left-handed Ehud was the southpaw savior we looked at a couple of weeks ago that delivered Israel. Well, as long as he was alive for 80 years, the people followed God, but when he died, they wandered back into their ways. And so the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin, the king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor.

Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, had 900 chariots fitted with iron. Now Israel cried to the Lord for help. Verse four, now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lapidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the palm of Deborah, creatively named, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. So she sent for Barak and said to him, the Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, go and take with you 10,000 men, and I will lead Sisera into your hands. Barak said to her, if you go with me, I'll go, but if you don't go with me, I won't go. So Deborah responds, and you've got to read in this a very deep sigh, certainly I will go with you, but because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman. Now Hebrew, the Kenite, had separated from the Kenites and they pitched his tent up by the oak in Zananim, which is near Kadesh.

That seems like a random detail that came out of nowhere, right? We're talking about Deborah and Barak in an imminent battle, and now all of a sudden we learn about this guy named Hebrew who can't get along with the other Kenites. And so he takes his trailer with his wife and he moves out to the desert, but it's not a random detail at all as I will show you. So meanwhile, back at the palace, verse 12, Deborah directs Barak and the army down to a region at the base of Mount Tabor.

It's a river basin, which is another important detail I'll show you in a moment. Verse 14, then Deborah said to Barak, go, this is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands, as not the Lord and God ahead of you. And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot. We're going to find out in chapter five that the reason Sisera had to flee on foot was a sudden rainstorm had come and the river flooded, so Sisera's 900 chariots of iron got stuck. So Sisera is now running on foot and with his 900 chariots behind him. And he comes, verse 17, to the tent of Jael, the wife of Hebrew the Kenite.

Remember them? Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, come my Lord, come in, right in, don't be afraid. So he entered her tent and she covered him with a blanket.

I'm thirsty, he said, please give me some water. She didn't give him water, she opened up a skin of milk and she gave him a drink and covered him up. He drifts off to sleep, verse 21, then Jael, Hebrew's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground and he died. I know some of you say, well, that seems really violent.

Stories like this and judges are violent, I don't understand it. I'll come back to that toward the end. But here's the question, what piercing truths can we learn from Deborah, Barak, and Jael? Let me give you five of them, okay?

The first one is the longest. Number one, God gives to women the same spiritual gifts he gives to men. The others are in the next chapter, chapter five, because Deborah writes a song and in that song are four important lessons for both men and women. Number two, when the leaders lead, the people praise the Lord.

That's the first thing she says. Chapter five, verse one, Deborah says, when the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves, praise the Lord. My heart is with the willing volunteers among the people. Then in verse 13, she begins to list out the various tribes of Israel and she talks about which ones joined the fight and which ones did not. Now, you could apply this to both men and women, but specifically, she talks about the men because princes, not princes, but princes is male. She's saying when the leaders lead, when the princes lead, then the people praise the Lord. So let me direct this point specifically toward the men.

We have a lot of men hanging back by the ships that ought to be out in the fight. It is when the princes lead that we praise the Lord, Deborah says. Men, God has given you a crucial role to play that cannot be replicated by anybody else.

And if your family is going to praise the Lord, it's going to be because you step forward to lead. Every sociological study of its type done points to the fact that the leadership of the father is the greatest determining factor in how the kids turn out. I'm reading a book right now given to me by a friend. The book is written by Dr. Meg Meeker, a pediatrician who works with teenage girls and the book is called Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. It tells, she tells a story about a girl named Leah who sat in her office one afternoon, very sullen, exuding, she says, all the symptoms of depression. After some questioning, the girl revealed to Dr. Meeker that the son of a family friend had date raped her. As Dr. Meeker continued to question her, Leah revealed that she had told her dad about it and his response was, well, boys will be boys.

And he kind of shrugged it off. Then he, in Leah's words, went golfing. Dr. Meeker says the assault was devastating to Leah, but the blow that really seemed to have brought her down was the fact that her father didn't care for and defend her. She says a sexual assault is possibly the most traumatic event a girl can experience. Now consider that many psychologists and psychiatrists say that your response to your daughter's assault, especially dad, if you are the first one that she comes to, is among the most important factors in shaping your daughter's future emotional health after the event.

She continues, when a child is humiliated or harmed, her natural instinct is to get back at the offender, to fight, to defend herself, but she's physically weaker than her attacker. Now she sees you in her eyes, dad, you are big, you are tough, you are smart. Her gut tells her he can help.

