Judges 04: The unexpected salvation

Judges 4:1-24

Judges 4:4-10 – Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?” Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak called out Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. And 10,000 men went up at his heels, and Deborah went up with him.

People have their own ways of telling stories. But I think we can divide it into two main ways. The first one is my mom’s way of telling stories. I don’t know about your mom, but my mom loves to tell stories. There are many times when she would come into my room uninvitedly and start telling me random stories without my consent. And she would start her stories by introducing the people in her stories. She would explain how this person is related to this person, how that person is related to that person, and how they are connected to her. And then the story would advance. But not far. Then, she might refer to a place, like a coffee place. This place must also be explained. She would explain how she happens to be there, why that place is important, and how good the coffee is in that place. Then the story would advance again. But not far. She would explain how she meets another person in that place, what is happening in that person’s life, and how that person is connected to her. And so, it would go. Almost every possible tangent is explored and explained to the point that I have no idea what it is she is trying to tell me. At this time, I feel like quoting what Jesus said to his mom, “Woman, what does this have to do with me?” But I might get kicked out of the house if I say that. Instead, I say, “Mom, focus. What’s the point of the story?” That is the first way of telling stories. It is like rambling with lots of branches in the stories. The second way is to omit all the nonessential information and simply give fact after fact after fact. It is very straightforward and linear. This is my way of telling stories. Just out of curiosity, how many of you are more like my mom? How many of you are more like me? The author of Judges is the second type. He gives fact after fact, and he doesn’t give unimportant details. Even though we may be curious.

Our story for today is one that leaves us wanting more information. There are many things in the story that make us go, “Eh? Why? How?” And the author does not answer it for us. And we have to be okay with that. The author does not tell us everything we want to know, but he tells us what he wants us to know. So today, we are in Judges chapter 4. And next week, we will look at Judges chapter 5. Judges chapters 4 and 5 are talking about the same events. One from the perspective of a historian, and the other from the perspective of a poet. One is a story, and the other is a song. Today, we will look at what happens in the story, and next week we will look at the richer, deeper perspective of the event that the song provides. If you grew up in church, you might know this story as the story of Deborah. But it is actually misleading. In every other case, there is only one single human deliverer that God used to save Israel. But not in this story. In this story, there are three people whom God used to save Israel. There is a woman who judges under a palm tree; a man who leads an army; a housewife with a peg and a hammer. And notice what is unusual about this story. Two out of the three deliverers are women. This is the earliest narrative with women as heroes. Not just one, but two women. It tells us something important about the God of the Bible. God is faithful to save His people. But the way He does it is often unexpected. He can use anyone at any time anywhere.

Let’s look at the context of the story first. Judges 4:1-3 – And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud died. And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim. Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, for he had 900 chariots of iron and he oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for twenty years. Notice the word “again” in verse 1. This is the same old problem again. This is the sin cycle that we look at in Judges 2. The problem is never solved. Israel was doing fine when Ehud was alive. But the moment Ehud died, they went back to their evil ways. And because of it, God sold them into the hand of Jabin, king of Canaan. From the outside, it looks like Israel is oppressed because they do not have the military might to rival Jabin and the commander of his army, Sisera. They have 900 chariots of iron and Israel has none. And chariots are like the tanks of their day. Imagine fighting a war where the enemy has 900 tanks while we only have foot soldiers. That’s suicide. An iron chariot could cut through foot soldiers like a hot knife through butter. So, it seems like the reason Israel is oppressed is due to their lack of military power. But that’s not true. The reason Israel is in this predicament is that they did what is evil in the sight of God and God sold them into the hand of Jabin and Sisera. God is the one pulling the string. But then the people of Israel cry out to God for help. And God is merciful. Despite His people’s unfaithfulness to Him, God is faithful to His people.

Here is what I want you to see. When Ehud was alive, Israel was okay. But take away the external constraint and Israel displays her true character. Can you see why religion does not work? Religion can make us good people. It can. Religion gives us outside pressures and influences that keep us in check. We can be good people because of our surroundings and because of the expectation of people around us. Religion can make us good people, but it cannot make us Christians. Because the moment those pressures are removed, we show our true colours. Let me give you an example. Back when I was in high school, I hated studying. All I wanted to do was play games and read Manga. And my favourite time was whenever my parents were not home. I could do whatever I want. But the moment I heard their car entering the garage, I immediately turned off my game, put my textbook in front of me, and pretended to study. Does anyone know what I am talking about? External constraints can make us look good. Religion can pressure us into behaviour modification but not heart transformation. That is why Christianity is not first and foremost a religion; it is good news. It is not something that we must do; it is something that has been done for us that changes us from the inside. So, the people of Israel are back in their sin cycle. And they cry out to God. And God hears and answers their cry.

