Rev. Daniel Poon
1. V1-9 To Listen
When we say we need to align with God and align with our authority, we need to love and trust them, and to love and trust the brothers and sisters that God brings to us. Only when you are aligned with God can you love the unlovable, otherwise we will not be able to gain strength from God’s rivers of living water and have love that can stand the test. Deborah and Barak did not kill Sisera, but Jael killed him. They were willing to thank God because the enemy was dead and did not regret that they had not killed the enemy with their own hands. They were willing to delight in God alone, not in what they could do themselves. Sometimes when we cannot do things that others do, we stop praising and thanking God, and feel that we are incapable, but only when we are aligned with God can we see God’s deeds. Although we are not the one carrying out the work, we will still be glad and rejoice. Deborah and Barak were willing to align with God. They saw that God’s will was fulfilled and Sisera was destroyed, so they sang songs to worship.
V2, “leaders”, which are also judges. It is not good enough to only have a leader raised up by God, the people also need to “willingly offer themselves”. We often think that we can do whatever we want to follow the path of God, but God keeps teaching us to sacrifice ourselves on earth. If we do everything for our own benefit, we cannot align with God and our authority. Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves?
Deborah was a married lady. She had a husband, but she was willing to accompany Barak to attack Sisera, for he had said in the beginning that he would not go unless Deborah did. A person raised up by God will be willing to sacrifice himself, and Deborah is willing to sacrifice her family and husband to accompany Barak to follow what God had destined for him. Victory is not spoken by the mouth, and not about sitting and watching, but victory is to be walked out. We align with God not through our “doing” mode but our action to willingly offer ourselves.
When our leaders are willing to arise and the people are willing to sacrifice themselves, they can be aligned with God. At first Barak was not fully prepared to respond to God, so Barak did not see God and only saw Deborah. Therefore, when Deborah told him that God had asked him to kill Sisera, he asked Deborah to go with him. A leader should be able to sympathise with the weaknesses of the people under him and accompany them for a while. When the leader was with him, Barak was different, and he gave all glory and praise to God. Leaders must learn to give and be willing to sacrifice.
V4, how do we overcome when we face our weaknesses? We have our own plans and ideas, but how can we lay them aside for God and for our authority? It is to recall how God and our authority led us through mountains and valleys, and how our authority guided us in the past. We need to find gold in the waste (i.e. see things from a positive point of view), and believe that all that God has given us is good.
V6, the situation of Israel at that time.
V7-8, “Village life ceased…”, no one was willing to come out and lead because the Israelites
“chose new gods” in the land of Canaan. The LORD God is the God of their nation of Israel, but they believed what the Canaanites said and had family and personal gods – Baal and Asherah. Are we the same? In the new year, we need to repent and confess our sins and see our weakness and that we are not capable of doing everything, so that we can align with God and our authority, otherwise we will feel that our own way is better than God’s way. Then there is no gratitude, only complaining, and we will not see God’s blessings and our authority’s love for us, and keep on doing what we want to do, which is a great hindrance for ur. Only when we believe in the truth can we arise.
V9, Do we have the “heart” to be “with” the authority God has given us? Do you really believe that our authority loves us? Do you see their sacrifice? Are we willing to listen and believe? When we listen and believe, we will feel loved. Otherwise, we will always feel unloved and unaccepted. This is an important reason that prevents us from arising.
2, V10-18 To Respond
V10, whether you are noble or poor, you need to respond to what verse 9 says, “My heart is with the rulers of Israel，who offered themselves willingly with the people”. When we are in front of people we proclaim how our authority love us，and do not poison other people’s mind by saying that the leaders oppress us, they don’t understand us, or they make us suffer. What we say is praise, and we want people to see the gold in the waste. Only in this way can people be willing to follow our leaders. We must be willing to share the things we are blessed with, and witness how our leaders love us and sacrifice themselves, otherwise people will only enjoy themselves. Do not expect to get love from others, for only when we align with God can we have love to give. When we are willing to respond to God’s calling in Matthew 28, God will provide for us and we will lack nothing. The “sacrifice” that God wants from us is not for us to endure hardship, but to sacrifice our desires from the earth, believing that the Bible is the truth that God has told us.
We often turn what people say (like the principles of psychology) into truth, but the truth is only in the Bible, and it is the light given to us by God. When we search for the light of God’s righteousness and preach about it, people chosen by God will come to us. It is not that we go to find people, but people will come. When we love, trust, and align first, we will be able to arise.
V12, Judges were chosen by God to judge and lead. Deborah was raised up to praise God. Barak was the one raised up by Deborah, so he could “Arise… and lead your captives away.” Therefore, Pastor and Shimu (Pastor’s wife)’s job is to pray and worship before God, preach and praise God’s great deeds in our lives in front of people. And our job is to go out to fight, to take possession of the land, and believe that God has given us the ability and authority to be like fishers of men. Only by willing to sacrifice ourselves can we win the victory.
V13-15, when we arise, God will lead capable people to us. Even Issachar (v15), these servants of God came with Deborah. So those who serve God will respond to the leaders raised by God. We must arise to lead the captives, align with God, the church, and our authority, with love and trust.
V16-17, these were some tribes who had their thinking different from Deborah and Barak. Some living their own lives, doing their own things, staying in their own land, and not responding to God. Reflect upon ourselves today, are we just planning for ourselves, busy with our own affairs, and feeling that what we do is the best?
V18, there were not many people from Zebulun and Naphtali, but they are not afraid of death. Although living in heights was very safe, they were still willing to come down to fight, ” jeopardized their lives to the point of death”. Are we willing to come out of our comfort zone, align with our authority, and sacrifice ourselves?
3. V19-31 To Rise and Fight
V19-24, the battle was difficult, even the kings of Canaan came to fight. God says that we should ” march on in strength!”
V23, Meroz was a refuge. Many Israelites were hiding there and did not want to fight, but God said to curse its inhabitants. 2021 is a time to arise and cross over. We must rise “to the help of the LORD”. God does not need our help, it is our authority that needs help, so we are to help them fulfill the vision and mission given by God, get up to fight, and be willing to sacrifice ourselves.
Although Jael was a Canaanite, she was willing to kill Sisera on the charge of betrayal. Are we really willing not to follow the world and our own desires, but sacrifice our own desires to follow God, and rise to fight, so that the land can have “rest for forty years”?
What God gives us is the blessing and the anointing of the land for inheritance. Shall we get up and fight? Or did we listen to the response, or do our own things and live the lifestyle we want?
What God gives us is a rich blessing. It is the beautiful land of Canaan, which makes us fishers of men. We pray that God will help us to listen to and trust in our authority and respond to God’s calling. Our authority is not to hurt us but to love us. The mission given by God is not to make us fail, but to make us trust in God more and not be afraid to be with God. When the people responded to the leadership of Deborah and Barak, sacrificing their desires and easy life, the victory came, and the land had rest for 40 years. In the same way we want to see God’s victory in our lives and respond to God’s calling to us in His kingdom!
士师记 5 – 兴起 奋兴