Judges 4 Commentary

 

 

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Judges 4:1 Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died.

THEN (time phrase) THE SONS OF ISRAEL AGAIN (Jeremiah 5:3) DID (LXX = poieo = Active Voice = volitional choice to do) EVIL (LXX  = poneros = active evil) IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD (Jdg 2:11,19,20; 3:7,12; 6:1; 10:6; Leviticus 26:23, 24 25; Nehemiah 9:23-30; Psalms 106:43, 44, 45; Jeremiah 5:3)

Then - Always be alert to the word "then" which marks sequential action. Something occurred, then something else followed. That's the idea. This word takes on special import in prophetic Scriptures, where it is an important clue of the timing of the prophetic events. For example in the incredible prophecy of Daniel in 9:24, 25, 26, 27 (see notes Daniel 9:24 Daniel 9:25 Daniel 9:26 Daniel 9:27) we read...

Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off... ( Daniel 9:26)

In this passage of course it is even made more clear by the addition of the word "after".

Notice that this is the fourth cycle in the book of Judges.

Did evil in the sight of the LORD - a repeated phrase in Judges - see notes Judges 2:11, 3:12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, Judges 13:1 The phrase did evil is common in is also common in 1 and 2 Kings (24 times), increasing in frequency in second Kings (see this phrase in Jdg. 2:11; 3:12; 4:1; 10:6; 13:1; 1 Ki. 14:22; 15:26, 34; 16:25, 30; 22:52; 2 Ki. 3:2; 8:18, 27; 13:2, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28; 17:2; 21:2, 20; 23:32, 37; 24:9, 19; 2 Chr. 21:6; 22:4; 33:2, 22; 36:5, 9, 12; Jer. 52:2). It is as if the closer they got to judgment, the more evil they became or the more certain the judgment had to be. Just a thought to ponder. Note it is also interesting that this phrase did evil is not found in 1 and 2 Samuel. Could it be that the reason is that the leaders were godly men like Samuel and David? Note also that the evil began with Baalim (plural) but progressed to the point documented in Judges 10:6 (note)!

If you are not overcoming temptations then the world is overcoming you. The worst enemy one has to overcome after all is one's self. Once again Israel would learn the truth of Jn 8:34...

Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits (present tense = habitually) sin is (present tense = continually) the slave of sin.

(Similarly Peter speaking of the false teachers who are always) 19 promising them (their deceived victims who accept the false teaching) freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome (hettao = overcome in battle, defeated in a conflict or contest - one over whom mastery has been gained. The perfect tense = speaks of permanence of their condition), by this he is enslaved (perfect tense = speaks of permanence of this condition). (see note 2 Peter 1:19)

One of Satan's greatest lies is that sin is liberating. "Try it you'll like it"

D L Moody once quipped that...

"I had rather have 10,000 enemies outside than one inside."

AFTER EHUD DIED (Jdg 2:18, 19-cp notes Judges 2:18; 2:19):

When did they do evil? The land had rest for eighty years, which should have confirmed them in their religion; but it made them secure, and they began to indulge their lusts. The prosperity of fools destroys them.

REFORMATION
vs
REVIVAL

Israel as portrayed in the Book of Judges illustrates the difference between “religious reformation” and “spiritual revival.

Reformation temporarily changes outward conduct while revival permanently alters inward character.

When Ehud removed the idols and commanded the people to worship only Jehovah, they obeyed him; but when that constraint was removed, the people obeyed their own desires. The nation of Israel was like the man in Jesus’ parable who got rid of one demon, cleaned house, and then ended up with seven worse demons (Mt 12:43-45).

The empty heart is prey to every form of evil.

Davis comments on the efficacy of Ehud as a "savior" writing that...

Ehud, sorry to say, is not a totally adequate savior, for though Yahweh brings a certain kind of salvation and help through Ehud, nothing Ehud did could change the hearts of Israel. He may have exerted some beneficial influence on them while he lived (note Judges 4, cf. notes Judges 2:17, Judges 2:19), but he could not release Israel from the bondage of sin or rip the idols out of their hearts. Here is the tragedy of the people of God — slavery to sin (“again did evil”) — and no left–handed savior spilling the guts of foreign kings can release you from that bondage. Helplessness indeed. As noted before, it is what the apostle called being “under sin” (see note Romans 3:9). Note: not sins but sin. Sin is not merely, or primarily, act but power. Being “under sin” is to be held in its clutches, bound by its chain (see the exposition of Judges 2:19). (Ralph Davis Judges: Such a Great Salvation - Focus on the Bible) (Bolding added)

The drama of Judges 4-5 might be subtitled...

“Two Are Better than One,
and Three Are Better Still”

The cast of characters in this drama is as follows:

Jabin: King of Hazor in Canaan; a tyrant
Deborah: a Jewish judge; a woman of faith and courage
Barak: a reluctant Jewish general
Sisera: captain of Jabin’s army
Heber: a Kenite neighbor, at peace with Jabin
Jael: wife of Heber; handy with a hammer
Jehovah God: in charge of wars and weather
Now let the drama unfold.

 

Judges 4:2 And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim.

AND THE LORD SOLD (pictures transferring "ownership" and control to) THEM (Jdg 2:14,15 10:7) INTO THE HAND OF JABIN (Jos11:1, 10,11; 19:36 ) KING OF CANAAN, WHO REIGNED IN HAZOR (8-10 mi N of Sea of Galilee): (Isaiah 50:1; Matthew 18:25)

Hazor - located north of the Sea of Galilee at the south end of the Hulah Valley, a strategic city along the Via Maris (Way of the Sea), which was the most important trade route of ancient times.

Hazor (means enclosed; fortified) was a stronghold of the Canaanites in the mountains north of Lake Merom (Josh. 11:1-5). Jabin the king with his allied tribes here encountered Joshua in a great battle. Joshua gained a signal victory, which virtually completed his conquest of Canaan (Joshua 11:10-13). (Ed note: Although Joshua had destroyed Hazor, Israel failed to occupy it and the Canaanites returned) This city was afterwards rebuilt by the Canaanites, and was ruled by a king with the same hereditary name of Jabin. His army, under a noted leader of the name of Sisera, swept down upon the south, aiming at the complete subjugation of the country. This powerful army was met by the Israelites under Barak, who went forth by the advice of the prophetess Deborah. The result was one of the most remarkable victories for Israel recorded in the Old Testament (Josh 19:36; Judg. 4:2; 1Sa 12:9).

The city of Hazor was taken and occupied by the Israelites. It was fortified by Solomon to defend the entrance into the kingdom from Syria and Assyria.

When Tiglath-pileser, the Assyrian king, invaded the land, this was one of the first cities he captured, carrying its inhabitants captive into Assyria (2Kings 15:29). It has been identified with Khurbet Harrah, 2 1/2 miles south-east of Kedesh. (see Hazor)

About 200 years earlier the Lord had freed Israel from slavery in Egypt. Now, in contrast, He sold them into the hands of the Canaanites as punishment for their sins (cf. Jdg 2:14-note; Jdg 3:8-note; 1Sa 12:9).

The term Canaanite often refers to all non-Jews living west of the Jordan but here the focus is on a northern coalition of Canaanites united under Jabin. Under the leadership of Joshua, Israel had conquered and burned Hazor and killed "Jabin" about 100-150 years earlier (Josh 11:1-13). The city had been rebuilt by the Canaanites and regained its previous strategic dominance over the whole region of Galilee. Why? Because they did not drive them out and utterly destroy (Dt 7:2, 12:2, 20:17, Jos 11:20) them (cp Jdg 1:27 notes Judges 1:27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33). Another Jabin now ruled (probably this name was used like "Abimelech" as a hereditary title). Hazor has been confirmed archaeologically to have been an important city in Canaanite times.

How Depraved
Were the Canaanites?

The Canaanites far surpassed all of their contemporaries in lust, cruelty, and degrading spiritual practices. Their religion consisted of adoration of the planets and worship of a pantheon of gods, El being the supreme deity (note that Satan loves to counterfeit the truth for El is the name of our majestic triune God, Elohim [the plural of El]). Baal was the chief underling of El and overlord of the lesser gods in the pantheon. Baal was identified as the god of rain and the storm, whose voice rode the heavens on wings of the thunderclaps (cp the truth in Ps 104:3 - Spurgeon's note). His images depicted him holding a thunderbolt shaped into a spear. Their circle of gods also contained female figures. Astarte, Asherah, and Anath were believed to possess the power to change their gender as the occasion dictated.

Without spelling out sensual details, it must be noted that this grouping of Canaanite gods and goddesses promoted the most detestable sexual excesses. Promiscuity, incest, and nudity were all glorified among the gods of Canaan. Sacred prostitution and sodomy were also prominent in the licentious practices of these false deities.

Canaanite worship can only be characterized as a gross perversion of everything sacred to true people of God. One can, therefore, easily understand why God commanded Israel to drive out and utterly destroy the Canaanites—an act frequently condemned by liberals. How many times have you heard "The God of the OT is a God of wrath, of vengeance or anger?". In reality, it was an act of mercy for God was attempting to spare His people Israel the agonies they would, unfortunately choose to suffer, because they could not resist the temptation.

There is a powerful lesson for all believers of all ages - compromise with God's enemies soon evolves to becoming comfortable with their evil practices. Things that previously would have been revolting at just the mention, become "strange bedfellows" with those who have accommodated and rationalized their sin (there is nothing rational about sin!)

When we apply these facts to our present easy attitude toward sin and its consequences, we soon recognize the need for an immediate shift in our thinking. Many of the current movements, which take an almost flippant attitude toward conduct frowned upon in Scripture, are doing modern Christians a grave disservice. Catchphrases that promise effortlessly to restore the errant believer to a place of blessing are a delusion. Sin in any form is an offense to God. To call this to the attention of believers is not to engage in sanctimonious legalism. It is a warning that must be sounded. We must develop a sensitivity to sin and acquire a new appreciation of the need for true holiness in life. This beloved is the essence of true revival.

AND THE COMMANDER OF HIS ARMY WAS SISERA, WHO LIVED IN HAROSHETH-HAGOYIM ("woodland of the gentiles"): (1Samuel 12:9; Psalms 83:9 )

Harosheth Haggoyim (Harosheth of the Gentiles) (cf. Jdg 4:13, 16- notes Judges 4:13; 4:16) sometimes identified with Tell el-­Amar located by a narrow gorge where the Kishon River enters the Plain of Acre about 10 mi NW of Megiddo in the Galilee. (See topics Harosheth Haggoyim Harosheth of the Gentiles Harosheth, Of The Gentiles, Of The Nations)

Through the brilliant help of Jabin's general, Sisera, Jabin exercised military control over at least 6 of the northern tribes.

Sisera pushed down from Hazor 8 mi N of the Sea of Galilee to occupy the Plain of Esdraelon (the Hebrew name is the Valley of Jezreel - see Esdraelon Esdraelon, Plain), a strategic and fertile valley in the central portion of Israel.

Note this new oppression was not brought about by a foreign invasion (external enemies) as the previous one had been but was instigated by the very Canaanites (internal enemies) whom the Israelites had failed to expel from the land (Jdg 1:30, 31, 32, 33-see notes Judges 1:30; 31; 32; 33).

Israel thus continued to reap a bitter fruit from the seeds of disobedience she had sown by refusing to believe God and thus not utterly destroying the enemies in the land. First we saw C-R from Mesopotamia, then the enemy came closer in Eglon from Moab (and actually in their land near Jericho) and now the enemy arises from WITHIN! Like James exhorts us in regard to the deceitfulness of sin (See related discussion: The Deceitfulness of Sin) "Don't be deceived beloved brethren"! (Jas 1:16-note). The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to...

encourage (present imperative = continually - which must mean we are each in continual "need" of encouragement! Are you a discourager or an encourager beloved?) one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (He 3:13-note)

Comment: The "what" of sin? The deceitfulness - mark it down when a person is deceived, by definition they are not even aware that they are deceived! And such is the nature of the deluding venom of sin! Beware!