Three persons that God use to save Israel: Deborah the judge; Barak the soldier; Jael the housewife.

Deborah the judge

Judges 4:4-7 – Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?”

The first person God uses to save Israel is a prophetess by the name of Deborah. As a prophetess, she preaches the word of God. She is the wife of Lappidoth. We don’t know anything about him other than the fact that he is married to Deborah. And Deborah is not only a prophetess, but the people of Israel would come to her for judgement. So, Deborah is recognised as someone who speaks for God, and people come to her to settle all sorts of disputes. In this way, Deborah is very different from all the other judges in the book of Judges. Every judge before and after her is a man of war. But Deborah counsels and guides the people. She is not a warrior; she is a woman of wisdom. That is why when God wants to deliver Israel from the hand of Jabin, Deborah summons Barak. It is Barak whom God chooses to take 10,000 men to Mount Tabor. And God will draw out Sisera to meet them by the river Kishon. And listen. It is God that will give Sisera and his armies into the hand of Barak. It is not the might of Barak and his 10,000 men that will win the war. It is the might of God that will win the war. God is the One who will fight for His people.

Now, before we talk about Barak, let’s talk about Deborah. Because it is very unusual for Scripture to highlight women’s role in leadership. But that’s what we see in Deborah. Deborah is a prophetess, someone who speaks for God, and also a judge in a judicial sense, someone who settles disputes among the people. So, Deborah holds a leadership position in a culture and time when women don’t have any public significance. What happened? There are two main views: The traditionalist view and the modern view. The traditionalist looks at the story of Deborah and calls this an anomaly. They say Judges 4 and 5 are written to tell us what happened, not what should have happened. So, what happens in the time of Deborah is that there are no men to lead Israel. Men should be in leadership, but they neglect their God-given responsibility. Deborah has to step in because the men won’t. But there is nothing in this passage that indicates that. In fact, the story tells us that Deborah is clearly called and gifted by God to do what she does. She is in a leadership position not because there are no men to lead but because of her gifting. On the other hand, the modernist looks at the story of Deborah and insists, “Anything men can do, women can do.” They dismiss gender differences as socially constructed fiction. But this view is also challenged in the text. As amazing as Deborah is, she does not lead the army. She is not Xena, the princess warrior. She has to recruit a warrior to lead the army.

So, what’s the lesson for us? There is a myth in certain parts of the church that men in the church should be taught deep theology while women should stay at home and take care of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and matching sofas and curtains. Listen. We do not believe that in our church. In our church, we believe that women have access to all spiritual gifts men have access to. Let me put it this way. In our church, we do not want weak women. We want strong women who love deep theology and maximise their gifts for the kingdom of God. Men and women are created equal, and they are gifted equally by God. We are passionate to see more and more women exercise their God-given gifts in this church. However, it is also clear in the Bible that God has established certain positions in which He wants only men to take part. For example, in this story, we see that Deborah won’t lead the army. She won’t take Barak’s part. And Deborah is introduced as the wife of Lappidoth. The Bible never does that for men. The Bible never says, “Michael, the husband of Kimberly.” That’s a way of indicating that even though Deborah is a prophetess and a judge, she is under the leadership of her husband at home. Because that is the role that God has assigned to her. So, this guards us against the wrong extremes in both directions, where we limit women from exercising their gifts or remove gender differences and roles altogether. The Bible teaches the equality of gifting and position but with distinctive roles to play in family and church.

All that to say these two things to the ladies. First, ladies, God has gifted you for God’s kingdom. Your calling in life is not simply to marry a husband and sit on the sidelines supporting his calling. Like Deborah, God has gifted you and He is calling you to exercise your gifts. That calling looks different for different women. But you do have a calling. And you are responsible before God to steward the gifts He has given you. My concern is there are some ladies who are too dependent on their husbands for their spiritual growth. That is not healthy. That is not what you see in Deborah. Deborah is a leader of the highest calibre. She is a prophetess and a judge of Israel. She exercised her gifts to the best of her ability. So, ladies, don’t hide behind your husband. If God has called you to lead, then lead. But maybe for some of you, God is calling you and gifted you to be a biological mother in this season of life. You need to realize that this is a beautiful and high calling from God. We live in a culture that constantly looks down on women who give themselves to the calling of motherhood. They say that if you are a stay home mother, you are wasting your gifts and potential. All you do is change diapers, get the kids up and ready for school, make fancy lunchboxes like @gracesusatyo kitchen, run a private uber for your kids, and try to convince them that ice cream and French fries are not equivalent to dinner. It feels very mundane and ordinary. But that’s not true. I know what you are doing can feel like it is not important. But it is. Moms, who do you think is the first person that teaches your children the unconditional love of God? From whom did they experience it first? Do you realize that? You are the reflection of God’s love for your children. Your faithfulness to God’s calling of motherhood has a strong influence on your child’s eternal life. Your role is indispensable. If you read the biography of many spiritual giants in history, many of them attributed their mothers as one of the earliest and most influential people in their faith. So, do not neglect the gift that God has given you. That’s the first.