He's the answer. My dad will make things right because he loves me. He'll stand up for me before you even learn before you even learn what has happened. She has imagined your heroic response. If you do what your instinct tells you to do, if you get angry and you take action, she will feel loved. She will feel defended. She will feel a sense of justice.

She will move closer to a sense of closure over the incident. Had Leah's dad responded the right way, she said, had he acted as a man rather than shrugging his shoulders in weakness, I submit he might have prevented Leah's depression or if he didn't prevent it, he might have at least helped mitigate the depth of it. Dr. Meeker talks about how in our culture masculinity has been disparaged by feminists or been distorted by rap artists. True masculinity, she said, is the moral exercise of authority. You were made a man for a reason. You were made a man to be strong, a loving husband and father.

So listen to your instincts and do what's right. Be a hero. That's what Deborah says, when the princes lead, the people praise the Lord. There are plenty of guys in the world, too many guys, too many dudes. We need men. So men, I will tell you, Deborah up. Maybe it's a good way to say it.

It's time for you to Deborah up and be a man, which leads me to number three. God curses spectators. When Deborah lists out the people who sat on the sidelines, she comes to a crescendo in verse 23. Curse Morose, said the angel of the Lord, curse its people bitterly because they did not come to help the Lord, to help the Lord against the mighty. It doesn't say that the people of Morose did anything bad. It doesn't say, oh, they hung back and smoked dope and slept with prostitutes and raided everybody's tents.

No, it just says they did nothing. Sitting on the sidelines not only robs you of reward, it puts you under a curse. Are you active in the kingdom of God with your time? Have you leveraged your talents to be of use in the kingdom of God? How about your treasures and your resources? How much of your resources, how many are engaged in the expanse of God's kingdom? You want to know the difference between a budget that God blesses and one that God does not has a lot to do with how much of what God has given you is engaged in the expanse of God's kingdom. Do not tell yourself that you're okay as long as you're not committing crimes and as long as you are somewhat regular at church attendance. You see, there's more than one way in God's eyes to be wicked.

Wickedness can come from what you do, but wickedness can just as easily come from what you fail to do. You see, when Jesus called his disciples, he didn't say, hey, watch me intensely. He didn't say, listen to me.

When Jesus called disciples, he said, follow me, which means that some of you need to stop listening and watching and start following. You need to act on that this weekend. You say, well, I don't even know where to start.

What do I do? Well, you start by joining the church. You could get involved.

You could start to invest your time and your talents and your treasures. I had a friend this week say, how do we help people that are being persecuted for the faith all around the world? These 21 that were killed in Egypt, what can we do? I mean, we can't all go over there and fight for them or whatever.

Here's what I told him. Yes, we can't do that, but did you know that the summit church has people in those same regions that are serving? Your representatives are serving there. So what you can do is be a part of a church, an active part of a church that is praying and serving and giving. And when we act locally here, when we become that church, then we have our way of supporting what is going on over there.

You can get involved. That is what God, I think, tells us through this is blessed are the people when they willingly offer themselves. Number four, this story shows us that all that God requires of us, all that God requires of us is simple obedience. You see, we see in the story a recurring theme in Judges, don't we? God brings down the most powerful tyrants in the world with very weak instruments. In this case, a housewife with a tent peg. A tent peg in those days, by the way, was a very common household item. It would be like me saying to you, she killed them with a frying pan or an iron.

She took an iron and whacked them on the side of the head. Over and over, the book of Judges teaches us in so many different ways. God does His work in the world, never through our ability.

He doesn't need our ability. He does it through our availability. We'll return for the conclusion of today's teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to remind you about this month's featured resource. Just like in the book of Judges, we have a new study this month that also covers some strange but brutally honest topics. We've created a second volume of Honest Questions, Quick Answers. Some of you might remember when we offered volume one two years ago. This new book is full of new questions and answers from Pastor JD, like what is an idol? And is it okay to ask for success?

And is gambling morally wrong? We'd like to encourage you to reserve your copy right now by calling 866-335-5220 or visit us online at Thanks for being with us today. Now, let's finish up today's teaching.

Here's Pastor JD. You see, there's a contrast that's set up in this chapter. I want to make sure you don't miss. In chapter five, verse six, in those days, the highways were abandoned, the villagers, seats, their travel. It was so dangerous.

The people were so weak, they wouldn't even go outside their houses. Watch this, verse four. But when the Lord rolled out, oh, he wasn't scared. The earth trembled, the clouds dropped water in dry season, the mountains quaked. In other words, the Lord, everybody's so scared they wouldn't go outside their house.

