Deborah: Praising God for Victory

Today’s Reading: Judges 4:1-5:9; SOAP: Judges 5:3-9

“Listen, you kings!
    Pay attention, you mighty rulers!
For I will sing to the Lord.
    I will make music to the Lord, the God of Israel.

“Lord, when you set out from Seir
    and marched across the fields of Edom,
the earth trembled,
    and the cloudy skies poured down rain.
The mountains quaked in the presence of the Lord,
    the God of Mount Sinai—
in the presence of the Lord,
    the God of Israel.

“In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
    and in the days of Jael,
people avoided the main roads,
    and travelers stayed on winding pathways.
There were few people left in the villages of Israel[b]
    until Deborah arose as a mother for Israel.
When Israel chose new gods,
    war erupted at the city gates.
Yet not a shield or spear could be seen
    among forty thousand warriors in Israel!
My heart is with the commanders of Israel,
    with those who volunteered for war.
Praise the Lord!

Judges 5:3-9

The first part of the story is important in understanding and appreciating the victory, so let’s take a look…

  • The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight
  • The LORD turned them over to King Jabin of Canaan
  • The army’s general was Sisera
  • The Israelites cried out to the LORD for help because Sisera’s army was strong and he had cruelly oppressed them for twenty years

Meanwhile, God is working through a Prophetess named Deborah. Verse four says that she was leading Israel at the time of Sisera’s oppression of Israel. One day Deborah brought the commander of Israel’s army to her and reminded him what God had called him to do, which was to go to battle against Sisera and Jabin’s army. Deborah encouraged his obedience by promising her help (6-9). When Barak agreed she made sure he understood that while the victory would belong to Israel, he would not be the one gaining fame. She explained that the LORD would turn Sisera over to a woman, which is exactly what happened (14-24).

The Victory Song

Deborah’s song of praise that she sang with Barak did not focus on HOW the victory humanly took place, nor on who the “people were” that brought down the enemies – BUT on God alone! It was specific to what God had done and how He had used Deborah as a motherly protector in Israel.

How Then Should We Live?

We may not sit in a judge’s seat or rule God’s people from under a tree but we would be right to encourage others to do what God has called them to do, as Deborah did with Barak. The author of Hebrews said that we must encourage one another daily so that no one becomes hardened by sins deceitfulness.

We would also be right and wise to sing a victory praise song to celebrate God’s goodness, focusing the praise on Him and what He did.

 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.

Hebrews 3:13 CSB
Prayer Response:

Father – victory is ours through Jesus Christ! May we be quick to sing Your praises – specific to what you’ve done and always focused on You. – AMEN!

Your Turn:

What’s your take away from Deborah’s story?

Reflection Questions:

Deborah praised God in the midst of battle.

  • Why is this important for us to do as well?
  • Why is it important to remember how God has fought on our behalf?
  • What can we learn from Deborah’s example?
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