And second, ladies, you can use God’s gift while respecting God’s order. As you see in Deborah, although God uses her greatly, she refuses to take the positions God has assigned to men. And she still identifies herself as the wife of her husband. So, we must reject both extremes, that God doesn’t give women the same gifts he does to men, or that there is no distinction between men and women. I love the way J.D. Greear puts it. “The church will never be healthy and thriving until both our sons and daughters thrive within it.” My prayer is that our church will raise many Deborahs. We need Deborahs in the home who speak life into their husbands and their children. We need Deborahs in the ministry who exercise their gifts for the health of the church. We need Deborahs in society who lead with wisdom, courage, and faith. The point is that women always have a crucial role in God’s kingdom. And for the men, listen. Maybe you are married to a Deborah. If you are, you should not feel threatened by her. You need to help her cultivate her gifts as Lappidoth did. God has given you her as a wife not for you to suppress her but for you to flourish together with her. And when both of you flourish in your gifting, the church will flourish as well.

Barak the soldier

Judges 4:8-10 – Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak called out Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. And 10,000 men went up at his heels, and Deborah went up with him.

The second person God uses to save Israel is a soldier by the name of Barak. He is a man of influence. He is probably the leader of a band of freedom fighters against Jabin and Sisera. So, Deborah comes to him and commissions him to take his man and fight against Sisera. Deborah assures him that God will give Sisera into his hand. And Barak gives a strange reply. He says, “Okay, I will go if you go. But if you don’t go, I am not going.” He refuses to go unless Deborah comes with him. And Deborah replies, “Sure. I’ll go with you. But know this. You will not get the glory at the end of this battle. God will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” And we assume the woman Deborah referring to is herself. But we are in for a very big plot twist.

Barak’s response to God’s call through Deborah, and Deborah’s reply to him, can be read in two ways. And the commentaries I read are evenly split on this. We can either read it as Barak the man of cowardice or Barak the man of faith. Let me explain. The more pessimistic view sees Barak asking Deborah to go with him, and refusing to go if she doesn’t as Barack’s lack of faith. He tries to evade his responsibility and in consequence Deborah rebukes him and Barak misses the chance of killing Sisera and the glory that comes with it. They say that Barak does not receive the glory because of his cowardice. That’s the more pessimistic view. This more optimistic view holds that Deborah is not rebuking Barak, but simply telling him that though he must fight the battle and do all the hard work, he will not get the glory for it. So, Deborah is not rebuking Barak for his lack of faith, but prophesying to Barak what will happen. Let’s do a poll. How many of you think it’s the more pessimistic view? How many of you think it’s the more optimistic view? My Sunday school teachers favour the more pessimistic view. But I favour the more optimistic view.

Here is why. Barak’s desire to take Deborah with him is not a sign of a lack of faith. It is done out of recognition that Deborah is a prophetess who speaks God’s words. Why wouldn’t he want her with him? He needs to hear and know God’s word all the time. And this conversation is an echo of another great conversation between God and Moses. We can read the story in Exodus 33. God told Moses to go and lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land. God has given them into Moses’ hands. So, God said, “Go! But I am not going.” And Moses replied, “If You are not going, don’t tell me to go anywhere. I am not going if You are not going.” And God said, “Okay, I’ll go with you.” So what Barak displays is not cowardice but faith. Faith that acknowledges unless God is going with him, he is not going. And Deborah is God’s mouthpiece to God’s people. By asking Deborah to come with him, he is asking God’s presence to be with him. And Deborah replies, “Sure. I’ll go with you.” And this shows Barak’s faith. Because he is about to face 900 iron chariots with foot soldiers. It takes a miracle for him to win. And he still fights. And here is the clincher. He obeys God and leads his men into the war, fully knowing that the glory will not be his. The glory of this war will be given into the hand of a woman. And Barak is fine with it. Because Barak does not seek his own glory. He does what he must, and he let others have the glory. And isn’t that what faith is? Faith is seeking and listening to God in every circumstance of life. Faith is showing courage to trust God with the impossible. And faith is not seeking self-glory but God’s glory. And that’s what happens next.

