Be an Encourager

Key Verse: “And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee?”
—Judges 4:14

Selected Scripture:
Judges 4:1-22

OUR LESSON TAKES place in the experiences of Israel during the time of the Judges. Israel had inherited the promised land of Canaan. They were supposed to have conquered and driven out the residents of Canaan, but had failed to do so completely. Time and again they fell into the idolatry of their neighbors and were punished by being dominated by a neighboring nation or resident group in Canaan. And each time Israel cried to the Lord for help.

After being delivered in recent time by Ehud from Moab, they again did evil and were given into the hand of Jabin, a king of Canaan who reigned in Hazor. He had a huge army under his general, Sisera, and fighting equipment of 900 chariots of iron. He was able to cruelly oppress Israel for twenty years.

God answered Israel’s cry for help by raising up Deborah, a prophetess and faithful woman, who perceived that neglect of Divine Law had been responsible for subjugation of her people, and that what was needed was to guide them back to God. In his dealings with her, God indicated that Jabin’s army under Sisera would be drawn to the valley of Megiddo by the river Kishon in preparation to attack the southern part of Canaan. She was to ask Barak to come and take ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun of northern Canaan to prepare for battle and camp at Mt. Tabor.

Although Barak complied, he was reluctant to go against this vast army unless Deborah also went with him. She consented, but told him that he would lose honor. See Judges 4:9.

On the day of Sisera’s planned invasion, his attention was turned toward Barak’s encampment on Mt. Tabor, and he turned to fight and overwhelm Barak’s army. Deborah told Barak, to arise and descend from Mt. Tabor toward Sisera’s army, because the Lord would deliver him into his hand, and had already proceeded ahead of Barak to do so. (Judg. 4:14) Indeed, the Lord preceded him and unleashed a torrential rain upon Sisera’s army that flooded the River Kishon, drowning and sweeping away many men of his army and miring his chariots of iron in the mud, making them useless. Barak’s army swept down upon these helpless men and slaughtered them. In the song of triumph sung by Deborah and Barak these details are made clear. See Judges 5:18-23.

In the midst of this defeat, General Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled on foot seeking refuge in the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. The Kenites were at peace with Jabin and were not supposed to be his enemies, but when he fell asleep, she killed him. Barak, who pursued him, found him dead in Jael’s tent, as predicted by Deborah. This was the first battle of Armageddon, and clearly the victory was the Lord’s as he fought for his people, Israel. The Scriptures then said that “the land had rest forty years.”—Judg. 5:31

In this discouraging world, it is so encouraging to know that the imminent final Battle of Armageddon will likewise be a clear victory for our Lord, as outlined in Revelation 16:13-16 and Revelation 19:11-21. Praise be to God for his wonderful plan!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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