Apply this to your personal life. Remember these things were written as examples for our instruction upon whom the end of the ages has come (1Cor 10:6, 11). Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

6 Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.
7 And do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY."
8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.
9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.
10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 Therefore (
term of conclusion) let him who thinks he stands (Pr 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling. Remember one of your best tools in interpreting Scripture is the Scripture - therefore learn to use the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge [many more cross references than those in your Bible margin] compare Scripture with Scripture) take heed (present imperative = continually - which must mean we are each in continual "need" of being on the lookout!) lest he fall.

 

Judges 4:3 And the sons of Israel cried to the LORD; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.

AND THE SONS OF ISRAEL CRIED TO THE LORD: (Jdg 3:9,15; 10:16; 1Sa 7:8; Ps 50:15; 78:34; Jer 2:27,28)

Cried to the LORD - Ex 8:12; Dt. 26:7; Jdg. 3:9, 15; 4:3; 6:6f; 1Sa 7:9; 2Ki. 20:11; 2Chr 13:14; Ps. 107:28; 120:1

As in the previous times of distress when Israel called on the Lord there was no evidence of genuine repentance for her sin. Israel was like the passengers on an airplane that suddenly lost engine power and began to cry out to God for help.

It is interesting that despite the plethora of so-called gods, in "crunch time" Israel cried out to the One God, Jehovah. This implies that deep inside they knew their so-called gods were not really God and had no power to save. It also shows how if men will not serve the One God, they are still so constituted that they must worship and will resort to gods of their own imagination to satisfy this deep inner need.

It's true of all of us - we have been created with a "God shaped vacuum" and if we will not worship the One True God, we will worship the god of self, of money, of power, etc. These latter gods make no moral demands per se on us and thus we can do as we please, doing whatever seems right in our own eyes. And so we conclude that much of the modern world like ancient Israel is in effect "polytheistic", the only difference being that the modern gods have different names.

FOR HE HAD NINE HUNDRED IRON CHARIOTS: (Jdg 1:19; Josh 17:16 )

Fruchtenbaum notes that...

The mention of nine hundred chariots is not out of character for, in the inscriptions of Thutmose III, he states that he captured nine hundred twenty-four chariots from the Canaanites in the Battle of Megiddo, and Megiddo plays a role in the battle of Judges as recorded in chapters 4 and 5.   (Fruchtenbaum, A. G. Judges and Ruth: Ariel's Bible Commentary)

The military position of Israel was nothing short of appalling = out-manned, out-gunned, out-positioned!

Humanly speaking Israel's lot was hopeless and helpless (cf the status of sinners in note on Romans 5:6 "while we were still helpless"). A nation without arms (see note Judges 5:8) was indeed "helpless" before a nation armed to the teeth. But Israel's real problem was not military but spiritual. Their real need was not an iron smelter but a living faith in Jehovah God. So in the face of this militarily impossible situation God does not raise up an Othniel or Ehud but a woman. Naturally speaking it was the last place Israel would have expected help from. Where were the men? Where are the men today? Who is usually involved in serious Bible study in America? Is it the men? No, sadly for the most part, it is the women. There is nothing wrong with the latter, but there is much wrong with the former deficit. Men, if you're too busy for serious Bible study, you are too busy period! And we are not talking about touchy, feely "manhood" studies. The pure milk of the Word is a man's basic need, not studies filled with psychological pabulum (baby food - which Webster defines as that which is insipid, simplistic, or bland) and/or humanistic aphorisms. Man does not live by bread (or stock portfolios, or lake houses, or sailboats, etc) but by every (how many?) Word that proceeds from the mouth of God - This is the Scriptural truth (Deut 8:3, Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4, Job 23:12-note , Jer 15:16, see Psalm 1:2, 3-note for God's formula for genuine success in this short, fleeting life that is given to prepare us for eternity, not as a hiatus for holiness)

AND HE OPPRESSED THE SONS OF ISRAEL SEVERELY FOR TWENTY YEARS: (Jdg 5:8; Dt 28:29,33,47,48; Ps 106:42)

Severely (hozqah) (5x in OT - Jdg. 4:3; 8:1; 1Sa 2:16; Ezek. 34:4; Jonah 3:8) means strength or force. From the OT uses one notes that most refer to a harsh, cruel, and self-serving use of one’s strength and power. Lxx translates with kratos = which denotes the possession of force or strength that affords supremacy or control.

As Fruchtenbaum rightly observes...

On the human side, the Canaanite ability to oppress Israel for so long was due to their chariot strength. On the divine side, it was God’s discipline due to Israel’s apostasy. (Fruchtenbaum, A. G. Judges and Ruth: Ariel's Bible Commentary)

ISRAEL’S FAILURE TO BELIEVE and obey God created a slowly festering sore on the anatomy of the nation. Have you ever had an insect bite that you scratched and it became infected? And the red margin of infection begin to slowly, imperceptibly spread outward to the point that others begin to see what you had ignored? And then you needed a course of systemic antibiotics to cure the infection!

Israel would ultimately fall beneath the weight of a canker that they had allowed to become far too large and painful to excise with their own hands. Sin is deceptive. The inhabitants of the land, whose presence among them seemed inconsequential at the beginning, soon produced Jabin, Sisera, and 900 chariots of iron. Consequently, the children of Israel found themselves terrorized, oppressed, and faced with 20 years of debilitating servitude.

What "Jabin, Sisera or 900 chariots of iron" has God allowed to fester in your spiritual life beloved because of bad choices and/or failure to obey Him? It's time to cry out to Jehovah, but don't imitate Israel in the transience of their return to Him. Instead, cry out for revival even as did the Psalmist (who from the nature of his writing was undoubtedly one of the best men around... and yet he found it necessary to cry out for revival! You have not because you ask not beloved. Ask and it shall be given but ask in faith without any doubting. Don't be like the man who "buried the hatchet" of discord with a friend in the back yard and left the handle above the ground in case he needed it again! Cry out for the divine gift of genuine repentance and revival from the only One capable of giving it...

Psalm 119:25
My soul cleaves**
(sticks like glue is the picture) to the dust.
Revive me
(bring spiritual life again) according to Thy Word.
(
Read Spurgeon's Note - good fodder for the soul)

What is associated with genuine revival? Clearly it is the Word of Life and Truth. It is not some emotional high but it is God in us working and willing to His good pleasure (Php 2:12, 13-see notes Philippians 2:12; 2:13), even stimulating a heart hunger for His truth, whereby we might live again. When you experience physical hunger, you usually satisfy it at the first opportunity. Do the same when God sends this spiritual hunger. Don't procrastinate and say I'll get into His Word tomorrow. I'll join a serious Bible study next month or next semester. Today is the day of your salvation (present tense salvation [see Three Tenses of Salvation] - ongoing day to day salvation whereby we are gradually, continually being set apart by the Spirit from the profane world and unto God and for His use and glory.) And how does it happen? The intake of His Word is central, so don't delay another day beloved. Consider joining a serious Bible Study. Men's (Women's) Bible Study Fellowship (Welcome to BSF), which is the "vehicle" God used to save me some 25 years ago as I studied in the Minor Prophets (Jesus is on every page of the Scripture)! After BSF I was introduced to Precept Ministries International which God first used to save my marriage (which he supernaturally revived through the study of Covenant - see Covenant As It Relates to Marriage) and then used over the next 15+ years to prepare me for the ministry you are reading on this website. There is a gross misconception that Precept Ministries International Bible studies are only for women but that is not correct. They are for all saints and have as their primary objective the making and maturing disciples. In my opinion Precept Ministries' inductive Bible studies are without peer as a tool which the Spirit can use to edify and equip saints who are "created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ep 2:10-see note Ephesians 2:10). But I don't want to mislead you...inductive Bible study is difficult work (more work than BSF but a great follow up to BSF - yes, there is "life" after BSF!), but the reward is simply incalculable as eternity future will clearly testify. Try a sample by downloading lesson one of Judges (download pdf)

**Note on cleave (from Spurgeon's Notes) - The Hebrew word for "cleaveth" signifies "is joined," "has adhered," "has overtaken," "has taken hold," "has joined itself." Our soul is a polypus (cf octopus with powerful suckers): as the polypus readily adheres to the rocks, so does the soul cleave to the earth; and hardly can it be torn from the place to which it has once strongly attached itself. Though thy soul be now more perfect, and escaping from the waters of sin has become a bird of heaven, be not careless; earthly things are birdlime and glue; if you rub the wings against these thou wilt be held, and joined to the earth. Thomas Le Blanc.

SPURGEON'S SERMON NOTES
PSALM 119:25

1. There are many reasons why we should seek quickening.

(a) Because of the deadening influence of the world. "Thy
soul cleaveth," etc.

(b) The influence of vanity (see Psalms 119:37).

(c) Because we are surrounded by deceivers (see Psalms 119:87, 88).

(d) Because of the effect of seasons of affliction upon us (see Psalms 119:7).

2. Some of the motives for seeking quickening.

(a) Because of what you are -- a Christian; life seeks more
life.

(b) Because of what you ought to be.

(c) Because of what we shall be.

(d) In order to obedience (see Psalms 119:88).

(e) For your comfort (Psalms 119:107,50).

(f) As the best security against the attacks of enemies (Psalms 119:87, 88).

(g) To invigorate our memories (Psalms 119:93).

(h) Consider (as a motive to seek this quickening) the terrible consequences of losing spiritual life; or, in other words, lacking it in its manifest display.

3. Some of the ways in which the quickening may be brought to us.

(a) It must be by the Lord himself. "Quicken me, O Lord."

(b) By the turning of the eyes (Psalms 119:37).

(c) By the word (Psalms 119:50).

(d) By the precepts (Psalms 119:93).

(e) By affliction (Psalms 119:107).

(f) By divine comforts.

4. Enquire where are our pleas when we come before God to ask for quickening.

(a) Our necessity (Psalms 119:107, etc.)

(b) Our earnest desire (Psalms 119:40).

(c) Appeal to God's righteousness (Psalms 119:40).

(d) To his lovingkindness (Psalms 119:88,149,156).

(e) The plea in the text: "according to thy word" (Psalms 119:28,107).

See Spurgeon's Sermon No. 1350:
Enlivening and Invigorating - Psalm 119:25 - opens Pdf

 

Judges 4:4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.

NOW DEBORAH A PROPHETESS THE WIFE OF LAPPIDOTH ("lamps"): (Exodus 15:20; 2Kings 22:14; Nehemiah 6:14; Joel 2:28,29; Micah 6:4; Luke 2:36; Acts 21:9; 1Corinthians 11:5; Galatians 3:28)

A prophetess - Hebrew is literally "a woman of prophecy", the same description that was given to Miriam (Ex 15:20 and Huldah (2Kings 22:14).

This extraordinary woman came into prominence when the men of Israel were paralyzed by fear. (Isa 3:12). As a prophetess she received Word from God and proclaimed it to Barak (v6-7). Deborah was a wife and mother - Scripture does not say that Lappidoth was the "husband of Deborah" but just the opposite, because this has always been God's order. She was judge, joining only one other person said to be both prophet and judge (Samuel).

Prophetess. Homemaker. Judge. Leader (mother in Israel) (Jdg 5:7-note).

When the leader (and leaders when Barak obeyed God's command) arose, the people volunteered to battle the enemy against all odds (Jdg 5:2-note).

LORD God give us Deborahs and Baraks in these dark declining days of America's moral apathy and apostasy and inevitable coming anarchy so that the people would "volunteer" and would be revived and take back the land given over to the enemy. Amen.

Deborah's name means "bee" or "wasp" and as one Hebrew scholar wrote

 "Deborah was a bee in peace and a wasp in war!"

Deborah held three positions of leadership in Israel. She was a judge (only woman judge ever noted); she was a military leader in a successful campaign against the Canaanites; and she was a prophetess who delivered God's word to Barak.

This extraordinary woman seems to have come into prominence at a time when the men of Israel were paralyzed by fear. She inspired Barak to pursue God's plan, leading him into battle. God has raised up women in history for these unique opportunities of inspiration and leadership (Jdg 5:12-note).

