Daily Devotional (6/23/2012) – “Judges”: ‘Duets… An Evening with Debbie and Barry’

June 23, 2012

“Judges” Devotional #5

Scripture:   Judges 5

‘Duets… An Evening with Debbie and Barry

From ancient times, the Jewish people have deeply understood the importance of music; especially in terms of how they give worship to God.  Music and songs are scattered throughout The Bible both in specific passages (Exodus 15: 1-21; 1 Samuel 2: 1-10; 2 Samuel 22; Luke 1: 46-55, 67-79) and in entire books (Psalms and Song of Songs).  The passage from today’s devotional takes up the whole chapter of Judges 5 and is one of the oldest passages in Scripture; being translated from a very ancient form of Hebrew.  This passage is a song that was sung by the Israelite leaders (Deborah and Barak) and takes place after the defeat of King Jabin’s army that was led by General Sisera.

Imagine this in modern times… After winning the deciding battle in a war, the main leaders of the army decide to burst into song, asking the troops to dance and sing along!  Pretty weird, huh?  🙂 It just goes to show that when we are so filled with thanksgiving for what God has done for us; it is appropriate to worship Him at ANY time… the sooner, the better!

Some other thoughts from the Duet of “Debbie” and “Barry”:

1.)  There are some very interesting connections that can be made from this Song and other Songs of The Bible.  The first recorded Song in Scripture is in Exodus 15, which also involved a duet (Moses and his sister Miriam).  That Song also occurred after being victorious against an army using chariots; who were thwarted by a miraculous surge of water (Compare Exodus 14:25 and Judges 5:20-21).  Like virtually all other Songs in The Bible, a key theme is celebrating God’s just deliverance of His people against His enemies.  In these songs, the lowly are lifted high and honored by God; while the arrogant are brought low and stripped of their power by Him.

There is also a very peculiar connection between Jael (the unlikely assassin of General Sisera) and Mary (the mother of Jesus).  Compare Judges 5:24 and Luke 1:42; looking at how Jael is given the honor of being most “blessed” amongst women by Deborah, with Mary receiving virtually the same greeting by Elizabeth.  It was after this greeting/blessing that Mary sings her Song of thankfulness for all that God has done (and will do) through the birth of Jesus.

2.)   One other important thing that I wanted to focus on in this passage is the focus on those who “show up” to fight for the Lord; as compared to those who make excuses as to why they can’t contribute.  Just look at some of these passages from Judges 5:

2 “When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves— praise the Lord!

9 My heart is with Israel’s princes, with the willing volunteers among the people. Praise the Lord!

13 “Then the men who were left came down to the nobles; the people of the Lord came to me with the mighty. 14 Some came from Ephraim, whose roots were in Amalek; Benjamin was with the people who followed you. From Makir captains came down, from Zebulun those who bear a commander’s staff. 15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah; yes, Issachar was with Barak, rushing after him into the valley.

In the districts of Reuben, there was much searching of heart. 16 Why did you stay among the campfires to hear the whistling for the flocks? In the districts of Reuben there was much searching of heart. 17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan. And Dan, why did he linger by the ships? Asher remained on the coast and stayed in his coves.

18 The people of Zebulun risked their very lives; so did Naphtali on the heights of the field.

23 ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the Lord. ‘Curse its people bitterly, because they did not come to help the Lord, to help the Lord against the mighty.’

31 “So may all your enemies perish, O Lord! But may they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.”

 Verse 13 makes a not-so-subtle statement that could be translated “out of those who actually showed up to help.”  In this Song, the line is drawn very clearly that all of the surrounding tribes of Israel had received a call to send their fighting men to join together against a common foe… but not all tribes the answered that call.  There was much “searching of the heart”… with not much faith in God to be found there.  Like many in our world today, they assumed that others would do the work of God.  They rationalized that they were too busy to help.  They excused themselves from this task… and therefore forfeited the blessings that came with it.

In whatever task God calls you to, do you “rush off” to do it… or try to find ways out of it?

When God invites you into a specific ministry role within the church, do you “willingly offer” yourself… or readily provide an excuse as to why that’s not doable for you right now?

When you see a need that you could help meet (either locally or globally), do you “take the lead” to offer whatever help you can… or wait for someone else to step up and do it?

May we not linger near our safe “ships” and come out from our comfortable “coves” so that we can then be a part of the celebration when God does great things through our willing hands!  May we believe that our strength to do the tasks God calls us to will rise like the sun within us as we take a step of faith in Him!

Blessings,

Pastor Josh Mackenstein

Published in: on June 23, 2012 at 8:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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