The process of saving us from patterns of sin

“Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, sing a song! Judges 5:12 NKJV

Deborah was a very “woke” prophetess of the Lord and Judge over the children of God. Yet here she says she had to speak to herself and tell herself to wake up! But she was already “woke”.  No matter how much we think we know – we should hunger after God for more. We should remain humble and low and not consider ourselves woke as Deborah did not consider herself woke. It is only through humility and relating to the sinners in this book that we will understand the grace and longsuffering of our God – that we will understand His power and ability to meet our every need, including saving us from our sins.

Dear Heavenly Father – Please wake us up!!!! Give us a hunger for your word and for you!!! As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading, we begin the book of Judges with chapters 3-5 (embedded below for your convenience).

Some interesting facts about the book:  Judges has 12 judges (Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson), in 21 chapters, 618 verse, unknown author (some say it was Samson), and happened approximately 1380 to 1050 BC. This book is considered a historical book meaning that reading it and studying the dates and researching the archeological expeditions to uncover these stories are all fun ways to make this book more deep and meaningful. (I almost got lost down that rabbit hole!)

Today jumps right in and we cover a bunch of judges quickly!

Judge Othniel – Judges 3:7-11
Summary: the people worship false gods, they get sold to another people, they cry out to God for help, God raises up a judge, the judge brings salvation, the land has rest, and then repeat…

Judge Ehud – Judges 3:12-30
Summary: the people worship false gods, they get sold to another people, they cry out to God for help, God raises up a judge, the judge brings salvation, the land has rest, and then repeat…

Judge Shamgar – Judges 3:31
Summary: God raises up a judge, the judge brings salvation, and then repeat…

Judge Deborah – Judges 4-5
Summary: the people worship false gods, they get sold to another people, they cry out to God for help, God raises up a judge who is a woman, a prophet, and a psalmist, the judge brings salvation, the land has rest, and then repeat…

Preachers and those teaching on Judges haven’t said much about Othniel, because not much was written (as well as Shamgar). A few have taught on Ehud. But there are volumes and volumes of study guides, devotionals, etc on Deborah. I am limited to a space with few words – so let’s focus on Ehud.

As a child I pictured a round-ball shaped king much like if you stretched and glued the portrait of the English king, Henry the Eighth over a ball.  I was told the upper room, where the king was sitting in the afternoon when Ehud went to him, was a bathroom.  So the story became a comical cartoon in an English castle and of a king interrupted while “reading the newspaper” so to speak. Which can help children not focus on the violent entrails falling out or the fact that the king was left to bleed out and die in anguish.
Now let’s get a little Bible geeky and talk about writing patterns and structure of the Bible. What is interesting is that even though the scriptures have multiple human hands putting the ink on paper – they all have a few major consistencies. One of which is imagery – for example… people are almost NEVER described, but when they are – it usually relays a character trait. Especially in the Old Testament where Hebrew words structurally build on a root and become an image of what they are – so the language developed with an added layer of abstraction that is just understood.  What I mean is that “fat” would not just be a visual explanation of what the king looked like – it would also be an abstract symbol with a meaning of its own that speaks to the character of the king and/or nation. 
We see this with Jacob’s first wife who was described as cross-eyed (and that was the nicest thing they could say about her looks). So without ever saying it, we relate to her experience as not being noticed or looked at longingly. We understand her loneliness and drive to please and eagerness to serve so she can be loved – the idea that love comes by good works and not through grace.  Without saying much about her struggle, we know why her own father rejected her and treated her poorly and why Jacob didn’t choose her.

Back to the King of Moab – In Judges 3:17 the king of Moab, באָ֑וֹמ (mō·w·’āḇ), is described as obese: ׃דאֹֽמְ (mə·’ōḏ). Moab means “sons of Lot” and for those of you who enjoy Hebrew word play and the root words and how they build on each other: mō·w·’āḇ became mə·’ōḏ. You can see a similar sequence of letter in each word (for those of you who aren’t as familiar with the Hebrew language) and similarities in sound. Mə·’ōḏ is an adverb, not an adjective and it means vehemently, wholly and speedily when translated. We are not describing the man but the actions of the man.
We see the word “fat” again in verse 22 but here it is the Hebrew word: ב֙לֶחֵ֙הַ (ha·ḥê·leḇ) – which can be translated as the riches, the choice part – and we think about the “fat of the land” (same word), where there is abundance and blessings and goodness.
Also fat is forbidden in Levitical Law and cannot be consumed and it is unclean. Which is interesting because many scholars and translations have taken the word “entrails” in this verse and translated it to refuse, waste, excrements, and dirt. Definitely unclean.

