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Judges 5. Deborah's song, part 2.

JUDGES-5-170212
length: 82:13 - taught on Feb, 12 2017
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Title: Judges 4-5. Deborah's song, part 2.        

 

Announcements / opening prayer:

 

“For it [Christmas season] reminds us of a single event, unequalled since the creation: God sent His Son into the world. The mission was accomplished in a fashion no human mind could ever have devised. God, robed in flesh, stepped into time through the Person of His Son to offer a divine peace plan between Creator and created. This plan is so intensely personal it has to be experienced to be fully realized. In other words, it is divinely supernatural. It cannot be rationally explained but can be seen through the redemptive, life-altering revolution that reshapes the lives of those who have accepted God’s gift of new life in Christ. This transaction transcends social and political restrictions and all barriers of language, location, race, and culture to imbue, without bias, the qualities of love, joy, peace, hope, and personal assurance of eternal life. When the unregenerate witness the change in those who have become “born again,” they see attributes reflecting Christ.” [Elwood McQuaid, former executive director of The Friends of Israel. This was his last article written for their publication Israel My Glory.]

 

We have begun Deborah's song, which is beautiful and thought provoking. It reveals the drastic change of the condition of Israel before her rise and after.

 

The song was composed by Deborah and sung by her and Barak. We can imagine that it was sung to a gathering in commemoration of the victory some time after the battle.

 

JDG 5:1 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,

 

JDG 5:2 "That the leaders led in Israel, That the people volunteered, Bless the Lord!

 

The Hebrew word translated "leaders" refers to strong ones who were champions in the fight and went before the people in bravery and strength. They and the people they led volunteered, which as we will see, is a significant change of heart, for before the rise of Deborah they were weak and afraid.

 

It is a striking aspect of this time in their history that Israel doesn’t have a king or official leader like Moses or Joshua. Each tribe is the govern themselves. The Levitical priests are to teach them and intercede for them. Jehovah is their king and the Mosaic Law their guide. Every tribe has prominent families who have elders who should be brave and wise, and above all, spiritual. But before Deborah, due to years of idol worship, all the men who should be leaders are weak, self-serving, and not caring for the welfare of others or the nation that they should love as God’s elected nation.

 

When self is served in idol worship, courage is non-existent since courage is the ability to stand against an enemy in defense of others.

 

Yet after Deborah, they were willing to go and to fight and to lead others into the fight. They had strength and bravery through faith in the Lord’s ability to deliver, and so the Lord is praised. “Bless the Lord.”

 

The manifestation of this strength and willingness Deborah praises as a gracious gift of the Lord.

 

JDG 5:3 " Hear, O kings; give ear, O rulers! I —  to the Lord, I will sing, I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel.

 

The "kings and rulers" are kings of heathen nations who were to discern the mighty acts of Jehovah. It is evangelization of Gentile nations.

 

It can't refer to kings and rulers in Israel since they had none at the time. The Gentile nations were to learn to fear Jehovah as almighty God.

 

After praising the Lord for changing the hearts of the people and calling the attention of all peoples in all nations, Deborah now turns to the remembrance of the day in which God confirmed them as a nation.

 

JDG 5:4 "Lord, when You did go out from Seir, When You did march from the field of Edom, The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped, Even the clouds dripped water.

 

JDG 5:5 "The mountains quaked at the presence of the Lord, This Sinai, at the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel.

 

Jehovah is pictured as marching from the east [Seir, a mountain east of Edom] to meet Israel at Sinai where the cloud descended and the earth quaked.

 

This brings to mind the Exodus. They were freed from the chains and idols of Egypt and set free and promised a land flowing with milk and honey. But, they were not to just enter the land and scatter themselves in a free-for-all, living separate and without a singular identity. They were to be a nation and a nation must have laws. The rulership of Jehovah and the one Law that was over every man was the unification of them as a nation.

 

God confirmed them as a nation at Sinai, unmistakably setting Himself as their King and unifying them in a code of laws that carried the weight and authority of curses and blessings.