WAS JUDGING ISRAEL AT THAT TIME: (participle of shaphat expresses the permanence of the act of judging)

Deborah was clearly a most remarkable woman, to be accepted as judge of Israel at this low ebb in the nation's history. As far as is known, no other woman was ever so honored. Furthermore, she was a true "prophetess," a position accorded to only four other women named in the Bible [contrast the great number of men recognized therein as prophets]:

2Chr 34:22, Neh 6:14, Isa 8:3, Lu 2:36, Acts 21:9, Re 2:20-see note Re 2:20

Miriam (Ex 15:20)
Huldah
(2Ki 22:14)
Wife of Isaiah
the prophet (Isa 8:3)
Anna (Lk 2:36).

However, just as there were many false prophets, so two false prophetesses are mentioned

Noadiah (Neh 6:14)
Jezebel (Re 2:20-
note).

Someone has said there are only 3 kinds of people --

(1) Those who watch what is happening

(2) Those who make things happen

(3) Those who scratch their heads and ask "What's happening?

Deborah was type #2!

Harry Truman said...

Leadership is the ability to get men to do what they don't want to do and like it.

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Judges 4.4
G Campbell Morgan

Now Deborah, a prophetess .. . she judged Israel at that time. Judges 4.4

In the light of subsequent Jewish prejudice against women as leaders, the story of Deborah is full of interest, as it reveals the fact that there never was any such prejudice in the mind of God. Whereas motherhood in all the sanctity and beauty of that great word, is the special function and glory of womanhood, yet when a woman is specially gifted for the exercise of prophetic and administrative work, she is not barred by any Divine law from such work.

Deborah was a prophetess in the full sense of that word; that is, she was the inspired mouthpiece of the Word of God to her people.

She also judged Israel and whatever that meant in the case of the men who exercised that office, it also meant in her case.

She was a saviour, a deliverer; she administered the affairs of the people, and led them out of the circumstances of difficulty into which their sin had brought them.

One can imagine how this daughter of her people, true child of faith, had suffered under the consciousness of the degradation of the people.

There is a touch of poetry and romance in the story which is full of fascination. Ever and anon in the long history of God's patient dealing with men, we find Him raising up some woman to lead, to guide, to inspire; and always there is this same element of enthusiasm and force.

The one great message of the story seems to be that it warns us to take heed that we do not imagine ourselves to be wiser than God. When He calls and equips a woman to high service, let us beware lest we dishonour Him by refusing to recognize her, or co-operate with her. (Morgan, G. C. Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible) (Bolding added)

 

Judges 4:5 And she used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment.

SHE USED TO SIT UNDER THE PALM TREE OF DEBORAH BETWEEN RAMAH AND BETHEL IN THE HILL COUNTRY OF EPHRAIM (Ephraim): (Genesis 35:8) (Joshua 16:2; 18:22,25; 1Samuel 1:1,19; 6:16,17; 25:1; Jeremiah 31:15) probably some 8 mi N of Jerusalem.

AND THE SONS OF ISRAEL CAME UP TO HER FOR JUDGMENT (verdicts). (Exodus 18:13,16,19,26; Deuteronomy 17:8, 9, 10, 11, 12; 2Samuel 15:2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Fruchtenbaum points out that...

They were not coming to her asking her to save Israel from the enemy; they were coming to her asking her to solve their legal disputes. They were asking for divine answers to their cries, which are described in the following verses. They came to her because she was a prophetess, not because she was a judge. This shows that people had lost confidence in the priesthood to provide spiritual direction and answers. So while she was in the role of a judge in the traditional sense of settling disputes, in their specific case they did not come to her merely to settle their legal disputes between fellow Israelites, but they also came asking for divine answers, because they recognized her to be a prophetess. Again, this shows that instead of going to the priesthood to receive a divine answer, they went to her. (Fruchtenbaum, A. G. Judges and Ruth: Ariel's Bible Commentary)

 

Judges 4:6 Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, "Behold, the LORD, the God of Israel, has commanded, 'Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun.

NOW SHE SENT AND SUMMONED BARAK THE SON OF ABINOAM: (Jdg 5:1; Hebrews 11:32 )

God could have destroyed the enemy with one blow but He worked thru 3 human beings to accomplish His will, 3 willing (even through Barak initially hesitated) and available individuals, both strong and weak, well-known and obscure.

God uses people like Austin Gallaher, a young man whose name few people would even recognize today. He saved a young Abraham Lincoln from drowning in a creek. Today God still uses Jael's and Austin Gallahers to accomplish His purposes. Are you willing and available to be God's vessel? (2Ti 2:21, 22 -note).

FROM KEDESH-NAPHTALI (means sacred place/sanctuary + Naphtali = wrestler): (Joshua 19:32,37; 21:32)

One possible location of Kedesh in Naphtali, was the city of refuge (Joshua 20:7), usually identified as Tel Qedesh, 5 mi W by NW of Lake Huleh (now drained but then just N of Sea of Galilee). An alternate site, and in my opinion more likely site for the Kedesh referred to in this context is Khirbet el-Kidish on the eastern edge of the Jabneel Valley, about a mile from the SW shore of the Sea of Galilee. This "Kedesh" is more closely located to Mt Tabor where the army of Israel was mustered by Barak. So at this time Barak was about ~60 miles N of the palm tree of Deborah in central Israel.

AND SAID TO HIM BEHOLD, THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, HAS COMMANDED GO AND MARCH TO MOUNT TABOR (Joshua 1:9; Psalms 7:6; Isaiah 13:2-5; Acts 13:47 ) (Ps 89:12; Hosea 5:1): (Tabor - Jdg 8:18; 1Samuel 10:3; Psalms 89:12; Jeremiah 46:18; Hosea 5:1)

Mt Tabor is a conical (See picture and interesting description) Mt Tabor (see another picture and description) rises to 1,350 feet above the plain in turn 400' above Med Sea and was strategically located at the juncture of the tribes of Naphtali, Zebulun, and Issachar in the northeast part of the Jezreel Valley.

This conical symmetrical mound of limestone is in the NE of plain of Esdraelon (the Hebrew name is the Valley of Jezreel - see Esdraelon Esdraelon, Plain = Jezreel assigned to Zebulun and Issachar [Joshua 19:10-23] from Med Sea > Jordan R at Beth-Shean includes Plain of Megiddo in E and Jezreel in W) ~ 6 mi E of Nazareth. N slope covered w oak trees

Barak gathered his forces on Tabor and descended to plain conquering Sisera on banks of Kishon (Judges 4:6-15-notes). Here the brothers of Gideon were slain by Zebah and Zalmunna (Jdg 8:18, 19-note).

AND TAKE WITH YOU TEN THOUSAND MEN FROM THE SONS OF NAPHTALI (Joshua 21:32, Jdg 5:18-
note) AND FROM THE SONS OF ZEBULUN

Take a moment and "get your bearing" regarding the geographical locations by clicking the map below - it will help "bring alive" some of these places as you read through the chapter.  (After enlarging the map you may need to resize it for better resolution).

Naphtali (see Naphtali Naphtali, Mount Naphtali, Tribe of) had the territory east of sea of Galilee and north of the territory of the tribe of Zebulun (see map below)

Zebulun (see Zebulonite Zebulun Zebulun, Lot of Zebulun, Tribe of) territory east of sea of Galilee and north of the territory of the tribe of Issachar. (see map below)

Valley of Jezreel (see Jezreel Jezreel Valley Jezreel, Valley of) (not named on the map but in the vicinity of Megiddo which is shown), where the crucial battle was to occur

Plain of Esdraelon = Hebrew name for the Valley of Jezreel (see Esdraelon Esdraelon, Plain).

On this map don't be confused by the designation of the origin of Deborah, for most of the action described in Judges 4-5 occurs just to the West of the Sea of Galilee.

This map also has two other locations which are key to interpreting Judges 4-5...

Kishon River (look just to the west of Zebulun and next to Mt Carmel) (see Kishon)

Mt Tabor (look at the northern boundary of Issachar, as it interfaces with Zebulun) (See picture and interesting description of Mt Tabor) (see another picture and description of Mt Tabor) rises to 1,350 feet above the plain and was strategically located at the juncture of the tribes of Naphtali, Zebulun, and Issachar in the northeast part of the Jezreel Valley.


BARAK—THE FACELESS

Comes Jabin like a foul plague
To smite the chosen seed,
And with him noxious Sisera
To consummate the deed.

Great chariots of iron roll,
Nine hundred by the count,
To turn Esdraelon’s comely plain
Into a bloody fount.

Far up on Tabor’s wooded slope
Waits Barak and his host.
A man quite ill equipped, it seems,
To stand a warrior’s post.

But this man holds the surest sword
God’s foes to recompense.
The tempered, twin-edged,
Heaven-forged blades—
FAITH and OBEDIENCE.

 

Judges 4:7 'And I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon; and I will give him into your hand.'"

AND I WILL DRAW OUT TO YOU SISERA THE COMMANDER OF JABIN'S ARMY WITH HIS CHARIOTS AND HIS MANY TROOPS TO THE RIVER KISHON (Flows thru Jezreel V, N of Mt Carmel- Jdg 5:21,1Ki 18:40, Ps 83:9)

Kishon (note) - 5x in OT - Jdg. 4:7, 13; 5:21; 1 Ki. 18:40; Ps. 83:9

Draw out (masak) (35x in OT - Gen. 37:28; Exod. 12:21; 19:13; Deut. 21:3; Jos. 6:5; Jdg. 4:6f; 5:14; 20:37; 1 Ki. 22:34; 2 Chr. 18:33; Neh. 9:30; Job 21:33; 24:22; 41:1; Ps. 10:9; 28:3; 36:10; 85:5; 109:12; Prov. 13:12; Eccl. 2:3; Song 1:4; Isa. 5:18; 13:22; 18:2, 7; Jer. 31:3; 38:13; Ezek. 12:25, 28; 32:20; Hos. 7:5; 11:4; Amos 9:13) is used of exertion and means to drag or to pull. The NIV and NLT render it as "lure" but "lure" implies a hint of trickery by offering some pleasure or gain and this is overstating the case. God does not need to entice people. Somehow He simply draws Sisera pointing of course to the Lord's sovereign control of people, places and events. He orchestrates the battle by leading Sisera's forces to their doom. Note how God gives men responsibility in but it is God's sovereign power that works out the plan of salvation of Israel from their enemies (Php 2:12, 13- cp notes Philippians 2:12; 2:13).

The Divine call is always accompanied by His Divine provision.

AND I WILL GIVE HIM (Jdg 4:14-note, Joshua 8:7, 10:8, 11:6) INTO YOUR HAND: (Jdg 4:14; Exodus 21:13; Joshua 8:7; 10:8; 11:6; 1Samuel 24:10,18)

Give (KJV = deliver) (Hebrew - nathan) is translated in the Septuagint (LXX) with the Greek verb paradidomi (see word study) which signifies the giving of one over of someone or some thing to the power of another (see uses in Ro 1:24, 26, 28 (see notes on Ro 1:24; 26; 28) where those who suppress and exchange the truth about God are given over respectively to the "lusts of their hearts", "degrading passions" and "a depraved mind"! Jabin and Sisera were God rejecters who reaped the wages of their rejection of their Creator.)

This is a frequent idiom in the OT (click other OT uses), signifying the giving of someone over to the power of another.

THE RIVER KISHON - is a stream that flows through the valley of Jezreel (means God scatters! See picture and description or Here for nice description) The River Kishon is located at the western end of the Valley of Jezreel. Mount Tabor, where Barak and Israel mustered, was at the eastern end of the same valley.

 

Judges 4:8 Then Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go."

English translation of the Septuagint (LXX) adds a phrase not in the Hebrew text...

And Barak said to her, If thou wilt go with me, I will go; and if thou wilt not go, I will not go; for I do not know the day on which the Lord prospers (guides well) the messenger of the LORD with me.

THEN BARAK SAID TO HER IF YOU WILL GO WITH ME: (Exodus 4:10, 11, 12, 13, 14; Matthew 14:30,31)

Think about what Barak had just been promised. At first glance it seems as if Barak is expressing doubt [and giving the honor to a woman to kill Sisera tends to support this] but the LXX adds a phrase above that suggests this is not necessarily the case. And so we will wait until we meet Barak in heaven.