So the fat king is a symbol of goodness and riches becoming unclean dirt and men who had God’s protection acting wholly on their own being vain in their ways and not doing what was pleasing to the Lord. These are the images of the king and nation of Moab.

Moab fell from God’s grace as well as Israel fell into the wrath of God. God used both nations to judge each other – the sons of Lot over the sons of Abraham – then through Ehud, the sons of Abraham rose against the sons of Lot in God’s judgement for their transgressions as a “fat kingdom” whose prosperity and abundance became their downfall. Like modern USA and other self-exalted and prosperous nations in our world.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 NKJV

This verse in Roman follows a whole section about how we are all a hot mess like these Hebrews and these Moabites (go read all of Romans 3 if you want more good stuff!) We are all worthy of God’s wrath.  Those who fear the Lord DO WELL! But do not let that fear bind you!! Because GRACE!!! Because Jesus was the propitiation by His blood – also referred as mercy seat – literal translation is substitute for wrath. This is the personal savior – not just a sacrificial lamb for everyone’s sins like the sons of Aaron sacrificed for each tribe. This brings it to the personal. He replaced me. And you can say that for yourself.
Without the fear of the Lord – How does grace (favor) have any meaning or power?! How can we let grace transform us if we aren’t UNWORTHY of all of this – if we aren’t humbled by the reality of our NEED for a Christ?!
I mean, we call ourselves “saved” but what are we saved from if God is not a just God sending those who are unclean to hell through the curse He placed on man when we sinned our first sin in the garden. If we are worthy of our own accord, and our way is sufficient, and God is nicey-nice forbearing all wrath – then we have no need of His love and mercy and grace. We do not even have a need to have a relationship with Him.  
(Romans 3:21-26)

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: 2 Peter 1:3

Today is the last day – How did you do?! Is it memorized? did you at least meditate on it and all that it means in your life?! Do you know that you know that God has given you everything you need so when the enemy tells you that you aren’t enough you can swing back and say – Oh no! I am enough – because God gave me EVERYTHING I need!

NKJV – “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,”
NAS – “for His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
ESV – “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,”
NLT – “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”
NIV – “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Judges 3-5 NKJV

The Nations Remaining in the Land

Now these are the nations which the Lord left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not [a]known any of the wars in Canaan (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath. And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to [b]know whether they would obey the commandments of the Lord, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods.

Othniel

So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and [c]Asherahs. Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years. When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim. 11 So the land had rest for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

Ehud

12 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 Then he gathered to himself the people of Ammon and Amalek, went and [d]defeated Israel, and took possession of the City of Palms. 14 So the children of Israel served Eglon king of Moab eighteen years.

15 But when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. By him the children of Israel sent tribute to Eglon king of Moab. 16 Now Ehud made himself a dagger (it was double-edged and a cubit in length) and fastened it under his clothes on his right thigh. 17 So he brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. (Now Eglon was a very fat man.) 18 And when he had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. 19 But he himself turned back from the [e]stone images that were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.”

He said, “Keep silence!” And all who attended him went out from him.

20 So Ehud came to him (now he was sitting upstairs in his cool private chamber). Then Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” So he arose from his seat. 21 Then Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. 22 Even the [f]hilt went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the dagger out of his belly; and his entrails came out. 23 Then Ehud went out through the porch and shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.

24 When he had gone out, [g]Eglon’s servants came to look, and to their surprise, the doors of the upper room were locked. So they said, “He is probably attending[h] to his needs in the cool chamber.” 25 So they waited till they were embarrassed, and still he had not opened the doors of the upper room. Therefore they took the key and opened them. And there was their master, fallen dead on the floor.

26 But Ehud had escaped while they delayed, and passed beyond the [i]stone images and escaped to Seirah. 27 And it happened, when he arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the mountains of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mountains; and [j]he led them. 28 Then he said to them, “Follow me, for the Lord has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand.” So they went down after him, seized the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross over. 29 And at that time they killed about ten thousand men of Moab, all stout men of valor; not a man escaped. 30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years.

Shamgar

31 After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel.

Deborah

When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim. And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he had harshly oppressed the children of Israel.

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and [k]deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will [l]deliver him into your hand’?”

And 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!”

So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, 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 Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with ten thousand men under[m] his command, and Deborah went up with him.

11 Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites and pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh.

12 And they reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 So Sisera gathered together all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth Hagoyim to the River Kishon.

14 Then Deborah said to Barak, [n]“Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 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. 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 a man was left.

17 However, Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; do not fear.” And when he had turned aside with her into the tent, she covered him with a [o]blanket.

