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August 4, 2018

Judges chapters 4 and 5 gives the narrative of Deborah a prophetess and judge in Israel and Barak a military leader in Israel’ s battle and victory over the Canaanites. Chapter 4 is written as prose while chapter 5 is written as an epic poem, and together, they give a complete understanding of the battle and victory.

Chapter 4 starts with Israel returning to their sinning ways after the death of Ehud and God, allowing King Jabin of Canaan to oppress them with the assistance of Sisera the captain of his army for twenty years. Eventually, Israel cries out to God, and He responds by giving Deborah who was functioning as a prophetess and judge a Word to give to Barak. Deborah summons Barak and gives him this Word from the Lord, “Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.” Having received the Word Barak tells Deborah he will only go if she accompanies him to which she agrees to do, and she tells Barak that God was going to give the victory of their enemy to a woman.

Barak gathered the troops from the six tribes of Naphtali, Zebulun, Issachar, Benjamin Ephraim and Manasseh west who willingly volunteered for battle and these six tribes in the chapter 5 poem were praised while the four tribes of Rueben, Manasseh east, Dan and Asher who did not respond to the call were rebuked.

As the two opposing armies met by the Kishon River, God sent a torrential storm causing Sisera with his nine hundred iron chariots to get stuck in the mud which resulted in mass confusion and slaughtering of all of the Sisera’s army. Amid this Sisera escaped and fled to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite.

Sisera asked Jael to protect him and not to expose his whereabouts. Jael covered him with a cloth and gave him some milk to drink after which Sisera fell asleep. Quietly, Jael took a hammer and nail of the tent in her hand and hammered the nail through Sisera’s temples and into the ground, causing him to die.

When Barak, who was pursuing Sisera came by Jael’s tent, she stopped him and brought him into her tent where he saw dead Sisera with the nail in his temples.

After the death of Sisera and the slaughter of his army as God declared Deborah and Barak sang a song of triumphant which is recorded in chapter 5 and God gave the land rest for forty years.

Conclusion: God delivers His people.

Israel required strong leadership to keep them doing what was right in God’s eyes.

Israel had difficulty learning from the mistakes of their forefathers.

God used unconventional means (two women, a torrential storm, a bottle of milk, a hammer, and a nail) to win a war.

In the Bible, Deborah was the first women mentioned in government, and God used her in several capacities.

Deborah’s faith and Barak’s obedience made the difference between defeat and victory.

Spiritual Application: Your faith and obedience can make a difference in our future

Align yourself with people that hear from God.

Warren Wiersbe states, “Reformation temporarily changes outward conduct while revival permanently alters inward character.” We need to seriously pray for revival in our lives lest we like Israel fail to change.

When God gives you instructions, your response should not be based on someone else’s actions, always obey God.

God used Jael, who was not an Israelite to kill an enemy of Israel. Don’t limit or question God on who He will use to fight your battles and deliver you from bondage.

To God, your gender does not matter.

Similar, to some of the tribes of Israel who chose not to assist in the battle, there will be people that you feel should be supportive of you, but they are not. Don’t despair; God will bring you out without them.

Our victory is not contingent on what we see or feel; it is contingent on our trust in God.

The example of Deborah in chapter 5 reminds readers that praise and thanksgiving to God for past and present victories are always in order.


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