One thing is for sure...he did not shy back one iota when Deborah told him to arise (see note Judges 4:14) but in fact led the charge (Jdg 5:15-see note Judges 5:15) down the hill (Barak means "lightning"!) with 10,000 men who counted their life naught to serve their God (Jdg 5:18-see note Judges 5:18). Barak was hardly a coward!

THEN I WILL GO BUT IF YOU WILL NOT GO WITH ME, I WILL NOT GO:

Some commentators feel that Barak either forgot or failed to lay hold of the truth that God's Divine call is always accompanied by His Divine provision (it is a possibility). In any event, there is a timeless principle that it not our strength we are to depend on in the battle lest God not receive the glory. Let us always have Paul's attitude in (2Cor 3:5, 4, 5, 6)...

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

God is Faithful

Let believers today not forget this eternal, encouraging truth. Even in His victorious return at the end of the Great Tribulation is called Faithful and True (Re 19:11-see note Revelation 19:11, Php 1:6, 1Th 5:24, He 10:23, 11 - see notes Phil 1:6, 1Th 5:24, He 10:23, He 11:11).

Our faithful God is the same God today as He was in the lives of Deborah and Barak (He 13:8-note, Isaiah 46:4; Malachi 3:6). Let us lay hold of Him and His precious and magnificent promises by faith, a faith that obeys (2Pe 1:4-note)

 

Judges 4:9 And she 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." Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.

AND SHE 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: (1Samuel 2:30; 2Chronicles 26:18 ) (Jdg 4:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22; 5:24, 25, 26, 27; 9:54; 2Sa 20:21,22)

Notice her two part answer - first a promise and secondly a prophecy.

Honor (tipharah) often refers to physical beauty, but it can also refer to royal splendor, fame, or God's glory.

Tipharah - 46x in OT - Exod. 28:2, 40; Deut. 26:19; Jdg. 4:9; 1 Chr. 22:5; 29:11, 13; Ps. 71:8; 78:61; 89:17; 96:6; Prov. 4:9; 16:31; 17:6; 19:11; 20:29; 28:12; Isa. 3:18; 4:2; 10:12; 13:19; 20:5; 28:5; 44:13; 46:13; 52:1; 60:7, 19; 62:3; 63:12, 14f; 64:11; Jer. 13:11, 18, 20; 33:9; 48:17; Lam. 2:1; Ezek. 16:12, 17, 39; 23:26, 42; 24:25; Zech. 12:7

The Septuagint (LXX) translates "honor" in this verse with the Greek word proterema meaning "advantage" or "victory".

In this context the Hebrew word tipharah refers to the honor associated with defeating the enemy and the subsequent honor attendant to the victor.

So it appears that Barak has indeed "missed out" on something that God would give him and yet clearly he is still "honored" by being mentioned in the Hebrews 11 "hall of faith"

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. (see notes Hebrews 11:32; 33; 34)

Nevertheless, it is axiomatic that God honors prompt and unquestioning obedience to His command.

And so the honor was taken from Barak and given to Jael.

Brensinger has an interesting application that focuses on Barak's hesitation writing...

If Only …Two of the strongest and most heartbreaking words in the English language are “If only ….” These words speak of painful regret, wasted opportunities, and an adversely affected future. Surely the builder who constructed a house upon the sand, only to watch it collapse during the first major storm (Mt 7:26, 27-see notes Mt 7:26; 27), later groaned “If only ….” So also sighed the criticized servant who buried his single talent rather than invest it (Matt. 25:24-30). To these could be added countless contemporary examples in which individuals, perhaps even we ourselves, ignored good advice, wasted important opportunities, or responded reluctantly—and lived to regret it. While sound judgment and wise counsel from the community of faith enable one to say “No” on appropriate occasions, dragging one’s feet with God leads frequently to forfeited blessings and deep sorrow...As many have learned, frequently with considerable pain, saying “Yes” today far surpasses saying “If only … ” tomorrow. (Brensinger, T. L. Judges. Believers Church Bible Commentary. Page 68. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press)

Beloved is God speaking to you, telling you to go forth in His power and for His glory in some endeavor?

C H Spurgeon wrote the following devotional entitled "A Woman's War" in Faith's Checkbook...

“The Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.”—Judges 4:9

RATHER an unusual text, but there may be souls in the world that may have faith enough to grasp it. Barak, the man, though called to the war, had little stomach for the fight unless Deborah would go with him, and so the Lord determined to make it a woman’s war. By this means He rebuked the slackness of the man, and gained for Himself the more renown, and cast the more shame upon the enemies of His people.

The Lord can still use feeble instrumentalities. Why not me? He may use persons who are not commonly called to great public engagements. Why not you? The woman who slew the enemy of Israel was no Amazon, but a wife who tarried in her tent. She was no orator, but a woman who milked the cows and made butter.

May not the Lord use any one of us to accomplish His purpose? Somebody may come to the house today, even as Sisera came to Jael’s tent. Be it ours not to slay him, but to save him. Let us receive him with great kindness, and then bring forth the blessed truth of salvation by the Lord Jesus, our great Substitute, and press home the command, “Believe and live.”

Who knoweth but some stout-hearted sinner may be slain by the gospel today?

THEN DEBORAH AROSE AND WENT WITH BARAK TO KEDESH:

The battle began at her command, "Arise!" (Jdg 4:14).

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Judges 4:9
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

The journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour.

Barak preferred the inspiration of Deborah’s presence to the invisible but certain help of Almighty God. It was Jehovah who had commanded him to draw his forces towards the River Kishon, and had promised to deliver Sisera into his hand. But he seemed unable to rise to the splendor of the situation. If only he could have Deborah beside him he would go, but otherwise not. He is mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of faith; but his faith lay rather in Deborah’s influence with God than in his own. Thus he missed the crown of that great day of victory. (Ed note: I am not sure that Meyer is correct in this assessment... we must wait for that day to see for certain.)

It is the mark of the carnal Christian that he has no direct dealings with God for himself, but must needs deal with Him through the medium of another’s prayers, and words, and leadership. Barak must have Deborah. It is faith, though greatly attenuated and reduced by the opaqueness of the medium through which it passes. Such do not attain “unto the first three.” God cannot honor them as He does those who have absolutely no help or hope save in Himself.

“Them that honour Me, I will honour; and those that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” (1Samuel 2:30)

If God tells you to go alone to a work, be sure and obey. Go, at whatever cost. Dare to stand by yourself if God is with you. In such hours we realize what Jesus meant when He said,

“Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he saith cometh to pass, he shall have it.” (Mark 11:23)

Yet if you are unbelieving, your unbelief cannot make God’s faith of none effect. He abideth faithful. He cannot deny Himself. (2Ti 2:13-see note 2 Timothy 2:13) He will still deliver Israel. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)

 

Judges 4:10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up with him; Deborah also went up with him.

Ten thousand men went up with him - It is interesting to observe that in this group of men were "the princes of Issachar...as was Issachar so was Barak..." (Jdg 5:15-note; Exodus 11:8; 1Samuel 25:27; 1Kings 20:11)

The three tribes which had geographically the most to lose (see map) were Naphtali, Zebulun and Issachar.

Elsewhere we read this great description of the tribe of Issachar in the several hundred years later in the days of David when Saul was attempting to kill him...

And of the sons of Issachar (who in context are numbered among the mighty men of David), men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command. (1Chr 12:32)

We in America (and the world for that matter) live in desperate times much like the days of Judges. May God raise up in His true church in America men like the "sons of Issachar", that we might once again experience the victorious wind of revival over God's arch enemies.

 

Judges 4:11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

NOW HEBER THE KENITE: (Jdg 1:16; Nu 10:29; 24:21 )

Kenites (see topic) were a branch of the Midianite tribe [Nu 10:29; Jdg 1:16-note; Jdg 4:11] and had sided with Israel.

The name Kenite = "smith', and the presence of copper SE of the Gulf of Aqabah, the Kenite-Midianite region, would nicely correlate with the meaning of this tribe's name. The Kenites first appear as inhabitants of patriarchal Canaan (Ge 15:19). Subsequently Moses becomes son-in-law of Reuel (Ex 2:18) and invites Hobab his son to accompany the Israelites, coveting his nomadic skill. In [Nu 10:29] the Kenites accompanied Judah into their inheritance (see Judges 1:16; 1Sa 27:10] settling in the south near Arad (Arad, see location C7 on OT Map)

Near Kedesh -  (Kedesh)

HAD SEPARATED HIMSELF FROM THE KENITES, FROM THE SONS OF HOBAB THE FATHER-IN-LAW OF MOSES AND HAD PITCHED HIS TENT AS FAR AWAY AS THE OAK IN ZAANANNIM WHICH IS NEAR KEDESH: (Hobab - Exodus 2:18; 3:1; 18:1) (Zaanaim - Joshua 19:33,37 )

Heber the Kenite had separated himself - The Kenites were normally friendly to Israel, but Heber had separated from the majority of the Kenites and had allied himself with the Canaanites.

Davis adds an interesting analysis writing that...

verse 11, dry as it seems, points to the providence of God. According to Jdg 1:16 (note), the Kenites settled in the south of Judah’s southern territory (near Arad). Heber separated from this group and moved north to Kedesh (like moving from Florida to Vermont, only not so far).

Certainly, it appears to be nothing but a piece of geographical trivia to have Heber’s change of address inserted into the story. Nevertheless, we will soon discover that Jael, the woman who nailed Sisera, was Heber’s wife and that she was precisely where she needed to be when Israel’s oppressor ditched his chariot and ran for his life.

The God of the Bible still injects those marvelous bits of providential minutiae into the lives of his people. In what a wonderful manner God prepares for our deliverance! Many Christians can see this as they look back and reflect on God’s ways with them. There has been some little piece of divine trivia, something that seemed at the time wholly unrelated to anything, something that even escaped human notice because it was so minuscule — yet it turned out to be the vehicle of God’s saving help. Not even Heber’s U–Haul was outside Yahweh’s plan; and a God like that surely ought to be adored. (Ralph Davis Judges: Such a Great Salvation - Focus on the Bible) (Bolding added)

 

Judges 4:12 Then they told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor.

They told - Who is "they" that gives Sisera the concerning Israel’s troop movement? In the context of the prior verse, it appears that the report came from Heber, since his tent was near enough to Kedesh to know the movement of Barak’s army.

Mount Tabor (Jdg 4:6; Joshua 19:12,34; Psalms 89:12; Jeremiah 46:18)

 

Judges 4:13 And Sisera called together all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon.

AND SISERA CALLED TOGETHER ALL HIS CHARIOTS 900 IRON CHARIOTS AND ALL THE PEOPLE WHO WERE WITH HIM:

Remember the context. In we learn God say "I will give him into your hand" but here we see Sisera's actions in response to the report of Israel's troop movements. Sisera was totally unaware of the fact that the sovereign God of the universe was behind the scenes bringing Sisera's forces to the River Kishon! What a mighty God we serve beloved! Never lose sight (with eyes of faith) of His great and marvelous deeds of old. He is the same God for you today, and desires to glorify Himself in and through your life.

Picture the scene. Put yourself in Barak's sandals. In the distance he hears a rumble and sees dust. Then he begins to recognize the rattling of iron chariots and the neighing of more than a thousand horses. These must have been fearsome sights and sounds to Barak and the 10,000 on the side of Mt Tabor. But at the same time their very real fear was quenched by faith in the very sure prophetic promises of God, in this case the promise of complete victory over the enemy. (see  first of a 4 part series on How To Handle Fear Part 1)

FROM HAROSHETH-HAGOYIM TO THE RIVER KISHON:

See topics Harosheth Haggoyim Harosheth of the Gentiles Harosheth, Of The Gentiles, Of The Nations

Sisera informed of the massing of Israelite troops on Mt. Tabor moves his massive army to a temporary base at the Kishon River some 20 miles to the west across the Plain of Esdraelon (the Hebrew name is the Valley of Jezreel - see Esdraelon Esdraelon, Plain).