Judges 4:12-16 – 12 When Sisera was told that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera called out all his chariots, 900 chariots of iron, and all the men who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14 And Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him. 15 And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak by the edge of the sword. And Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16 And Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.

Barak obeys God and God delivers on His promises. He gathers his 10,000 men and goes to Mount Tabor. When Sisera heard of it, he prepares his 900 chariots and his men to face Barak. And when Deborah orders the attack, she assures Barak that God has given Sisera into his hand. And she also says that God has gone out before him. In other words, this is not Barak’s battle. This is God’s battle. God is the one who will subdue Sisera, and God is the one who is leading His army to war. Barak will not achieve victory. Barak will be given victory. The real battle has been won before the battle is fought. All Barak needs to do is trust God. Barak’s forces are no match for Sisera’s, but Sisera’s are no match for God. And so, God accomplishes victory through the hands of Barak. But Barak is not the source of salvation. He is simply the means. God alone is the one who saves Israel from her enemies.

There is an important lesson for us here. As God uses people to accomplish victory, God makes sure to keep anyone from obscuring the glory. God makes it abundantly clear that it is His battle, and it is His victory. It is God’s work from beginning to end. God alone deserves the glory. Listen. God wants to use us to fight His battles and accomplish His victories. But we must heed Deborah’s word to Barak. “The road on which you are going will not lead to your glory.” God will bring victory in and through us when we put our faith in Him. But the question is, are we content with not receiving the glory at the end of it? Are we content if another person receives the glory for all our hard work? This speaks very personally to me. As a pastor, I desire to see a growing church. I desire to see people’s lives being transformed by the gospel. I want to see people who grow deep in the gospel and reach wide with the gospel. I want God to bless our church for the sake of God’s kingdom in the city of Sydney and all around the world. But the question is, what if God decides to do all that, what if God answers all those prayers, but God decides to give the spotlight to Edrick instead of me? What if God says that my time is up, and He decides to give the spotlight to other preachers and pastors in this church instead of me? Or maybe, what if God answers all my prayers for this church, in a different church? What if it is the church’s next store that experiences the gospel awakening and receives the spotlight? Will I be content? This is a necessary reminder for all of us. It is God who brings victory, and we should not care which human instrument seems to shine the most therein. To God alone be the glory. Soli Deo Gloria.

Jael the housewife

Judges 4:11, 17-22 – 11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated from the Kenites, the descendants 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.
17 But 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. 18 And Jael came out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord; turn aside to me; do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. 20 And he said to her, “Stand at the opening of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’” 21 But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died. 22 And behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went in to her tent, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg in his temple.

Jael’s story does not begin in verse 17. It begins in verse 11. When we first read verse 11, it seems like a random verse about some dude who cannot get along with his neighbours and moved his tent to some random place in the desert. To which we go, “So what? Who on earth cares about someone changing his address? It is very unimportant.” But if we think that, we are very wrong. Because verse 11, as weird as it seems, points to God’s providence. Heber’s change of address is an integral part of the story. Because it positions Jael, Heber’s wife, precisely where she needs to be to deliver the final blow. Their change of address perfectly placed her to be the right person in the right place at the right time. It might not seem important at all at first, but God is setting up His victory through this “so what” moment. And this is still the way the God of the Bible works in the lives of His people today. There is not a single moment of our lives that is wasted. God’s providence is always at work, and He planned everything to its little detail. If we look back at our lives, we will see that there have been some “so what” moments, something that seemed wholly unrelated to anything at the time, something that even escaped our attention because they were so unimportant, yet it turned out to be God’s saving help. How many of you can testify to it? Not even a random change of address is outside of God’s plan. God’s providence is at work in every little detail of our lives. What a God we have.

