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Judges 4-5. Deborah's song, part 3.

JUDGES-5-170214
length: 65:56 - taught on Feb, 14 2017
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Title: Judges 4-5. Deborah's song, part 3.        

 

Announcementsopening prayer:

 

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!

 

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.

 

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.

 

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. Israel found themselves in an economic depression, without freedom, and full of fear and anxiety.  

 

The roads were deserted as well as the market places and gathering places. Caravantrading routes were disrupted. Jews were forced to travel back mountain roads to avoid tolls and attacks.

 

As we saw in Lev 26 they were warned that this would happen if they did not obey the Lord, but also that it was the will of God that they greatly prosper in the land.

 

The deep degradation and disgrace into which Israel had sunk before the appearance of Deborah, through its falling away from the Lord into idolatry, forms the dark reverse of that glorification at Sinai. Things had gotten so low in Israel, that no one would even venture upon the public roads.

 

A Jew could not set out on the public ways to go on a journey of pleasure, either to vacation or to visit a friend or relative. If he was to go anywhere he had to travel the difficult mountainous routes which were circuitous. These were dangerous in their own way and exhausting. They could not set out with goods to trade since they would be taxed along the road. Since they had to pay tribute, the amount of goods they did have was small. It was a life of servitude and fear that has been experienced by so many who have been conquered.

 

JDG 5:6b "the highways were deserted, And travelers went by roundabout ways.

 

JDG 5:7a The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel"

 

"peasantry" - perazown = cultivated land along with unenclosed towns. The open towns and villages, and with their inhabitants, was as forsaken and desolate as the public highways.

 

It's not that the people ceased, rather this is a description of the countryside where fields should be teaming with workers during the day and the towns that were dispersed here and there among the cultivated land, un-walled towns and villages, should have been filled with merchants, markets, shops, taverns, etc. but they were little populated.

 

We can somewhat determine that the people were living in the mountainous regions and scraping a meager living. We would have to assume it to have been very bad indeed for a stubborn, stiff necked people to finally call out to Jehovah after 20 years of oppression.

 

Don't forget to apply this picture to the individual soul of the church age believer who has rejected his accountability to the word of God. Our souls should be like a prosperous land.

 

MAT 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

 

MAT 5:15 "Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house.

 

MAT 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

 

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

 

Deborah was a break in the crisis as "a mother in Israel" - she watched over her people with a maternal care giving them the word of God.

 

Pagan worship pantheons always have a mother figure and so it is necessary to state that Deborah is not "the" mother of Israel. Obviously we know this is the case, but for the sake of completeness, we see that there is no definite article "the" and the simple fact is that God doesn't have a female counterpart, even though ancient Israel often attempted to betroth Him to Ashteroth. The Roman Catholic church has placed Mary in a sort of pantheon as the mother of God, which title she was given at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. Her own immaculate conception was proclaimed in 1854. Her assumption in 1950, meaning she was taken bodily into heaven alla Enoch and Elijah.

 

For Deborah, being a mother is only signifying her love and care of her people, which comes natural to any normal mother. Paul called Timothy his son and called himself a father to the Corinthians.

 

Job called himself the father of the needy:

 

JOB 29:16

"I was a father to the needy,

And I investigated the case which I did not know.

 

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.

 

The new gods clearly points to their idolatry, which then brought about divine discipline in the form of war at their doorsteps. And when the Canaanites approached the towns in order to conquer them they met with no resistance. There were no weapons nor were their valiant men to use them. Shield and spear refers to all weapons and so there were no warriors found in Israel who ventured to defend the land against the foe.

 

New gods: idolatry

War in the gates: oppression at their doorstep

Not a shield: weapons were confiscated or no one was brave enough to use the ones they had.

 

I have explained this as a possibility that the weapons were taken away by Sisera, but another possibility is that there were weapons but no men of faith and strength to pick them up and defend the city. Yet, it is so common in tyrannies like the one the Canaanites exercise over Israel for the oppressor to remove the weapons of the oppressed.

 

The singer now turns from the contemplation of the deep degradation of Israel to the glorious change which took place as soon as she appeared

 

JDG 5:9 " My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel, The volunteers among the people; Bless the Lord!

 

JDG 5:10 " You who ride on white donkeys, You who sit on rich carpets, And you who travel on the road —  sing!

 

JDG 5:11 "At the sound of those who divide flocks among the watering places, There they shall recount the righteous deeds of the Lord, The righteous deeds for His peasantry in Israel. Then the people of the Lord went down to the gates.

 

Verse 9 extols the response of the new leaders. When Deborah appeared there was a glorious change, so "Bless the Lord."

 

The prophetess had grown to deeply love the Lord and as she witnesses the change of heart in Israel as she beholds the columns of thousands of men, dressed for battle, confident and not afraid, willing to take the field and risk their lives for the freedom of the nation, her heart bursts with joy and pride. All of her work in judging and teaching Israel has come to fruition and her joy is faithful Israel.

 

Php 4:1

Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.

 

The new leaders were faithful and brave despite all the disadvantages they faced and this is due solely to their response in faith to the word of God that Deborah spoke confidently and boldly about.

 

People can change, but they only experience real change through faith in God and His word.

 

When faith changes from idolatry to God, what one honors changes and what one depends on changes, and so the person begins to change. In idolatry dependence is on a hope that is only a wish, while in Jehovah dependence is on a hope that is certainty. Weak faith may seem like a risk, and so often it is just that, but even a weak faith in the power of Jehovah to deliver is certain deliverance.

 

A lot of people want to change, but so few do because they don't change their love. I a man continues to love himself he will never change, but when a man becomes a lover of God, and therefore a lover of people, their whole perspective changes and their priorities change and what they honor changes.

 

Enough steps in weak faith will eventually result in bold steps in strong faith. Today is the day of deliverance. Don’t wait. Take the step.

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