This wide opening among the mountains played a great part in the history of the land. This was due to the important avenues of communication between North and South that lay across its ample breadths. The narrow pass between the promontory of Carmel and the sea was not suitable for the transport of great armies: the safer roads over the plain were usually followed. So it happened that here opposing hosts often met in deadly strife. Hardly an equal area of earth can so often have been drenched with the blood of men. No doubt many conflicts were waged here in far-off times of which no record remains. The first battle fought in the plain known to history was that in which Sisera's host was overthrown (Jdg 5:20). The children of the East were surprised and routed by Gideon's 300 chosen men in the stretches North of Zer`in (Jdg 7). Near the same place the great battle with the Philistines was fought in which Saul and his sons, worsted in the plain, retired to perish on the heights of Gilboa (1 Sam 31). In the bed of the Kishon at the foot of Carmel Elijah slaughtered the servants of Baal (1Ki 18:40-note). Dark memories of the destruction of Ahab's house by the furiously driving Jehu linger round Jezreel. Ahaziah, fleeing from the avenger across the plain, was overtaken and cut down at Megiddo (2 Ki 9). In the vale by Megiddo Josiah sought to stay the northward march of Pharaoh-necoh, and himself fell wounded to death (2Ki 23:30; 2Ch 35:20 ff). The army of Holofernes is represented as spreading out over all the southern reaches of the plain (Judith 7:18,19). Much of the fighting during the wars of the Jews transpired within the circle of these hills. It is not unnatural that the inspired seer should place the scene of war in "the great day of God" in the region so often colored crimson in the history of his people--the place called in the Hebrew tongue "Har-Magedon" (Re 16:14, 15, 16-See notes Revelation 16:14; 15; 16).

What a contrast - Sisera armed to the teeth.  Deborah, Barak and 10,000 with no ostensible defense against the arrows and spears that would surely come at them. Hand-to-hand combat must have been their only thought.

But then they had the mighty sword of the Spirit which is the spoken promise of God in this case that He would deliver and defeat the enemy. Beloved, at this very moment, you may be facing impossible odds and implacable enemies, but play "Standing on the Promises" and allow R. Kelso Carter's great words and glorious melody in this old hymn encourage your heart and soul in Christ Jesus the Captain of the Hosts (keeping in mind the truth of Romans 15:4 [note])

Standing on the Promises

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.

Refrain
Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.


Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
Refrain

Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.
Refrain

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.
Refrain

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.

Refrain

Let us stand on the precious and magnificent promises (see note 2 Peter 1:4) our Trustworthy Lord has given us, no matter what the "odds makers" may say about our chances of victory. They simply do not know our faithful God or the certitude of His unfailing Word.

Remember though that it is one thing for us to know these mighty deeds of our God such as described in Judges 4-5 but it is quite another thing to stand firm on the promises when all we see at the moment is the enemy amassing his humanly overpowering forces. Oh, let us as children of the living God, "Behold our God" with eyes of faith. He is mighty indeed and He will undertake for His beloved!

 

Judges 4:14 And Deborah said to Barak, "Arise! For this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hands; behold, the LORD has gone out before you." So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.

AND DEBORAH SAID TO BARAK, "ARISE!" (Compare Judges 5:12 [note]) (Jdg 19:28; Genesis 19:14; 44:4; Joshua 7:13; 1Samuel 9:26 )

Arise (Quwm in the Qal Imperative = a command)

Instead of Arise the KJV minces no words translating it "Up!"

The Spanish version Reina Valera renders it "Levantate".

Rise up from prostrate position (Joshua 3:16). In many instances it refers to preparatory activity especially pursuant to traveling (Dt 17:8).

FOR THIS IS THE DAY (see note
Judges 5:1 ) IN WHICH THE LORD HAS GIVEN SISERA INTO YOUR HANDS BEHOLD, THE LORD HAS GONE OUT BEFORE YOU (Dt 9:3 2Sa 5:24 Ps 68:7,8 Isa 52:12, Jos 1:5,9; Micah 2:13)

Deborah reiterates God's promise of (see note Judges 4:7), but adds that there is One Who has already gone before Barak and his forces -- that One is none other than Jehovah Himself. This is a vital truth which the young lad David well knew declaring to the giant Goliath (again the secular odds makers would be heavily against David for they do not know David's God)

This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD'S and He will give you into our hands. (1 Samuel 17:46-47)

The Amplified version phrases it as a rhetorical question from Deborah...

"Is not the Lord gone out before you?"

Fruchtenbaum sums up these thoughts this way...

The rhetorical prophetic declaration was intended to give Barak the encouragement: is not Jehovah gone out before you? The answer obviously was “Yes.” (Fruchtenbaum, A. G. Judges and Ruth: Ariel's Bible Commentary)

The English translation of the Septuagint renders it...

for this is the day on which the Lord has delivered Sisera into thy hand, for the Lord shall go forth before thee: and Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.

SO BARAK WENT DOWN FROM MT TABOR WITH 10,000 MEN FOLLOWING HIM:

Note that this time Barak had no hesitation. Secondly, note who takes the lead - is it Deborah? No, Barak takes the lead. Jehovah of course has already gone before him. He faithfully follows in the steps of the Captain of the Hosts (cp Joshua 5:14-15).

 

Judges 4:15 And the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army, with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot.

AND THE LORD ROUTED (moved noisily, confused) SISERA AND ALL HIS CHARIOTS AND ALL HIS ARMY WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD BEFORE BARAK AND SISERA ALIGHTED FROM HIS CHARIOT AND FLED AWAY ON FOOT:  (Jdg 5:20,21; Joshua 10:10; 2Kings 7:6; 2Chronicles 13:15, 16, 17; Psalms 83:9,10; Hebrews 11:32)

The LORD routed Sisera - This is the great truth of Judges 4

Notice the wonderful truth expressed by the end of the last verse (Judges 4:14) and the beginning of this verse.

Barak...with 10,000 men went down
<>
Jehovah routed Sisera and all...chariots...army

The first part pictures man's responsibility, while the second part pictures God's sovereignty.

Routed (hamam) (13x in OT - Exod. 14:24; 23:27; Deut. 2:15; Jos. 10:10; Jdg. 4:15; 1 Sam. 7:10; 2 Sam. 22:15; 2 Chr. 15:6; Esther 9:24; Ps. 18:14; 144:6; Isa. 28:28; Jer. 51:34) means to make a noise, to move noisily, to confuse, to put into commotion. When it means to move noisily, it often refers to the wheels of wagons or chariots. The idea of moving noisily or with commotion carries over into the idea of confusion.

God confused the the Egyptian army at the Red Sea as they pursue Israel

And it came about at the morning watch, that the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion. (same verb hamam) (Ex. 14:24)

Compare this use of hamam

And He sent out arrows, and scattered them, Lightning, and routed (hamam) them. (2 Samuel 22:15)

The Lord routed the enemy in fulfillment of His ancient promise...

I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion (same verb hamam) all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. (Ex 23:27)

"But the LORD your God shall deliver them before you, and will throw them into great confusion (same verb hamam)  until they are destroyed. (Deut 7:23)

A similar event transpired when Napoleon defeated the Turks in the same place in AD1799.

Sisera was routed, and he fled on foot because the swollen waters of the Kishon (v13) made his chariots ineffectual in the rain and mud of the plain of Esdraelon (cf. Jdg 5:19, 20, 21, 22- notes Jdg 5:19; 20; 21 ; 22). The account of Jael's bravery is supplemented, and her deed is praised in song in Judges 5:24, 25, 26, 27 (see notes Judges 5:24; 5:25 ; 5:26 ; 5:27).

What else God did and the other means He used are revealed in Judges 5 - The torrent of Kishon swept them away (Jdg 5:21, 22-see especially notes Judges 5:21; 5:22). When you remember that the Canaanite god Baal was the god of storms, you can see how a sudden change of weather (assuming God did send torrential rains to swell the brook Kishon into a torrent) could have affected the superstitious Canaanites. Had their own god Baal turned against them? Was the God of Israel stronger than Baal? If so, then the battle was already lost, and the wisest thing the soldiers could do was flee.

 

Judges 4:16 But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not even one was left.

BUT BARAK PURSUED THE CHARIOTS AND THE ARMY AS FAR AS HAROSHETH-HAGOYIM (Harosheth of the Gentiles --  Harosheth Haggoyim Harosheth of the Gentiles Harosheth, Of The Gentiles, Of The Nations): (Leviticus 26:7,8; Joshua 10:19,20; 11:8; Psalms 104:35; Romans 2:12; James 2:13)

This would be back toward the east probably in the region of the foot of Mt Carmel where Sisera had originally set up "base camp." Sisera fled in the opposite direction.

AND ALL THE ARMY OF SISERA FELL BY THE EDGE OF THE SWORD NOT EVEN ONE WAS LEFT (fulfills God promise in
Judges 4:7): (Isaiah 43:17 )

How many of Barak's troops are reported as killed in battle? 

 

Judges 4:17 Now Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.

NOW SISERA FLED AWAY ON FOOT TO THE TENT OF JAEL ("mountain goat") THE WIFE OF HEBER THE KENITE (v11) (LXX adds "his friend"): (Job 12:19, 20, 21; 18:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; 40:11,12; Psalms 37:35,36; 107:40; Proverbs 29:23; Amos 5:19,20 )

This verse picks up from verse 15.

Sisera's chariots had been his pride and his confidence. Thus are those disappointed who rest on the works of men; like a broken reed, it not only breaks under them, but pierces them with many sorrows.

The idol may quickly become a burden, [Isa46:1]; what we were sick for, God can make us sick of.

It is probable that Jael really intended kindness to Sisera but by a Divine impulse (God had spoken this prophecy to Deborah in Jdg 4:9) she was afterwards led to consider him as the determined enemy of the Lord and of his people, and to destroy him. All our alliances and contacts with God's enemies must be broken off, if we would have the Lord as our Deliverer. Sisera had thought he would destroy Israel with his many iron chariots, but is himself destroyed with one tent peg. Thus God uses the weak things of the world to confound the mighty (1Cor 1:27). The Israelites would have prevented much mischief, if they had destroyed the Canaanites (Jdg 1:30, 31, 32, 33 - see notes Judges 1:30; 31; 32; 33), as God commanded and enabled them: but better be wise late, and buy wisdom by experience, than never be wise.

FOR THERE WAS PEACE BETWEEN JABIN THE KING OF HAZOR: (Psalms 69:22; Isaiah 57:21)

Peace between -Hebrew expression which refers to a formal agreement or treaty between two parties. Sisera fled to Heber's (remember Heber was a Kenite who had separated and changed sides so to speak) clan because he assumed the latter was his ally.

Of the many standing stones found in and around Palestine the best examples are those at Hazor. An upright stone, with the top broken off, was found standing by the entrance to an important building in the Canaanite citadel, an offering before it. In the lower city lay a small shrine containing a row of several slabs about 45 cm high and many more stacked in a side room.

AND THE HOUSE OF HEBER THE KENITE:

Weariness got the best of Sisera and providentially he was near the tents of Heber at the oak of Zaanannim (v11). This famous oak was on the border of Naphtali (Joshua 19:33) (see map), about 6 mi E of Mt Tabor.

Fruchtenbaum makes an interesting point of why Sisera would go to the Kenites noting that...

The Kenites were nomadic, and the nomadic tradition was that whenever a stranger was admitted into the tent as a guest, his claim to be defended or concealed from his pursuers was established. (Fruchtenbaum, A. G. Judges and Ruth: Ariel's Bible Commentary)

And as just stated in this verse, Sisera knew there was peace between the King of Hazor and the Kenites.

 

Judges 4:18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, "Turn aside, my master, turn aside to me! Do not be afraid." And he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug.

AND JAEL WENT OUT TO MEET SISERA, AND SAID TO HIM: (2 Kings 6:19 )

Notice that Jael takes the initiative to meet Sisera. Throughout Scripture, the responsibility of caring for the traveler and those in need is largely taken for granted. Comparison with modern bedouin tribes, among whom hospitality is very highly regarded, suggests that the prominence of hospitality in the OT is partly due to Israel's nomadic origins.

TURN ASIDE, MY MASTER, TURN ASIDE TO ME! DO NOT BE AFRAID:

Usually a man in the cultures of the East will not enter a woman’s tent, but Jael persuaded Jabin, made him comfortable, and then killed him.

AND HE TURNED ASIDE TO HER INTO THE TENT, AND SHE COVERED HIM WITH A RUG.

