Judges ~ Chapter Five
Read: Judges 5:1-31
"Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying:
"When leaders lead in Israel, when the people 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."
The people of Israel had just experienced a great national victory, and so they were called together in a united concert of praise to celebrate and to sing of the mighty saving acts of the Lord. Deborah did what other great leaders had done before her, turning the powerful experience into a poetic anthem for generations to come to sing in praise to the Lord (The Song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-18 (Song of Miriam (v. 21)) and Deuteronomy 32:1-43)). "I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!" (Exodus 15:1). Deborah's victory song extolled the greatness of Israel's Divine Warrior, who marched ahead of His people, clearing the way, and fighting valiantly, from the beginning of their formation as a nation. "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 gushed before the LORD, this Sinai, before the LORD God of Israel" (vv. 4, 5). The whole earth shook at the appearance of the Majestic Glory, when He came down and visited His people. The Lord gave birth to His people Israel, caring for them as a tender Father and nurturing them as a mother would. "...the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you" (Deuteronomy 32:17, 18). When their spiritual condition was at an all-time low, He raised up Deborah to be a comforting mother for them to express His concern for their welfare on a deep and personal level. "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" (vv. 6, 7). Israel was in a state of distress under the hand of a cruel tyrant. The whole country was desolate. Trade and commerce had ceased, the streets were empty, the highways were unoccupied. All travel had ceased, and the inhabitants were walled up inside the cities, while war waited at their gates. Their idolatry had provoked the hand of God against them (v. 8). Their own sin brought judgment upon them. When they cried out in distress, the Lord delivered them. He raised up deliverers, united the people in battle, and unleashed the powers of heaven to fight in Israel's behalf. "They fought from the heavens; the stars from their courses fought against Sisera. The torrent of Kishon swept them away, that ancient torrent, the torrent of Kishon. O my soul, march on in strength!" (vv. 20, 21). This past year, the whole world looked much like the landscape of Israel described in Deborah's hymn. Our Mighty Warrior has broken the power of sin on the Cross, but while we live in this world we are faced with sins' tyrannical presence until our great Judge returns for the "battle of the great day of God Almighty" (Revelation 16:14-16), to fight the final battle between good and evil on the battlefield that Deborah and Barak (Judges 5:19) as well as Gideon (Judges 6-7) defeated Israel's enemies. May we not sit idly by on the sidelines while the cruel tyrant of our souls seeks to gain precious ground that belongs to the Lord, but rather "offer ourselves willingly," in this, the day of our battle, bringing encouragement and comfort to our brothers and sisters to fight the battle over sin and the flesh valiantly, as we go forth triumphantly singing songs of praise for the victory we have in Christ Jesus. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4).
"And now my head shall be lifted above my enemies all around me;
therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD."
"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."
From beginning to end, the Song of Deborah is a call to the people of God to worship and bless the Lord. May her hymn awaken our hearts to greater praise in 2021! "Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and lead your captives away, O son of Abinoam!" (v. 12). Like Israel, we have found ourselves weakened in the land of our captivity and overtime, because of neglect of His Word and prayer, our spiritual muscles have grown sluggish and fatigued. The burdens and toils of daily life and the struggles and trials over the past year have made many weary and sorrowful. May the Lord use this song, at the beginning of the new year, to tune our heart strings and awaken our memory to past victories of days gone by. May the "God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that the eyes of your understanding be enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what it the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:17-23). May we meditate on His mercies and not on our miseries as He tunes our heartstrings to songs of loudest praise. May every faculty be awakened to magnify and bless His holy name. He who awakens the mountains, the rain, the thunder, and the sea, and enlists them to fight on behalf of His people, deserves our highest honor and praise. "Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth" (Psalm 115:1). Shall we, whom He has created for His glory, remain silent when all other aspects of His creation, along with the heavenly hosts, voice their perpetual praise?! Our Redeemer Lives! And He deserves the best of our songs. Our continual occupation in heaven will one day be His constant praise; may we not wait any longer to bring our King the glory due His marvelous name. Let us bring the best of heaven to earth this year, while we live for His glory and worship Him with all our hearts, as we pray for the destruction of all His enemies! "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" "Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" (Revelation 5:12, 13b).
"Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered;
let those also who hate Him flee before Him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God;
yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.
Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name YAH, and rejoice before Him."