The Lord opens the garage door, rolls out, puts the top down, turns the music up, and just rolls down the street. And the earth starts to quake. I love that image of an earthquake because something quakes when the pressure against it is too much. Or think like an ice quake.

I know we don't ever use that term, but an ice quake would be if I were to try to walk across a frozen pond that the ice wasn't thick enough. There's a group of squirrels out there, and there's three or four squirrels, and they're running around playing, do whatever squirrels do, you know, wrestling, throwing nuts at each other. And I think, oh, it's fun, so I'm going to go out there with them.

And, you know, so I start to walk out there. But because I weigh significantly more than the squirrels, when my feet hit the ice, it begins to quake, and eventually it splits, and I fall through. Those poor little squirrels, if they were trying to pierce the ice, could jump up and down and do backflips. They're never going to make the ice move, but I have so much weight that I can just split it just by walking on it. So what happens is you got the little Israelites running around like squirrels, and there's this ice of oppression over them.

There's this ice of inability, and as much as they hop up and down, they can't do a thing. And what God does is He rolls out, puts the top down, and the earth just quakes because a little moisture that comes out of His mouth is going to do more than the Israelites could do in a thousand years. What God needs is a housewife with a tent peg who says, here am I, send me, not a man with an army. What God needs from you is not your ability, it's your availability. God has never needed you to crack the ice.

God has just needed you to obey. And what you see in the stories, you see Jael looking back up at Jesus, looking back up at God and saying, here am I, send me. Blessed above women, blessed among women is Jael, is what verse 24 says.

You know what's amazing about that? That phrase is repeated one other time in the Bible. It's in the New Testament and it's said about Mary. Blessed among women is Mary. Here you've got another impossible situation where God comes to a woman named Mary and says, you're going to give birth to a child who's going to be the savior of the whole world. She's a virgin.

A virgin has obvious limitations for bringing forth a savior for the world. What does Mary say? Be it unto me according to your word. That is a prayer of both surrender and faith because it says, God, I'll do what you tell me to do. I'll give where you tell me to give. I'll go where you tell me to go. I'll serve where you tell me to serve, but I'm going to leave the results entirely to you, which means I'm going to rest when you tell me to rest. Have you prayed that prayer of surrender and faith?

That's the question. Number five, the story teaches us God will one day right every wrong. Toward the end of Deborah's song, she begins to mock Sisera. Verse 28, she sarcastically puts words in Sisera's mother's mouth.

Deborah pictures Sisera's mother standing by the window wondering, why is my son Sisera taking so long to return? The sycophant ladies of the court all around her say, oh, it's because there's so much Israelite spoil to divide up. That's why it's taken them a long time to come back. In verse 30, they say really crudely, oh, and there's a womb or two for every man. In other words, the men have girls to rape.

That's why it's taken them a while to get back. Meanwhile, Sisera is in a tent being killed by a woman. You see what's happening?

Perfect justice is being served. Sisera has spent his life oppressing and abusing women. In the end, he's brought down by a woman with a frying pan. This is the Old Testament version of Kill Bill. In verse 26, Deborah sings, she struck Sisera, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced the temple. That's probably not the tune, but scholars do say that the way this is written, she is mimicking the blows of the hammer against Sisera's skull. She writes this with really staccato kind of short phrases. You would read it like this, between her feet, he sank, he fell, he lay still.

Between her feet, he sank, he fell, where he sank, there he fell, dead. Israel love these stories of how God delivered them. They love to savor them like a fine wine, sip by sip. If they enjoyed recounting the songs of their deliverance, how much more should we? And so Deborah ends her song this way. So may all your enemies perish, Lord.

May all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength. You say, but we don't always see justice served. Not every rapist, not every sexual predator is brought to justice.

That person that messed with me, that person that messed me up seemed to have gotten away with it. And that is true if you're only evaluating by this life. We often see the guilty go unpunished, but that doesn't mean the discussion is over. You see, in this story, we get a glimpse of how it is all going to end. God is going to settle all scores. This story, like all the stories of the judges, all it does is point us forward to the ultimate judge, Jesus.

Like Jael, he will be the unexpected savior who everybody assumes is weak, who slays the enemy by surprise. In him, oppression has ended, justice is restored. And for those of us in Christ, the son of God's love and life rises on us in its strength.

It melts the ice of oppression and makes the fog and darkness of what we're in today disappear. This story tells you eternity is coming. It is not that far away when you're going to be in a land that is bursting with the brightness of justice and glowing with the glory of love. Where God says he will wipe away every tear from our eyes, where there will be no more pain or crying or mourning, and that the old man will be well, that the old things have passed away and all things have become new.