 

Judges 4:19 And he said to her, "Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty." So she opened a bottle of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him.

AND HE SAID TO HER, "PLEASE GIVE ME A LITTLE WATER TO DRINK, FOR I AM THIRSTY (Jdg 5:25,26; Genesis 24:43; 1Kings 17:10; Isaiah 41:17; John 4:7)

SO SHE OPENED A BOTTLE OF MILK AND GAVE HIM A DRINK
:

Milk was part of the staple diet of the Hebrews from patriarchal times, and where there was abundance of milk Isa 7:22 it was possible to enjoy the added delicacy of cream or curdled milk ("butter'). Hence the attraction of the land of Canaan as a land flowing with milk and honey Ex 3:8, for the rich supply of milk was an indication of the pasturage available.

THEN SHE COVERED HIM.

 

Judges 4:20 And he said to her, "Stand in the doorway of the tent, and it shall be if anyone comes and inquires of you, and says, 'Is there anyone here?' that you shall say, 'No.'"

AND HE SAID TO HER, "STAND IN THE DOORWAY OF THE TENT, AND IT SHALL BE IF ANYONE COMES AND INQUIRES OF YOU

AND SAYS, 'IS THERE ANYONE HERE?' THAT YOU SHALL SAY, 'NO
: (Joshua 2:3, 4, 5; 2Samuel 17:20)

Wiersbe makes a very interesting observation that I basically agree with :

"Sisera made the mistake of telling Jael to lie if anyone asked whether he was there. Being a wise woman, she concluded that Sisera was fleeing the battlefield, which meant that the Jews had won the battle and the Canaanite grip on the land was broken. If she protected Sisera, she’d be in trouble with the Jews, her own relatives. No doubt somebody was chasing Sisera, and whoever it was wouldn’t be satisfied until the captain was dead." Jael may have reasoned this way but ultimately what she did was in the sovereign direction of God or otherwise Deborah was a false prophetess (Jdg 4:9) For a captain to flee from a battle was embarrassing; for him to be killed while fleeing was humiliating; but to be killed by a woman was the most disgraceful thing of all (see note Judges 9:54). (Wiersbe, W. W. Be Available. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books)

Wiersbe goes on to discuss Jael:

"Should we bless or blame Jael for what she did? She invited Sisera into her tent, treated him kindly, and told him not to be afraid; so she was deceitful. The Kenites were at peace with Jabin, so she violated a treaty. She gave Sisera the impression that she would guard the door, so she broke a promise. She killed a defenseless man who was under her protection, so she was a murderess. Yet Deborah sang, “Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent” (see note Judges 5:24). To begin with, let’s not read back into the era of the Judges the spiritual standards taught by Jesus and the apostles. Also, let’s keep in mind that the Jews had been under terrible bondage because of Jabin and Sisera; and it was God’s will that the nation be delivered. Both Jabin and Sisera had been guilty of mistreating the Jews for years; and if the Canaanite army had won the battle, hundreds of Jewish girls would have been captured and raped (see note Judges 5:30 ). Jael not only helped deliver the nation of Israel from bondage, but also she helped to protect the women from the most vicious brutality. She wasn’t a Semitic “Lady Macbeth” who murdered her guest for her own personal gain. There was a war on, and this courageous woman finally stopped being neutral and took her stand with the people of God." (Wiersbe, W. W. Be Available. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books)

 

Judges 4:21 But Jael, Heber's wife, took a tent peg and seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died.

BUT JAEL, HEBER'S WIFE, TOOK A TENT PEG AND SEIZED A HAMMER IN HER HAND: (Jdg 3:21,31; 5:26; 15:15; 1Samuel 17:43,49,50; 1Corinthians 1:19,27 ) (Psalms 3:7)

The mallet and tent peg were easily accessible, since pitching a tent was the woman's job.

AND WENT SECRETLY TO HIM AND DROVE THE PEG (first she smashed his head then pierced it thru) INTO HIS TEMPLE AND IT WENT THROUGH INTO THE GROUND:

Drove is the same verb used to describe Ehud's sword thrust (cf. "plunged" in Jdg 3:21 [note]). This is one of several parallels between Jael and Ehud:

(1) Both masqueraded as loyal subjects and lured their victims into a defenseless position.

(2) Both killed the leader of the enemy behind closed doors.

(3) The fallen corpses of their victims are described in almost identical terms.

The narrator depicts Jael as a female version of Ehud, highlighting the fact that she, not Barak, is the real hero of the story. Her deed is praised in Deborah’s song (Jdg 5:24, 25, 26, 27-see notes Jdg 5:24; 25; 26; 27), although some people find it difficult to understand this deed.

FOR HE WAS SOUND ASLEEP AND EXHAUSTED. SO HE DIED:

Sisera died ignominiously at the hand of a woman. (cf similar fate recorded in Jdg 9:54-note). We may wince at the graphic details of this assassination but must remember that God was at work in these events (Jdg 4:9, 23-see notes Judges 4:9, 23). Furthermore, Jael is not condemned for her deed but is proclaimed "most blessed of women" for destroying Israel's (God's) enemy (Jdg 5:24-see note Judges 5:24). Jael was simply doing what many of the sons of Israel failed to do in Judges 1 in obedience to God's clear command -- utterly destroy the Canaanites (cp Dt 7:2, 20:16). 

 

Judges 4:22 And behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, "Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking." And he entered with her, and behold Sisera was lying dead with the tent peg in his temple.

Sermon by C H Spurgeon
Sin Slain
Judges 4:22

IN the story of the world’s sufferings under different tyrants could all be written, there would be no man found who would be capable of reading it. I believe that even the despots themselves, who have committed the atrocities to which I refer, would not be sufficiently cold–blooded to sit down and read the account of the agonies which their own victims have endured. I have been struck in passing through many lands with the horrible sufferings which in the olden times were endured by the poor at the hands of the rich kings and lords who were their oppressors. In almost every town in which you enter, you either have shown to you the rack, the dark dungeon, the thumb–screw, or the infernal machine, or instruments too horrible to describe—that make one’s blood run chill at the very thought and sight of them. Verily, O earth, thou hast been scarred; thy back has been ploughed with many a furrow; from thy veins have gushed forth plenteous streams of blood, and thy sons and thy daughters have had to suffer agonies extreme! But oh! my brethren, I speak in sober earnestness when I declare that all the sufferings that have ever been exercised upon man have never been equal to the tyranny which man has brought upon himself—the tyranny of sin. Sin has brought more plagues upon this earth than all the earth’s tyrants. It has brought more pangs and more miseries upon men’s bodies and souls than the craftiest inventions of the most cold–blooded and diabolical tormentors. Sin is the world’s great Despot. It is the serpent in whose subtle folds earth’s inhabitants are crushed. It is such a tyranny that none but those whom God delivers have been able to escape from it. Nay, such a tyranny that even they have been scarcely saved; and they, when saved, have had to look back and remember the dreadful slavery in which they once existed, they have remembered the wormwood and the gall; and at the remembrance the iron has entered into their souls. We have before us, in this chapter, a picture of the children of Israel attacked by a very wicked and powerful king—Jaban, the king of Canaan. It is but a faint emblem, a very indistinct picture of the oppression which sin exercises upon all mankind—the oppression which our own iniquities continually bring upon us.

I want to picture to you to–night, if I can, three acts in a great history—three different pictures illustrating one subject. I trust we have passed through all three of them, many of us; and as we shall look upon them, while I paint them upon the wall, I think there will be many here who will be able to say, “I was in that state once;” and when we come to the last, I hope we shall be able to clap our hands, and rejoice to feel that the last is our case also, and that we are in the plight of the man with a description of whom I shall conclude.

First, I shall picture to you the sinner growing uneasy in his bondage and thinking about rebellion against his oppressors; secondly, the sinner putting to rout his sins and seeking their entire destruction; and, thirdly, I shall seek to bring to you that notable picture of the open door, and I shall stand at it and cry to those who are seeking the life of their sins

”Come hither, and I will show you the man whom you seek; here he lies—dead; slain by the hammer and the nail; held not in the hand of a woman, but in the hand of the seed of the woman—the man Christ Jesus.”

I. First, then, let us try to picture the sinner growing uneasy under the yoke of his sins, and planning a revolt against his oppressors.

It is said that when a man is born a slave, slavery is not near so irksome as when he has once been free. You will have found it, perhaps, in birds and such animals that we keep under our control. If they have never known what it is to fly to and fro in the air from tree to tree, they are happy in the cage; but if, after having once seen the world, and floated in the clear air, they are condemned to live in slavery, they are far less content. This is the case with man—he is born a slave. The child in the cradle is born under sin, and as we grow up we wear our manacles and scarcely know that they are about us. Use, we say, is second nature, and certainly the evil nature we have received makes the usages of sin seem as if they were not so slavish as they are. Nay, some men have become so used to their bonds, that they live with no true idea of liberty, and yet think themselves free. Nay, they take the names of freedom, and call themselves libertines, and free–thinkers, and free–doers, when they are the very worst of slaves, and might hear their chains rattle if they had but ears to hear. Until the Spirit of God comes into the heart —so strange is the use of nature—we live contented in our chains; we walk up and down our dungeon, and think we are at large. We are driven about by our taskmasters, and imagine that we are free. Once let the Spirit of God come into us—once let a word of life and liberty sound in our ears—once let Jehovah Jesus speak, and we begin to be dissatisfied with our condition. Now the chain frets us; now the fetter feels too small; now we long for a wider march than we had before, and are not content to be fettered for ever to a sinful lust. We begin to have a longing for something better, though we know not what it is. Now it is that the man begins to find fault with what he at one time thought was so passing excellent. He finds that now the cup which seemed to be all honey has traces of bitter in it; the cane once so sweet and palatable has lost its lusciousness, and he says within himself “I wish I had some nobler food than these swine’s husks; this is not fit food for me.” He does not know that God has begun to kindle in him new life and a diviner nature; but he knows this, that he cannot be content to be what he was before. He frets and chafes like the lion in bonds that longs to range in the forest and wilderness. He cannot endure it. And now, I say, it is that the man begins to act. His first action is the action of the children of Israel; he begins to cry unto the Lord. Perhaps it is not a prayer, as we use the term in ordinary conversation. He cannot put many words together. It is a sigh—a sigh for he knows not what. It is a groan after something—an indescribable something that he has not seen or felt, but of the existence of which he has some idea. “Oh God, ‘’ saith he, “deliver me! Oh God, I feel I am not what I should be, I am not what I wish to be. I am discontented with myself.” And if the prayer does not take the actual shape of “God be merciful to me a sinner, ” yet it means all that, for he seems to say “Lord, I know not what it is—I know not whether it be mercy or grace, or what the name of it may be; but I want something. I am a slave. I feel it all. Oh that I could be free! Oh that I could be delivered!” The man begins now, you see, to look for something higher than he has seen before. After this prayer comes action. “Now, ” says the man, “I must begin to be up and doing.” And if the Spirit of God is truly dealing with him, he is not content with prayer; he begins to feel that though it is little enough that he can do, yet he can do at least something. Drunkenness he forsakes; at one blow he lays that enemy in the dust. Then there is his cursing and his swearing—he tries to overcome that enemy, but the oath comes out when he leasts expects it. Perhaps it gives him weeks of struggling, but at last that too is overcome. Then come the practices of his trade—these, he feels, hurt his conscience. Here is another chain to be filed off—another rivet to be torn off. He toils, he strives, still crying evermore to God, and at last he is free, and that enemy is overthrown. He is like Barak; the Lord is helping him, and his enemies flee before him. Oh my brethren, I speak from experience now. What a struggle that was which my young heart waged against sin! When God the Holy Ghost first quickened me, I scarcely knew of that strong armour whereon my soul could venture. Little did I know of the precious blood which has put my sins away, and drowned them in the seas for ever. But I did know this, that I could not be what I was; that I could not rest happy unless I became something better—something purer than I felt; and oh, how my spirit cried to God with groanings—I say it without any exaggeration—groanings that could not be uttered! and oh! how I sought in my poor dark way to overcome first this sin and then another, and so to do battle in God’s strength against the enemies that assailed me, and not, thank God, altogether without success, though still the battle had been lost unless he had come who is the Overcomer of sin and the Deliverer of his people, and had put the hosts to flight. Have I not some here to–night who are just in this position? They have not come to Mount Zion yet, but are fighting with the Amalakites in the wilderness. They have not come to the blood of sprinkling, but somehow or other—they don’t know exactly what condition theirs is, —they are fighting up hill against a dread something which they would overcome. They cannot renounce the struggle, they sometimes fear they will be vanquished in the end. Oh, my brother or sister, I am glad to find the Lord has done so much for thee. This is one of the first marks of divine life when we begin to fight against sin.

