Book of Judges Chapter Four (Part One)

Introduction: A key idea in the book of Judges is that God blesses obedience and punishes disobedience. Today, we hope to discuss the Canaanite oppression and deliverance by Deborah and Barak.

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Read Judges 4:1-7

D. Canaanite Oppression and Deliverance by Deborah and Barak. (4:1-5:31). 1. The Story (4:1-14). The Israelites went back into sin, after Ehud died. They were oppressed for 20 years and then cried unto the Lord. The Lord was working through Deborah who was a Judge and Prophetess. She told Barak that the Lord would use him to bring victory to His people.


Applications –

- Death preparations. Notice in vs. 1 that Ehud died. In like manner, we all have a date with death (unless the Lord returns before we die). Let’s make sure we have made preparations for our deaths. On our check-list should be things like making sure we are saved, have enough life insurance to cover expenses, a will, a living will, gifts to the church, making peace with loved ones, etc. Live the way you want to be remembered, because you will be remembered for how you lived.


- Obeying because of our relationship with God. Notice in vs. 1 that the people did evil in the eyes of the Lord, after Ehud died. First, if God says it is evil then it is evil, no matter what we think (e.g., a failure to tithe is robbery, a failure to make a joyful noise unto the Lord is a sin of omission, etc.). Second, our living by God’s will should not be based on who the leaders is. We should live obedient lives, in reverence to God. It is embarrassing to talk about how faithful you used to be under previous human leaders but fail to be faithful now, in reverence to the same God. Let’s work on obeying God because of our relationships with God.

- Avoiding punishment. Notice in vss. 2-3 that sin led to punishment. It is tempting to spend time trying to figure out why God used the ungodly people to cause so much pain for so long. But our energy may be better spent making sure that we are on the right side of the equation. We need to make sure that we are saved and striving to love God with all that we have and love others, as we love ourselves. Let’s work on obeying God, so we don’t have to suffer His punishment.


- Crying out with repentance. Notice in vs. 3 that the people cried to the Lord, after 20 years of oppression. First, crying without repentance will not get us very far. There are too many who cry to the Lord because they are hurting. They are not crying because they are willing to change. Second, 20 years is not long for the Lord, but think about how much energy you had 20 years ago. The point is that we don’t have 20 years to waste. Let’s work on crying out in repentance immediately, instead of wasting time and energy living in disobedience to God.


- God’s use of people. Notice in vss. 4-7 that God was doing a great work through Deborah. Deborah was a Prophetess, Judge, and wife, under the law. Since God used Deborah in ministry in our text, there should be no debate about God’s ability to use women in ministry today. Let’s be open to God using whomever He decides to use. We should seek God’s wisdom to discern those who have the character, competencies, and chemistry for the given work, as evidence that God has called them to do the work.


- Working faith. Notice in vss. 6-7 that God would supply the victory; however, His people had to participate. They had to have a working faith. That working faith included both the giving and following of human leadership. First, in like manner, God often calls us to trust Him enough for the victory that we obey Him. There are too many who say they trust God, but they don’t obey Him like they trust Him. Second, throughout the Bible God has a long track record of using humans as leaders of His people. The leader’s job is to lead, and the follower’s job is to follow. There is much work to do in this area. Think about how much further along we would be, if more people followed Pastoral leader and paid their tithes. Think about if more people would invite and bring loved ones with them to church and helped them grow in the Lord (i.e., Each Reach One). Let’s work on having enough faith in God to obey Him.


Conclusion: Let’s work on being obedient, instead of disobedient. God has much for those who obey His will.

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