One of my favorite images for heaven is that there needs to be no sun and no moon there because there's no darkness there. That the Lord our God is the light where he brings glory and love and acceptance and oppression has ceased. That's what this story tells you to look forward to. Now, before I end, let me deal with one other objection.

I alluded to it at the very beginning. Some people read this story and they say, well, these stories are so violent. They lead us to violence.

People taking justice into their own hands and killing their enemies. Not at all. Not at all if you understand them correctly.

In fact, if you understand them correctly, they do exactly the opposite. God commands us, listen to this in Romans 12, never to take vengeance into our own hands because, keyword, the Lord will repay. In other words, I know that one day God is going to serve perfect justice. Therefore, I don't feel like I have to take it on myself. You see, when an atheist believes that there is no God who serves out justice in eternity, who bears the burden of making sure justice is served? Well, you must. See, when you don't believe that there is a God who brings justice, when you suffer injustice, you see under it and you have to get back at them.

You have to avenge yourself. What kind of world does that create? Fearful, hateful, vengeful. The cross of Jesus Christ creates a different kind of world because in the cross I see two things. Number one, I see that all wrongs will be righted. I see, number two, that the wrongs that I have done personally, they were put on Jesus' head. What that means for me, you see, listen, is that means that every sin that's ever been committed against me is going to be rectified.

It'll either be paid for by that person in the judgment or Jesus is going to pay for it on the cross the way that he paid for mine. And because I know that God carries around the 10 pegs of justice in his hand, I don't have to carry them around in mine, driving them through the skull of everybody that hurts me. Because I see that God carries those pegs and that God will avenge wrong. And I know that when it came time to avenge my wrong, God took the peg of justice that ought to go on in my head and he put it into Jesus'. And that creates a spirit in me that looks at the Sisera's who have destroyed me and hurt me. And it makes me say to them, I hope that you can come to faith in Christ and find forgiveness of your sins as I have found mine.

There is one message in the book of Judges and that is there is a savior who is coming, a savior who can save, a savior who can sustain. And if you try to save yourself, you are going to fail. You will live a life of hate. You will live a life of fear. You will live a life of envy and vengeance. But if you trust in Jesus, you will live a life of peace.

You will live a life where you know that all things are working together for good and you can finally be free. Which way are you living? Why don't you bow your heads if you would. Two ways to live, two ways to live. Are you in control? Are you trying to save yourself? Or have you submitted to Jesus? Where's the worry and fear dominate your heart? Where do you hate?

Where do you have vengeance? It is so sweet to trust in Jesus just to take him at his word, just to rest upon his promise and know, thus says the Lord. Maybe you're a spectator and maybe the Holy Spirit of God has said it's time to quit hanging out by the ships and let's go get in the game.

Maybe you should resolve right now to take that step. Maybe for the first time in your life, maybe you finally understood, listen, that every story in the Bible, every verse of scripture, every chapter is about Jesus. It's all one story about a savior who came to save. A savior who did for you what you couldn't do for yourself. Every story have you come to that one point the Bible's making, which is you need Jesus.

Maybe today, right now, you could submit to him. In his closing comments, J.D. Greer explained why he chose the title for our current teaching series, Broken Saviors.

It's clear that anytime we try to assume God's role and become our own savior, we fail desperately. You're listening to the daily radio program called Summit Life. If you've missed any part of this series or if you'd like to share this message or others with a friend, visit our website right now. There's no cost to hear or share Pastor J.D. 's messages online, so visit When you donate to Summit Life, you're really giving to your fellow listeners and making it possible for J.D.

's teaching to be heard all across the country. And as our way of saying thanks for your gift today, we'll send you an exclusive new Summit Life resource. As our culture becomes more and more post-Christian and secular, it can be hard to have mercy for one another when we're confronted with difficult topics and questions. We've put 16 honest questions, quick answers into a book to help give you words of grace when discussing hard things. We'd love to get you a copy today of our latest resource, Honest Questions, Quick Answers, Volume Two. If you missed Volume One when it was offered a couple of years ago, ask for both when you give today by calling 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220 or give and request this book online at While you're on the website, you can also sign up for our email list to get ministry updates, information about new resources and Pastor J.D. 's latest blog post delivered straight to your inbox.

It's a great way to stay connected with Summit Life and it's completely free to subscribe. Sign up when you go to I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to listen again next week when Pastor J.D. Greer continues his teaching series called Broken Saviors. That's next week on Summit Life. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-06 18:27:00 / 2023-04-06 18:37:56 / 11

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