Then courage, brethren! There shall be another picture painted soon, and that shall be thy picture too, when thou shalt be more than a conqueror, through him that hath loved thee. But I dare say this is not the picture of all here. There are some of you who say you are not slaves, and, therefore, you do not wish to be freed. But I tell you, sirs, if any earthly potentate could command you to do what the devil makes you do, you would think yourselves the most oppressed beings in the world. If there should be a law passed in Parliament, and there should be power to put it into execution that you should go and sit several hours of the night until midnight, and drink some vile poisonous stuff that would steal away your brains, so that you have to be wheeled home, you would say, “What vile tyranny! to force men to destroy their souls and bodies in that way;” and yet you do it wilfully of yourselves. And of the one blessed day of rest—the only one in seven that we have to rest in—if there were an enactment passed that you should open your shops on that day, and pursue your trade, you would say, “This is a wretched land, to have such tyrants to govern it;” you would declare you would not do it, and yet the devil makes you, and you go and take down your shutters as greedily as if you would win heaven by your Sunday trading. What slaves do men make of themselves when they most think themselves free! I have seen a man work harder and spend more money in seeking pleasure in that which makes him sick and ill—which makes his eyes red and his whole body feverish—than he would have done if a thousand acts of parliament had tried to drive him to do so. The devil is indeed a cruel tyrant with his subjects, but he is such a tyrant that they willingly follow him. He rivets on them his chains, and whilst they think they are going of their own free will, he sits grinning all the while and thinking how when their laughter will change to bitterest tears, they shall be undeceived in the dread day in which hell’s fire shall burn up their delusion, and the flames of the pit shall scatter the darkness that has concealed the truth from their eyes. Thus much, then, concerning the first picture—the sinner discontented and going to war with his sins.

II. And now we have the second picture—The sinner having gone to war with his own sins, has, to a great extant, by god’s grace, overcome them; but he feels when this is done, that it is not enough—that external morality will not save the soul.

Like Barak, he has conquered Sisera; but, not content with seeing him flee away on his feet, he wants to have his dead body before him. “No, ” says he, “it is not enough to vanquish, I must destroy; it is not sufficient to get rid of evil habits, I must overcome the propensity to sin. It is not sufficient to put to flight this sin or the other, I must trample the roots of corruption beneath my feet, that sin itself may be slain.” Mark, my dear hearers, that is not a work of the Spirit which is not a radical work. If you are content merely to conquer your sins and not to kill them, you may depend upon it, it is the mere work of morality—a surface work—and not the work of the Holy Spirit.

Sirs, be not content with driving out thy foes, or they will come back again to thee; be not satisfied with wearing the sheep’s skin; be not content till thy wolfish nature is taken from thee, and the nature of the sheep imparted. It is not enough to make clean the outside of the cup and the platter, it must be broken and a new vessel must be given; be not satisfied with whitewashing the tomb. The charnel house must be empty, and where death reigned, life must reign. There is no mistake perhaps more common in these dangerous times than to mistake externals for internals, the outward sign for the inward grace, the painted imitation of mortality for the solid jewels of spirituality. Up, Barak! up, thou son of Abinoam! thou hast routed the Sisera of thy drunkenness; thou hast put the hosts of thy sins to flight: but this is not enough. Sisera will return upon thee with twice nine hundred chariots, and thou shalt yet be overcome. Rest not content till the blood of thine enemy stain the ground, until he be crushed, and dead, and slain. Oh, sinner, I beseech thee never be content until grace reign in thy heart, and sin be altogether subdued. Indeed, this is what every renewed soul longs for, and must long for, nor will it rest satisfied until all this shall be accomplished. There was a time when some of us thought we would slay our sins. We wanted to put them to death, and we thought we would drown them in floods of penitence. There was a time, too, when we thought we would starve our sins; we thought we would keep out of temptation, and not go and pander to our lusts, and then they would die; and some of us can recollect when we gagged our lusts, when we pinioned their arms, and put their feet in the stocks, and then thought that would deliver us. But oh, brethren all our ways of putting sin to death were not sufficient; we found the monster still alive, insatiate for his prey. We might rout his myrmidons, but the monster was still our conqueror. We might put to flight our habits, but the nature of sin was still in us, and we could not overcome it. Yet did we groan and cry daily, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” It is a cry to which we are accustomed even at this day, and which we shall never cease to utter, till we can say of our sins, “They are gone, ” and of the very nature of sin, that it has been extinguished, and that we are pure and holy even as when the first Adam came from his Maker’s hands.

Well, I have some here, I have no doubt, who are like Barak pursuing after Sisera, but who are fainthearted. You are saying, “My sin can never be forgiven, it is too great, it must escape from me, and, even if it were put to flight it never could be overcome; I am so great a sinner, a sinner of such a double dye, a scarlet sinner I must always be. I was born in sin, and I have grown up in it; and as the twig is bent the tree is inclined. Who can make straight such a gnarled oak as I am? Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? if so, I, who am accustomed to do evil, may learn to do well.” You begin to think that rivers might sooner run up–hill than you could run to God and righteousness. You are tired of the battle, and ready to lay down your arms and die. But you cannot, you must not go back to be the drunkard and the swearer that you were before, and die in despair of ever overcoming the sin within; nor must you think, “Oh, I have entered upon a fight that is too much for me, I shall yet fall by the hands of mine enemy.”

III. Come hither, I bring you to the third picture.

I stand at the door today, not of a tent, but of a tomb, and as I stand here I say to the sinner who is anxious to know how his sins may be killed, how his corruption may be slain, “Come, and I will show thee the man whom thou seekest, and when you shall come in, you shall see your sins lain dead, and the nails in their temples.”

Sinner, the sin thou dreadest is forgiven, thou hast wept, sore before God, and thou hast cast thyself on Christ and on Christ alone. In the name of Him who is the Eternal God, I assure thee that thy sins are all forgiven. From the book of God’s remembrance they are blotted out. They are as clean gone as the clouds that floated through the sky last year, and distilled their showers on the ground. Thy sins are gone; every one of them; the sin over which thou hast wept, the sin which caused thee many a tear is gone, and is forgiven.

Further—dost thou ask where thy sin is? I tell thee thy sin is gone, so that it never can be recalled. Thou art so forgiven that thy sins can never have a resurrection. The nail is not driven through the hands of thy sins, but through their temples. If thou shouldest live twice ten thousand years no sin could ever be laid to thy charge again if thou believest in Christ Jesus. Thou hast no conscience of sin left. “As far as the east is from the west, ” so far hath he removed thy transgressions from thee. God hath spoken and said, —”Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee, ” and it is done; none can reverse the sentence. He has cast thy sins into the depth of the sea, and they can never be found again. Nay, further, sinner, for thy peace and comfort, thy sins are not only forgiven and killed so that they cannot rise again, but thy sins have ceased to be. Their dead bodies, like the body of Moses, are brought where they never can be found. More than this, they do not exist. Again, O child of God, there doth not remain so much as a shadow of sin: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?”— much less prove it against them. What dog can wag his tongue to accuse?—much less, what witness shall rise up to condemn? God hath justified thee, O sinner! if thou believest; and if thou art so justified, thou art as much accepted in God’s sight as if thou hadst never sinned. Had thy life been blameless and thy path been holy even to perfection, thou hadst not been more pure in the eyes of Divine justice than thou art to–night if thy faith is fixed on the cross of Christ. Right through the brain of all thy sins, the hammer has driven the nail of Christ’s grace. The spear that pierced the Saviour’s heart, pierced the heart of thine iniquity; the grave in which he was buried was the tomb of all thy sins; and his resurrection was the resurrection of thy spirit to light and joy unspeakable. “Come, and I will show thee the man whom thou seekest.” This is a refreshing sight, even to the child of God, who has seen it long ago, and it will ever be solemn for us to contemplate the sin. It must ever be a direful spectacle, for an enemy, even when dead, is a ghastly sight. The head of Goliath, even though it makes us smile when it is cut off, is yet the head of a grim monster, and he is a monster even when he is slain. God forbid we should ever glory in sin, but it is a theme for joy to a Christian when he can look upon his sins drowned in the blood of Jesus,

“Plunged, as in a shoreless sea;
Lost, as in immensity.”

My soul looks back to the days of my youth, and remembers her former transgressions, —she drops a tear of sorrow; she looks to the cross, and sees them all forgiven, and she drops there tears of gratitude. My eye runs along the days of manhood, and observes, with sorrow, omissions and commissions innumerable; but it lights up with a smile most rapturous when I see the flood of Jesus’ blood swelling over the sands of my sins till they are all covered and no eye can behold them. Oh! child of God, come and see the man whom thou seekest, here he lies slain before thee. Come and see all thy sins for ever dead; fear them not; weep for them; avoid them in days to come, and remember they are slain. Look at thy sins as vanquished foes, and always regard them as being nailed to his cross—to his cross who

“Sang the triumph when he rose.”

But I hear you say, “Well, I have faith enough to believe that my sins are overcome in that way, and that they are conquered and dead in that respect; but O, sir, as to this body of sin within me—I cannot get it killed, I cannot get it overcome.” Now, when we begin the divine life, we believe that we shall get rid of our old Adam entirely. I know most of you had a notion when you first started in the pilgrimage, that as soon as ever you received grace, depravity would be cast out—did you find it so, brethren? I have heard some preachers laugh at the theory of the two natures. I never answered them, for I dare say they would not have comprehended me if I had tried the experiment, but one thing I know—that the theory of the two natures in a Christian is no theory to me, but a truth which daily proves itself. I cannot say with Ralph Erskine

“To good and evil equal bent,
And both a devil and a saint;”

but if that is not the truth it is very near to it; it is next door to it; and while on the one hand I am able to see sin perishing within, on the other hand I cannot fail to see the struggle which my soul has to wage against it, and the daily warfare and fightings that necessarily ensue. I know that grace is the stronger principle, and that it must overcome at last; but there are times when the old man seems for a little to get the upper hand—Ishmael prevails, and Isaac is cast to the ground; though this I know, that Isaac has the promise and Ishmael must be driven out. Well, child of God, if you have to look upon the Sisera of your sin still fleeing from you—be of good cheer; it is the experience of all the people of God. Moreover, there have been many who have said they did not feel this; but, my dear brethren they did feel it, only that they did not use the same language as we do who have felt it. I know one or two good brothers who say they believe in perfection, but I find all the perfection they believe in is the very perfection that I preach. It is perfection in Christ, but they do not believe in perfection in themselves. Nor do I believe that any Christian who reads his own heart for a single day, can indulge the idea of being totally free from the risings of depravity, and the risings of the heart after sin. If there be such, I can only say, “I wish I could change places with thee, brother, for it is my hard lot to have wars and fightings day by day, and it seems difficult to say sometimes which way the matter will end, or how the battle will be decided.” Indeed, one could not know it at all except by faith, for sight seems to lead to an opposite opinion. Well, be of good cheer, Christian. Though the old man is not slain in you, as you know personally yet I would have you remember that as you are in Christ, the old man is crucified “Knowing that your old man is crucified with him.” And know this, that the day shall come when the angels shall open wide the door and ye that have been panting after your enemy, like Barak pressing after Sisera shall hear the welcome Spirit say. “Come, and I will show thee the man whom thou seekest, ” and there shall lie thine old inbred lusts, and he who is the father of them, old Satan himself, all chained and bound and cast into the lake of fire. Then will you sing indeed unto the Lord, “Oh! sing unto the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; his right hand and his holy arm hath gotten him the victory.” Till then, brethren, pursue after your sins. Spare them not, neither great nor small, and God speed you that you may fight valiantly, and by his aid utterly overcome them.

