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As a follow up to our “homework” assignment, we plowed through 3 questions and a quite the lively brainstorming session on Chapter 4 of Judges.

What does this chapter reveal to me about God?

  • God disciplines disobedience.
  • God speaks to us.
  • God is mighty in battle.
  • God can use anyone.
  • God is merciful to His people even though we sin.
  • God is with us.
  • God is an encourager in the face of all odds.
  • God can be specific.
  • God always makes a way.
  • God goes before us.
  • God is faithful and keeps his promises.
  • God always has a plan for my life.
  • God answers our prayers.
  • God can work through women just as powerfully as men.
  • God sets the stage.
  • God will not tolerate evil in the end.
  • God works through nature and circumstances.
  • God is a provider.

What does this chapter reveal to us about humankind?

  • We can be stupid and as a result, we can be easily duped.
  • We are not faithful to God.
  • We do evil in God’s sight, often despite His blessings.
  • We are whiners.
  • We are able to repent once we rreally ecognize the need.
  • We ask for help once we realize we cannot do it alone.
  • We allow our “needs” to dictate our choices.
  • We tend to trust other people more than we trust God.
  • We are often oppressed because of our sinful choices.
  • We are cyclical in our sins.
  • We can act out of character.
  • We can be brave.
  • We can go against the odds with God.

What does this chapter reveal to us about the enemy?

  • The enemy is stupid.
  • The enemy means to destroy us.
  • The enemy means to oppress us.
  • The enemy enjoys our sufferings.
  • The enemy uses “overkill” and is often the bully.
  • The enemy is devious and deviant.
  • The enemy knows that humans are generally predictable.
  • The enemy doesn’t know what God will do!
  • The enemy is a user.
  • The enemy appears strong, but is ultimately weak.
  • The enemy is interested in power for power’s sake.
  • The enemy is tries to make us slaves.
  • The enemy is harsh and unyielding.
  • The enemy operates through people, just as God does.
  • The enemy is resilient and stubborn.
  • The enemy is proud.
  • The enemy expects to win, despite everything.
  • The enemy has many resources.
  • The enemy cannot move nature.
  • The enemy cannot predict true outcomes.
  • The enemy is overcome by death.

Once we covered these truths (and isn’t it revealing how much is in this chapter), we talked a little more about Jael and how interesting it is that the prophecy of Deborah said that a woman would have the “victory” since Barak would not go into battle alone. The assumption was that the victor would be Deborah… but instead, it was Jael, the wife of Heber, who put a tent peg through Sisera’s temple. The lesson? We cannot always understand the “messages” of God. As humans, we must remember that we may misinterpret… even unwittingly.

I then told the story of how Mike was so sure that I would have children because he heard very clearly from God that I would be the “mother of his children.” Only after 10+ years of marriage, was Mike able to accept that adopting children was still within the truth of that prophecy. As a result, I am now the mother of 3 wonderful children. God spoke truly… it was our human nature that assumed the outcome.

We then began a verse by verse deliberation of the Song of Deborah.
Verses 1-2: We are told that both Deborah and Barak are singing (a duet of sorts). We are told from the beginning the importance of people “offering” themselves to God (much the same as Romans 12:1-2)… for this offering is the essence of how they won their victory over Sisera: Obedience to God (and in particular, the obedience of leaders to God.)

Verse 3: This is the pronouncement of praise and worship. In Hebrew, there is a clear repetition: (literally) I, I to the Lord, I, I will sing. I will “make music.” For me this was important, this emphasis on us doing the work of praise and in particular “making music.” I am also intrigued by the idea of “making meaning” which I see as the essence of making music.

Making meaning is a concept I found particularly intriguing from a book by Eric Maisel called Coaching the Artist Within. (We did not cover this in the Bible Study, but I add it here for interest.) And although his bent is not from Christian perspective, I have been captivated by his key idea that we must DECIDE to make meaning. In other words, if we want to make a difference, then we must decide to pursue God’s plan… seek wisdom. In the same way, making music… or making worship & praise … must also be conscious choices. They are part of the meaning-making in our lives.

Verses 4 & 5: These verses remind us of the power of nature that is TOTALLY under God’s domain. The enemy (see above) does not have power over nature. These verses remind us of the times that God impacted us through natural forces: great storms, floods, fire, and smoke. As Miriam and Moses sang their song after God’s great work (parting of the waters of the Red Sea) with the first generation of Israelites, here are Deborah & Barak singing in thanksgiving for the power of God’s force in overthrowing Sisera to the “second-generation” Israelites.

We stopped here… I think… and had a time of prayer.
We continue to lift up Sara & John, Janis’ family in a time of decision-making and a possible move, and for someone else’s son to come to the Lord.

Our last meeting for awhile will be on July 19th. We will definitely break for August…