DEAL WITH SIN OR GOD WILL DEAL WITH YOU
Faith in Dire Times
Jerry A Collins
v What happens when you have to go to war?
v Are you willing to be a hero for God?
v Make sure you give the credit to God?
Life sometimes requires of us to be valiant warriors. Times that require us to be brave, courageous, heroic, fearless, and noble. Times when we are distressed and demand that our faith in God be tested. This is especially true when the issues are spiritual in nature. When truth is at stake. When the will of God is considered. Actually we should welcome these dire times because then God is able to display Himself in marvelous ways that afterward allow us to give Him tribute. When we can clearly acknowledge the power and sovereignty of our God because it was so evident that He intervened & delivered. We can say more about God because of the dire times than we ever could have without these. Here we have a hymn of victory—a song that reflects upon a dire moment and gives God the credit for deliverance. We need to have more of these songs ourselves.
GOD IS ON THE MOVE WHEN WE FACE DIRE TIMES
God is not sitting back unconcerned about your dire situation. He knows and He cares and He is working. He has not left you to fend for yourself. I cannot think of one time I faced a dire situation that God has not shown up. He is on the move in yours even now. It can be a waiting game for sure but God supplies, directs, supports, and encourages us all along the way.
(1) Our God is worthy of our praise 1-5 Deborah says so and many millions have echoed the same praise down throughout the centuries. In vs 2 praise given to the leaders who led in Israel. This is in reference to the commanders on the field vs 9 who did the work to bring victory against the enemy. Deborah acknowledges their valiant leadership. Especially as it related to the volunteer spirit it aroused amongst the people to fight the enemy. There was some significant inspirational leadership that was necessary to rouse the people to fight. They willingly offered themselves—same word as free will offering of Lev 7:16-23. The people offered themselves like a free will offering. So the adage, Bless the Lord, the one who is really behind this inspirational leadership and mustering of the people. The people are prepared now to fight a battle God wants them to fight. Their preparation is just as essential as their prosecution of the war. In case no one is aware of who this God is, She identifies Him as the one associated with Mt Seir-mountains east of the red sea where Israel had her beginnings in escape from Egypt—via Edom into Israel. So this God is the one associated with all of the events of Moses prior to crossing the Jordan and under Joshua who did cross it vs. 3-5. So God was on the move and He was in this battle. Can you imagine the confidence in the faithful as they had recounted God on the move in the past and connecting those dots to the present could face the mounting distress in faith and hope? Our God is worthy of this praise. Go ahead and praise Him ahead of time before you can even see His hand at work. God is good we often say because of something positive that has happened but God’s work even before it happens I good. Can you acknowledge that to God?
(2) Our lives are filled with distress and difficulties 6-8 Shamgar in vs 6 is the 3rd judge—the one before Deborah. The situation in northern Israel was dire. Outside of the fortified walls of the northern tribes, life in the villages and on the highways was precarious and at a standstill because of the oppression of the Canaanites. This oppression cake right up to the entrance of the city gates in these walled cities vs 8. Sisera’s chariot-fitted army controlled the roads so they had to travel via the hills and dales vs 6. The peasantry cased gleaning the fields for food vs 7. The reason for the oppression and no resistance to this evil oppression by the tribes was the inclusion of gods vs 8 amongst the people. The oppression of Sisera was so successful that not a shield of spear was seen in the north. Jabin and Sisera had a stranglehold on the entire region for 20 years. Some difficulties come and go because life is just that way. And some distress we cause ourselves. Israel increased the oppression and baggage because of sidelining God. They forgot God but did not forget their idols! It is too easy to place God on the back-burner of our lives, marginalizing him, setting Him aside, and replacing Him. Some dire times in our lives we just have to plainly admit are the result of our own decisions, our own rebellion, our own disobedience.
(3) Give God the credit for your deliverance from or thru dire times 10-11 Here is a general call to worship because of the prosperity vs 10 that now exists in the land with the oppression removed—the rich on donkeys and carpet and the poor who walk along the roads. Freedom! Sing! Everywhere in the north—like the common watering places for animals—they are to give God the credit vs 11. Look at what God did for us! Amen! What can you recount?
YOU MUST DECIDE WHETHER TO MOVE WITH GOD IN YOUR DISTRESS
Each of the tribes had to make a decision to move with God to determine whether they would possess their possession.
(1) You must decide to initiate your move 12-13 The people came to Deborah, their judge, for help. Some decided to pursue God’s help and they knew where to go for that. Survivors of the oppression, the people came ready to take possession—came as warriors vs 13.
(2) Some decided to fight and others did not 15-18 5 ½ tribes—Ephraim, Benjamin, Machir (half tribe of Manesseh Num 26:29, Zebulum, Issachar, and Naphtali—who volunteered are praised for helping in battle. 4 ½ tribes are criticized—Reuben, Gilead (Gad and other half tribe of Manessah), Dan and Asher—who did not participate in the battle. Judah and Simeon are not mentioned. You can either determine to pursue God and His will in your dire situation or you can ignore God’s prescription because you have second thoughts about doing it God’s way like Reuben who had great resolve of heart but sat around and did nothing vs 16; you do not want to do that like Gilead staying on other side of Jordan; you are preoccupied with commerce and business like Dan and Asher vs 17.
(3) The battle is waged without you 19-23 In this case there was a great victory because of God’s intervention in an unanticipated torrent and deluge that flooded the marshy valley and rendered the chariots and horses of Sisera’s army useless. Now it was a level playing field and the Israelites had the advantage with this surprise and since they were used to fighting on the ground. The city of Meroz is cursed for not participating 23.
(4) It is better to not hesitate and choose to move with God in your distress 24-31 First, she was on God’s side against will of her husband. Second, she thought things through and planned her strategy. Third, She was not a prophet or scholar but used what she had to obey the Lord. Fourth, she was decisive and did not hesitate. Now Sisera’s mother can only fantasize of Sisera late coming back from battle dividing up the spoil 28-30. He never will.
(1) Contrast between Deborah mother of Israel vs 7 & mother of Sisera vs 28—true hope vs false; (2) Contrast Meroz & Jael—did not help in midst of others who did and one who helped in midst of those who did not. So stand up in distress and take up with God’s will.