As for thee, poor sinner, whom I lately reminded that thou canst not slay thy sins, nor work out thy salvation, thou canst not be thine own deliverer. Trust in thy Master. Put thy soul into the hands of him who is able and willing to preserve and keep it, and to protect it; and mark me, if to–night thou wilt have nothing to do with thyself, but wilt give thyself to Christ entirely, then to–night thou art saved. What if my Master should give me to–night some fishes at the first shaking of the net, and what if some poor sinner should say within himself—

“I’ll go to Jesus, though my sin,
Hath like a mountain rose;
I know his courts, I’ll enter in,
Whatever may oppose.”

Come, sinner, come! Nay, do you say you cannot come? “My sins, my sins!” Come, and I will show thee thy sins nailed to the cross of Christ. “But I must not come, ” says one; “I have so hard a heart.” Come, and I will show thee thy hard heart dissolved in a bath of blood divine. “Oh! but, ” still thou sayest, “I dare not come.” Come, and I will show thee those fears of thine lulled into an eternal sleep, and thy soul resting on Christ shall never need to fear again, for thou shalt be his in time, his in life and death, and his in an eternity of bliss.

May the Lord add his blessing now, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

 

Judges 4:23 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the sons of Israel.

SO GOD SUBDUED (2Sa 8:1; 1Chr 17:10; Ps 81:14) ON THAT DAY JABIN THE KING OF CANAAN BEFORE THE SONS OF ISRAEL: (1Chronicles 22:18; Nehemiah 9:24; Psalms 18:39,47; 47:3; 81:14; 1Corinthians 15:28; Hebrews 11:33)

Subdued (kanac) means to cause humility or to subject. Kanac is used 32x in the OT - Lev. 26:41; Deut. 9:3; Jdg. 3:30; 4:23; 8:28; 11:33; 1 Sam. 7:13; 2 Sam. 8:1; 1 Ki. 21:29; 2 Ki. 22:19; 1 Chr. 17:10; 18:1; 20:4; 2 Chr. 7:14; 12:6f, 12; 13:18; 28:19; 30:11; 32:26; 33:12, 19, 23; 34:27; 36:12; Neh. 9:24; Job 40:12; Ps. 81:14; 106:42; 107:12; Isa. 25:5

 

Judges 4:24 And the hand of the sons of Israel pressed heavier and heavier upon Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin the king of Canaan.

AND THE HAND OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL PRESSED HEAVIER AND HEAVIER UPON JABIN THE KING OF CANAAN: (KJV = "prospered and prevailed against Jabin.)

Again note the combination ...

Verse 23 - God's sovereignty - subdued Jabin
Verse 24 - Israel's responsibility - pressed heavy upon Jabin

They had won the battle of "Kishon" but there were still Canaanite enemies that must be destroyed...utterly destroyed. Moses records...

and when the LORD your God shall deliver them before you, and you shall defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. (Dt 7:2)

Let us not become complacent when God gives us a clear victory over His enemies which are also our enemies...but press on the battle until every last enemy is rooted out and destroyed. There can be no perfect peace until we obey God's command to utterly drive out and destroy whatever the Canaanites are in our life, such as "immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these". (Galatians 5:19-21)

Heavier (second heavier) (qasheh/qaseh) is an adjective meaning hard, harsh, cruel, severe, strong, violent, fierce. This term’s basic function is to describe something as hard.

Qasheh - 36x in OT - Gen. 42:7, 30; Exod. 1:14; 6:9; 18:26; 32:9; 33:3, 5; 34:9; Deut. 9:6, 13; 26:6; 31:27; Jdg. 2:19; 4:24; 1 Sam. 1:15; 20:10; 25:3; 2 Sam. 2:17; 3:39; 1 Ki. 12:4, 13; 14:6; 2 Chr. 10:4, 13; Job 30:25; Ps. 60:3; Cant. 8:6; Isa. 14:3; 19:4; 21:2; 27:1, 8; 48:4; Ezek. 2:4; 3:7

UNTIL THEY HAD DESTROYED (karath - cut off) JABIN THE KING OF CANAAN

Karath - (often used in "cutting" or establishing covenant) 283x in OT - Gen. 9:11; 15:18; 17:14; 21:27, 32; 26:28; 31:44; 41:36; Exod. 4:25; 8:9; 12:15, 19; 23:32; 24:8; 30:33, 38; 31:14; 34:10, 12f, 15, 27; Lev. 7:20f, 25, 27; 17:4, 9f, 14; 18:29; 19:8; 20:3, 5f, 17f; 22:3, 24; 23:29; 26:22, 30; Num. 4:18; 9:13; 11:33; 13:23f; 15:30f; 19:13, 20; Deut. 4:23; 5:2f; 7:2; 9:9; 12:29; 19:1, 5; 20:19f; 23:1; 29:1, 12, 14, 25; 31:16; Jos. 3:13, 16; 4:7; 7:9; 9:6f, 11, 15f, 23; 11:21; 23:4; 24:25; Jdg. 2:2; 4:24; 6:25f, 28, 30; 9:48f;

Ruth 4:10; 1 Sam. 2:33; 5:4; 11:1f; 17:51; 18:3; 20:15f; 22:8; 23:18; 24:4f, 11, 21; 28:9; 31:9; 2 Sam. 3:12f, 21, 29; 5:3; 7:9; 10:4; 20:22; 1 Ki. 2:4; 5:6, 12; 6:36; 7:2, 12; 8:9, 21, 25; 9:5, 7; 11:16; 14:10, 14; 15:13; 18:4f; 20:34; 21:21; 2 Ki. 9:8; 11:4, 17; 17:15, 35, 38; 18:4; 19:23; 23:3, 14;

1 Chr. 11:3; 16:16; 17:8; 19:4; 2 Chr. 2:8, 10, 16; 5:10; 6:11, 16; 7:18; 15:16; 21:7; 22:7; 23:3, 16; 29:10; 34:31; Ezr. 10:3; Neh. 9:8, 38; Job 14:7; 31:1; 41:4;

Ps. 12:3; 34:16; 37:9, 22, 28, 34, 38; 50:5; 83:5; 89:3; 101:8; 105:9; 109:13, 15; Prov. 2:22; 10:31; 23:18; 24:14;

Isa. 9:14; 10:7; 11:13; 14:8, 22; 18:5; 22:25; 28:15; 29:20; 37:24; 44:14; 48:9, 19; 55:3, 13; 56:5; 57:8; 61:8; Jer. 6:6; 7:28; 9:21; 10:3; 11:10, 19; 22:7; 31:31ff; 32:40; 33:17f; 34:8, 13, 15, 18; 35:19; 44:7f, 11; 46:23; 47:4; 48:2; 50:16; 51:62;

Ezek. 14:8, 13, 17, 19, 21; 16:4; 17:13, 17; 21:3f; 25:7, 13, 16; 29:8; 30:15; 31:12; 34:25; 35:7; 37:26; Referring to Messiah = Dan. 9:26-see notes;; Hos. 2:18; 8:4; 10:4; 12:1; Joel 1:5, 9, 16; Amos 1:5, 8; 2:3; Obad. 1:9f, 14; Mic. 5:9ff; Nah. 1:14f; 2:13; 3:15; Zeph. 1:3f, 11; 3:6f; Hag. 2:5; Zech. 9:6, 10; 11:10; 13:2, 8; 14:2; Mal. 2:12

Note the time phrase until (see importance of expressions of time in inductive Bible study) indicating that it was not an immediate defeat for Hazor and the Canaanites but this time they destroyed the enemy. It is notable that The Canaanites never oppressed Israel again militarily, as far as Scripture records. Their detestable false idolatrous religion, however, continued to ensnare God’s people and in one sense this warfare is an even more dangerous war for it is a spiritual struggle for our souls and purity of our hearts!

Remember Paul's words...

Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved....Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction (admonition = nouthesia), upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1Co 10:6, 11, cp 1Co 10:12, 13, 14)

Jesus' words of admonition call for continual vigilance...

"Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Mt 26:41)

Peter rightly warned us...

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers (cp Php 3:20, 21-note) to abstain (Lk 21:34 Acts 15:20, 29 Ro 8:13-note, Ro 13:13,14-note 2Co 7:1-note Gal 5:16-note, Ga 5:17, 18, 19, 20, 21 2Ti 2:22-note 1Jn 2:15, 16, 17) from fleshly (see flesh) lusts (epithumia), which wage war (strateuomai = continually [present tense] carry on a military campaign) against the soul. 1 Peter 2:11 (note)

This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.

D L Moody recognized this spiritual struggle especially that which comes from our old flesh nature. He once said...

"I have more trouble with D. L. Moody than with any man I know."

I like what John Piper said...

We must cultivate the mindset of exiles. What this does mainly is sober us up and wake us up so that we don't drift with the world and take for granted that the way the world thinks and acts is the best way. We don't assume that what is on TV is helpful to the soul; we don't assume that the priorities of advertisers is helpful to the soul; we don't assume that the strategies and values of business and industry are helpful to the soul. We don't assume that any of this glorifies God. We stop and we think and we consult the Wisdom of our own country, heaven, and we don't assume that the conventional wisdom of this age is God's wisdom. We get our bearings from God in his word. When you see yourself as an alien and an exile with your citizenship in heaven, and God as your only Sovereign, you stop drifting with the current of the day. You ponder what is good for the soul and what honors God in everything: food, cars, videos, bathing suits, birth control, driving speeds, bed times, financial savings, education for the children, unreached peoples, famine, refugee camps, sports, death, and everything else. Aliens get their cue from God and not the world." (The War Against the Soul and the Glory of God Desiring God Christian Resource Library)

F B Meyer...

JUDGES 4
JABIN AND SISERA

These chapters of the Judges are full of encouragement to such as are discouraged by repeated failures; those whose experience has been one long series of endeavors after a better life, interrupted and darkened by transgression and relapse. They have gone back to God so often with the same tale that they are almost ashamed to go any more. Let these take heart; His mercy endureth for ever. Their remorse, and yearning to be different, are a clear proof that He has not withdrawn His favor from them. Let them look again towards His holy temple (Jonah 2:4).

Judges 4:1-3 Jabin's oppression. -- In this chapter Israel had again rebelled against God; and this time Jabin, King of Hazor, was the oppressor permitted to bring them to repentance. His city had been razed once (Josh. 11:1-14); but, through the inactivity of Israel, had been built again, and his kingdom partially re-established. He must have been a very formidable foe, and his tyranny was very bitter (Judges 4:3). Mighty oppression like that of Jabin and Sisera, is a type of vehement hatred of our spiritual foes, but it is the foil on which God displays the might of His deliverance.

Judges 4:4-9 Deborah and Barak. -- Deborah, the heroine of her time, was the prime mover in their deliverance. She was a prophetess, living in communion with God, possessed of remarkable insight into His will, and able to communicate it in glowing words. She was full of patriotic ardor, which she infused into others.

Barak, the soldier. How lamentable that Barak should have pinned his faith to a woman, instead of to the eternal God! If only he had said these words (Judges 4:8) to God, he might have achieved a more wonderful deliverance, and his rule established on a more settled basis. We must beware lest we imitate his fault, and trust more in those who are around us than in the living God. There cannot be failure in our faith without our suffering in some way the results.

Judges 4:10-16 The defeat of Sisera's host. -- The tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali chiefly bore the brunt of this conflict, which set them free from the tyranny which had lain especially heavily upon the luxuriant plain of Esdraelon. How sweet it is to know when the Lord is going before us; though this does not make our best efforts superfluous (Judges 4:14). The Lord will ever defeat the foes of those who follow Him.

Judges 4:17-24 Jael was the heroine of the day. At first she doubtless intended to show true Eastern hospitality, and then was seized by the impulse of ridding the land of her adoption of the instrument of Jabin's authority. A tent-peg sufficed for the grim deed of vengeance. Those were wild days, matched by the Border wars of Scottish and British history; and through all a Divine purpose ran, which, though not condoning these deeds of violence, wrought through all for the people, beloved for their fathers' sakes. (F. B. Meyer. CHOICE NOTES ON JOSHUA THROUGH 2 KINGS)

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