So, Sisera is on the run for his life. And he comes to the tent of Jael because Jael is supposed to be an ally of Jabin. Sisera thinks Jael’s tent equals safety. And when Sisera meets Jael, Jael invites him to hide in her tent. She is very welcoming to Sisera. She hides Sisera under a blanket and gives him milk to drink. Sisera thinks that he is safe now. So, he takes a nap. He must be exhausted from the battle. And while Sisera is sleeping, Jael approaches him quietly with a tent peg and a hammer in her hand. In those days, it is not unusual for a woman to carry a tent peg and a hammer. Setting up and taking down tents is considered women’s work. So, tent peg and hammer are essentially a woman’s household appliance. Think of a frying pan today. So, here is a woman with a frying pan in her hand. And what she does next is shocking. With a tent peg and a hammer in her hand, she does not ask, “WWJD? What would Jesus do?” Instead, she approaches Sisera softly, and “splassshh.” She smashes the peg with the hammer into Sisera’s head while he is sleeping. And then comes the most unnecessary explanation in the entire story. “So he died.” Well, of course, he died. And then she walks out of the tent, drops the hammer, and says, “Nailed it.” Okay, I made up that last part. It is not in the story. But can you see what happened? God has said that He will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. At that time, death at the hand of a woman is considered very humiliating. So, the death of Sisera by a woman is the most devastating defeat possible. And we assumed it was going to be Deborah who delivered the final blow. But it is not. It is Jael who delivers the hammering salvation. God uses a housewife to kill God’s enemy. It is an unexpected salvation. And when Barak gets to the tent, Jael invites him in to see the corpse of Sisera with a tent peg hammered into his head. And Barak is probably thinking, “I’m glad she’s not my wife.”

Judges 4:23-24 – 23 So on that day God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the people of Israel. 24 And the hand of the people of Israel pressed harder and harder against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they destroyed Jabin king of Canaan. God delivers His promises. God uses Deborah, Barak, and Jael. But ultimately it is God who defeats the enemies. Verse 23 tells us that it is God who subdues Jabin, not Deborah, Barak, or Jael. God is the one who acts on behalf of His people. And He does so based on His grace and mercy alone, and not His people’s merits. So, God alone deserves the glory. Salvation is all of God’s doing, from beginning to end. To Him be glory forever and ever.

So, what’s the lesson here? Here is the lesson. Firstly, men, do not mess with a woman who holds a frying pan in her hand. Secondly, we must act violently toward God’s enemy. Many people have issues with what Jael did. They said that the Bible would not condone what Jael did. She was very violent, and she broke the law of hospitality of her days. The problem with that is that the Bible does seem to approve of Jael’s acts. We will see this next week in chapter 5 how Jael is praised for what she did. I am not saying that we should do the same to our enemies today. So, don’t hear me saying, “Go home, be nice to your enemy. Give him a cup of wine and sing him a lullaby. And smash his head with a frying pan while he is sleeping.” Don’t do that. Listen. Don’t be Jael because if you are “jail”, you would go to jail. Today, we no longer lived in the Old Testament. We lived in the New Testament where we are called to love our enemies and leave vengeance to God. But the story of the book of Judges is the story of God’s salvation. And in this story, Jael risked everything to execute God’s enemy and help God’s people. And this should be our attitude toward sin. We should not play around with sin. We should treat sin the way Jael treated Sisera. Get a nail and a hammer and smash sin in its head. God is serious about eliminating the enemy of God’s people and we should be violent toward sin.

And this is the story of the cross. The cross tells us how seriously God takes sin. The cross is extremely violent. The cross is not only the place where our sins are forgiven, and we are made right with God. The cross is proof that God does judge and punish sin seriously. The cross is what we deserved because of our sins. We deserved to have nails hammered into our hands and feet and bleed to death. But here is what’s amazing about the gospel. We deserved the cross. But rather than making us take the nail and the hammer, God came to us and took the nail and the hammer on our behalf. He received the blow that should have been ours. At the cross, Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, became the enemy of God. Every blow against our sins is nailed into his body. He absorbed every drop of God’s wrath until there is no more. So that whoever put his faith in Jesus will never experience God’s wrath. At the cross, Jesus Christ who knew no sin became sin, so that sinful people like you and I can become the righteousness of God in him. This is the gospel. The point of the story of Deborah, Barak and Jael is not about Deborah, Barak, and Jael. Yes, God used them as means of His salvation. But the point of this story is to rehearse God’s salvation for His people. God is the Hero of the story. God is faithful toward His unfaithful people. And the cost of God’s faithfulness to the unfaithful people is nails hammered on Jesus’s body. And for us who are the recipient of God’s costly salvation, our natural response is to rejoice in the God of our salvation. To God alone be the glory. Let’s pray.

Discussion questions:

  1. What struck you the most from the sermon?
  2. Explain the problems with the traditionalist and the modern view of women. How should we view women in ministry?
  3. “The road on which you are going will not lead to your glory.” How would you feel if you are Barak? Why?
  4. If you look back at your life, can you see the “so what” moments that God turned out to be God’s saving help? What happened?
  5. How does this story point to the ultimate story of God’s salvation?
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