"Do not just hear the Word of God and think hearing is enough. DO what it says!" James 1:22

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lesson 9, Servants of God

Judges 4-5

Our Wrap Up from Mrs. Gettelfinger...

Once again the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord by serving Baal, and suffered as a result by having to serve their ungodly oppressors.

Deborah, an obviously godly woman, prophesies to Barak that God is telling him to “Go and defend your people!” God’s words through Deborah promise to “lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands” (Judges 4:6-7.)

Barak refuses to pursue the enemy without having Deborah with him. We don’t really know Barak’s reasons for his request of her accompaniment. Perhaps because of her being one of God’s judges, he knew her faith was greater than anyone else's. It sure is nice to have someone of great faith with us when we experience trouble in our lives. Perhaps he lacked confidence in himself and needed Deborah’s encouragement by saying, “You got this, dude! You can do this!” OR perhaps he lacked faith in HOW God would accomplish this task. Think about it... at this point in history, after Ehud had died, the Israelites had been in oppression under king Jaben for TWENTY YEARS.

And what are we to say of Jael? “Way to go, girlfriend!” Sometimes people read about the women of the Bible and see them as being “property” of their husbands or at the least, submissive to their husband’s rules. Jael shows the perfect example of knowing who the One True God is and how we are to be submissive to Him FIRST. Her husband probably would not have suggested Sisera be killed. Jael’s people and Sisera’s people were at peace with each other. But Jael doesn’t stop to consult her husband. We know from Deborah’s prophecy that Jael is called by God when He said, “for the LORD will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman” (Judges 4:9.)

Before our Core Group time, the students were given homemade hot cocoa to enjoy while getting started in sharing their lesson with each other.  Some students didn't like the flavor.  Some complained about it being too hot.  Most seem to like it.  But ALL agreed about how RECEIVING it made them FEEL.  Some of the ways they described how they felt were... warm inside (without having even drank it,) happy, surprised, special.  These were the exact feelings Jael intended to create for Sisera when she brought him milk instead of water.  And although the purpose for her intentions were to carry out a Godly mission in battle, the point is that what she did caused Sisera to TRUST her.

The Bible tells us of many different people in many different situations. At times, the people seem to have done everything just right. At other times, things are not so perfect.

Barak was willing to follow God’s orders, IF... if Deborah would go with him. This is similar to Moses’ reaction at the burning bush. Moses would go confront Pharaoh, IF... if his brother Aaron could do all the talking (Exodus 3:10-14.)

In both cases God had promised a wonderful outcome. (Here we go again... talking about God’s promises.) God promised in both situations that HE would do the work. Still both men were very hesitant to obey. Each man lacked enough faith to do things 100% God’s way. Yet despite their lack of faith, both Moses and Barak were certainly used by God. Surely each man DID have SOME faith. The Bible says we can do great things with faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20.)

Few people in the Bible practice perfect faith. And those who had great faith, usually did not practice it all the time. (Compare Genesis 12:4 to Genesis 12:12. Remember this was when God told Abram to “Go! Go from your family and live in a land I am promising to you and your descendants.” And then at some point on the journey, Abram lied to the Egyptians about Sarai being his wife.)

We should be encouraged by the words spoken by a desperate father in Mark 9:24, “I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!” This is a prayer that every person can and should pray. Faith is not something we can just pick up and set down. Faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8)

“God’s Grace has been GIVEN to me... keep in mind the amount of FAITH God has GIVEN to you.” -Romans 12:3

When you find yourself with questions or worries, will you ask God to strengthen your faith? Ask God to “highlight” examples of great faith for you to follow. Ask for these examples to be "highlighted" in God's Word as well as real people in your own life.  Will you ask God to make you like these examples... like the example of Abraham. “He was absolutely sure that God had the power to do what He had promised.” -Romans 4:21

Remember, God’s promises are trustworthy... and powerful.

reference: Bible Lessons for Kidz