Old Testament: Judges 4:1-5:31
Judges 4:1-24 Nailed!
A long time ago when I was first saved, I told the advisor of our Christian group that I thought men should be head of the household. This was in the 70’s in the midst of the women’s liberation movement. He asked if I could support that idea in Scripture. He suggested Deborah as an illustration of women leadership. I looked at the passage.
Years later, I preached Judges 4 and 5 as a “first person” sermon. A “first person sermon” is a dramatization. I had done a sermon as Peter and also a revolutionary war preacher explaining Revelation 12 in the past. Judges 4 and 5 are perfect for this approach because chapter 4 is history but chapter 5 is poetry that fills in some of the story.
Here’s the deal. Israel had once again fallen from obedience and cried out to the Lord. Understand that when Israel cries out, it is not out of genuine repentance. It is just because they are hurting and they want some relief! 2 Corinthians 7: 10 says, “For the sorrow that is according to [the will] [of] God produces a repentance without regret, [leading] to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” This was not true repentance. Repentance means literally a “change of mind.” The Israelites were not actually changing their minds. They were just hurting.
Nevertheless, God looked for someone to lead His people out of their bondage. I don’t think He found any men which would have been His first choice. God always uses male leadership as a priority (cf. 1Tim. 1: 12). There were women deacons (Rom. 16: 1) and there are women who teach other women but as a priority God uses men. Don’t bellyache with me. I didn’t write this stuff! Here is what J. Vernon McGee said in his commentary published in 1982.
“Regardless of what you might think (and I know I may sound very out of date, especially in this day of women’s rights), America is paying an awful price for taking women into its defense system and into industry. I made this statement as far back as 1948, and I am no prophet, but I predicted a backwash of immorality if women left the home. Well, it certainly came to pass. First there was an epidemic of women shooting their husbands, deserting their children, becoming dope peddlers, and committing suicide. There are many things that are considered a menace in our country — inflation, crime, foreign aggression — but I feel that the greatest danger is that women are leaving their place in the home.”
Yahweh chose Deborah. Why? I think it’s pretty evident in the passage. There weren’t any men capable of leading the country! Look at chap. 5, verse 6-7. Deborah wasn’t ambitious. There were no leaders in the land. In the days of Shamgar apparently people were afraid to use the highway. Deborah felt like she had to do something to protect her children.
Deborah means, “honeybee.” You can get really stung by a honeybee. But I guess if you get stung, it’ll be sweet. I think Barak was stung by the honeybee. McGee calls Barak a wuss. Actually, he calls him a “sissy.” But a “sissy” is a wuss. He was a general but didn’t want to go to battle without his “mommy.” OK, Deborah wasn’t exactly his mommy but I think Barak thought of her that way to a certain extent.
Says McGee (blame him!) commenting on Judges 5: 5-6, “Then her song mentions that lack of leadership, rulers had ceased to rule. There was no great man who could lead. Deborah was a mother. She had a mother’s heart. Very candidly, she did not want to take the lead, but there was no man to assume the leadership. How tragic was this situation.”
Deborah prophecied that since Barak was reluctant to take the lead, a woman would get the glory for the victory that the Lord was going to give (Judg. 4: 9). This would be a humiliation for Barak as a man. And it was Yahweh who was putting all the forces in motion to humiliate him.
Here’s how the battle went down. The Israelites attacked King Jabin whose captain was Sisera. You think that the Canaanites had the edge since they had 90 iron chariots (v. 1). That would be like going against Patton in WWII on foot. The Canaanites had harassed the Israelites for twenty years (v. 1) What the Cananites had not counted on was the weather change. It rained in the dry season and flooded the field of battle neutralizing the tanks, I mean, chariots. The great Canaanite warriors fled the field of battle. Their commander, Sisera, the hero that he was, led the retreat.
Sisera ran into the area ruled by his ally King Heber. So no prob, he’d catch his breath, take a nap and move on. Lucky guy that he was, he met the wife of King Heber, Jael (not Superman’s dad whose name was Jor-el!). She let Sisera use her tent. He knew no one would look for him in the king’s tent especially since he told Jael to lie if anyone asked if someone was in the tent. He asked her for some water and she gave him some milk. He fell asleep, perfectly secure and feeling very safe.
The women in that age were usually responsible for pitching the tents so Jael would have been good with a hammer and a tent peg. After Sisera dozed off, Jael fulfilled Deborah’s prophecy by putting a tent peg right through his noggin.
The women, Deborah and Jael, saved the area from the men and in place of the men. The peace lasted for twenty years.
New Testament: Luke 22:35-53
Luke 22: 35-38 Cross-ed Swords
Jesus asked the disciples if they had needed anything when He sent them out without any money or shoes. They said they didn’t need anything. Jesus told them that the strategy had changed and now they were to take their wallets and a sword. The disciples said they had two swords which Jesus said would be enough.
Luke 22: 39-46 Bad Exercise
As usual, Jesus went up the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, to pray. He was about ninety feet from them. They could hear Him ask the Father to take the cup away from Him but He wanted to do what the Father wanted Him to. Luke, the MD, was the only gospel writer to mention that Jesus was praying so intensely that He sweat what looked like blood (possibly a disorder named “hematidrosis”). It was an actual medical condition that occurred when someone is extremely distraught. What was disturbing Jesus to that extent? We don’t understand how close Jesus and the Father were. He knew that the plan was for Him to take on the sin of the world. He wasn’t worried about dying. He wasn’t troubled by the physical pain of torture. But He was exercised to think that He was going to be separated from the Father and it horrified Him to take on the sin of the world.
Perhaps Jesus’ words about dying had scared the disciples or the threat to their lives. Whatever it was, they were asleep for “sorrow” (v. 45). Jesus reminded them again to be careful they were not tempted.
Luke 22: 39-46 Kissed To Death
Judas came to Him in the garden with a crowd. Judas approached Jesus to kiss Him, a predetermined sign to the soldiers to seize Him. Jesus asked if Judas was really going to betray Him with a form of endearment. The disciples wanted to use their swords on him. Peter was probably aiming for the high priest’s servant’s neck but sliced off his ear. Jesus protected his disciples by slapping the ear back on the guy. Luke is the only one who mentions that Jesus healed the man (v. 51). John is the only gospel writer who names the perp as Simon Peter and names the man, Malchus (Jn. 18: 10).
Jesus tested the religious leaders that had come to get Him. He asked why they came to the garden to get Him with weapons when He had been teaching in the open in the Temple every day. He said the whole thing was rather “dark” (v. 53).