 

A law given to fallen man in a society that has no authority to punish those who break the law make it a futile expression.

 

Yet before Deborah, when the hearts of the people were filled with the passion of idol worship, they forsook God’s law and oppression from the Canaanites, the curse of the law, fell upon them for twenty years and the condition of life in Israel was destitute with the darkness of slavery having fallen over it.

 

And so, in her song, as so many prophets and writers will do throughout Israel's history, Deborah seeks to renew the covenant of Moses in the hearts of Israel during her time.

 

And why follow the conditional covenant of Moses? Certainly the curses in the Law are dire, but there is a greater reason. If God delivered you from the way of slavery in Egypt and gave you freedom then the way of His plan for you must also be the way of freedom.

 

Following the law will give Israel the experience in life of the freedom that God gave unconditionally.

 

COL 2:6-7

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

 

The Lord came down upon Sinai and before Him the dark cloud, saturated with water, dropped and enveloped the top of the mountain and emptied it contents while the rocky mountain shook in the quaking earth. This drove fear into the hearts of the Jews, and rightly so, for the curses that God would introduce in His law were not idle words, and the blessings in the law would come from the same God of power.

 

JDG 5:4 "Lord, when You did go out from Seir, When You did march from the field of Edom, The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped, Even the clouds dripped water.

 

Keeping in mind that Baal was viewed as the storm god, here the God of Israel was using what should have been Baal's strongest weapons.

 

JDG 5:5 "The mountains quaked at the presence of the Lord, This Sinai, at the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel.

 

Deborah clothes Sinai's remembrance as an address to God and points to Sinai as if it stands before them, and so it should in their minds continually.

 

For us, we never depart from Calvary in our minds. God has given us the Lord's Supper so we do not forget. “Keep on doing this in remembrance of Me.” The cross is to be in our minds continually, for it was the place of our death and also our new life. All I have that is good is a result of it.

 

After the reminder of God’s confirmation of them as His nation, now Deborah reminds them of the desolate, grim conditions that existed before her.

 

JDG 5:6 "In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, In the days of Jael, the highways were deserted, And travelers went by roundabout ways.

 

JDG 5:7 "The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, Until I arose, a mother in Israel.

 

JDG 5:8 " New gods were chosen; Then war was in the gates. Not a shield or a spear was seen Among forty thousand in Israel.

 

Deborah describes conditions in Israel before her judgeship. We see that Shamgar was contemporary with Ehud, but with the rise of the northern Canaanite kingdom at Hazor, Israel found themselves in an economic depression, leaderless, and without weapons.

 

The roads were deserted. Caravantrading routes were disrupted. Jews were forced to travel back mountain roads to avoid tolls and attacks.

 

What a contrast to possessing the land in which God was to prosper them. Not only were they poor but they could not travel freely in their own land.

 

LEV 26:1 'You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the Lord  your God.

 

LEV 26:2 'You shall keep My sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the Lord .

 

LEV 26:3 'If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out,

 

LEV 26:4 then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.

 

LEV 26:5 'Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land.

 

LEV 26:6 'I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land.

 

LEV 26:7 'But you will chase your enemies, and they will fall before you by the sword;

 

LEV 26:8 five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.

 

LEV 26:9 'So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you.

 

LEV 26:10 'And you will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new.

 

LEV 26:11 'Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you.

 

LEV 26:12 'I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.

 

LEV 26:13 'I am the Lord  your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you should not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.

 

LEV 26:14 'But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments,

 

LEV 26:15 if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant,

 

LEV 26:16 I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that shall waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you shall sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies shall eat it up.

 

LEV 26:17 'And I will set My face against you so that you shall be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when no one is pursuing you.

 

LEV 26:18 'If also after these things, you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.

 

LEV 26:19 'And I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze.

 

LEV 26:20 'And your strength shall be spent uselessly, for your land shall not yield its produce and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.

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