19 Then he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a jug of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him. 20 And he said to her, “Stand at the door of the tent, and if any man comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there any man here?’ you shall say, ‘No.’ ”

21 Then Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went down into the ground; for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. 22 And then, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said to him, “Come, I will show you the man whom you seek.” And when he went into her tent, there lay Sisera, dead with the peg in his temple.

23 So on that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan in the presence of the children of Israel. 24 And the hand of the children of Israel grew stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

The Song of Deborah

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

“When[p] leaders lead in Israel,
When the people [q]willingly offer themselves,
Bless the Lord!

“Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes!
I, even I, will sing to the Lord;
I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.

“Lord, when You went out from Seir,
When You marched from the field of Edom,
The earth trembled and the heavens poured,
The clouds also poured water;
The mountains [r]gushed before the Lord,
This Sinai, before the Lord God of Israel.

“In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath,
In the days of Jael,
The highways were deserted,
And the travelers walked along the byways.
Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel,
Until I, Deborah, arose,
Arose a mother in Israel.
They chose new gods;
Then there was war in the gates;
Not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel.
My heart is with the rulers of Israel
Who offered themselves willingly with the people.
Bless the Lord!

10 “Speak, you who ride on white donkeys,
Who sit in judges’ attire,
And who walk along the road.
11 Far from the noise of the archers, among the watering places,
There they shall recount the righteous acts of the Lord,
The righteous acts for His villagers in Israel;
Then the people of the Lord shall go down to the gates.

12 “Awake, awake, Deborah!
Awake, awake, sing a song!
Arise, Barak, and lead your captives away,
O son of Abinoam!

13 “Then the survivors came down, the people against the nobles;
The Lord came down for me against the mighty.
14 From Ephraim were those whose roots were in Amalek.
After you, Benjamin, with your peoples,
From Machir rulers came down,
And from Zebulun those who bear the recruiter’s staff.
15 And [s]the princes of Issachar were with Deborah;
As Issachar, so was Barak
Sent into the valley [t]under his command;
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great resolves of heart.
16 Why did you sit among the sheepfolds,
To hear the pipings for the flocks?
The divisions of Reuben have great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan,
And why did Dan remain [u]on ships?
Asher continued at the seashore,
And stayed by his inlets.
18 Zebulun is a people who jeopardized their lives to the point of death,
Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield.

19 “The kings came and fought,
Then the kings of Canaan fought
In Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo;
They took no spoils of silver.
20 They fought from the heavens;
The stars from their courses fought against Sisera.
21 The torrent of Kishon swept them away,
That ancient torrent, the torrent of Kishon.
O my soul, march on in strength!
22 Then the horses’ hooves pounded,
The galloping, galloping of his steeds.
23 ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the [v]angel of the Lord,
‘Curse its inhabitants bitterly,
Because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
To the help of the Lord against the mighty.’

24 “Most blessed among women is Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite;
Blessed is she among women in tents.
25 He asked for water, she gave milk;
She brought out cream in a lordly bowl.
26 She stretched her hand to the tent peg,
Her right hand to the workmen’s hammer;
She pounded Sisera, she pierced his head,
She split and struck through his temple.
27 At her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still;
At her feet he sank, he fell;
Where he sank, there he fell dead.

28 “The mother of Sisera looked through the window,
And cried out through the lattice,
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
Why tarries the clatter of his chariots?’
29 Her wisest [w]ladies answered her,
Yes, she [x]answered herself,
30 ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoil:
To every man a girl or two;
For Sisera, plunder of dyed garments,
Plunder of garments embroidered and dyed,
Two pieces of dyed embroidery for the neck of the looter?’

31 “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord!
But let those who love Him be like the sun
When it comes out in full strength.”

So the land had rest for forty years.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 3:1 experienced
  2. Judges 3:4 find out
  3. Judges 3:7 Name or symbol for Canaanite goddesses
  4. Judges 3:13 struck
  5. Judges 3:19 Tg. quarries
  6. Judges 3:22 handle
  7. Judges 3:24 Lit. his
  8. Judges 3:24 Lit. covering his feet
  9. Judges 3:26 Tg. quarries
  10. Judges 3:27 Lit. he went before them
  11. Judges 4:6 march
  12. Judges 4:7 Lit. draw
  13. Judges 4:10 Lit. at his feet
  14. Judges 4:14 Arise!
  15. Judges 4:18 rug
  16. Judges 5:2 Or When locks are loosed
  17. Judges 5:2 volunteer
  18. Judges 5:5 flowed
  19. Judges 5:15 So with LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg.; MT And my princes in Issachar
  20. Judges 5:15 Lit. at his feet
  21. Judges 5:17 Or at ease
  22. Judges 5:23 Or Angel
  23. Judges 5:29 princesses
  24. Judges 5:29 Lit. repeats her words to herself

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