Today’s reading: Judg 4:1–6:10, Phil 1:19–30, Ps 65:1–13
Today’s theme: A public faith
Today we learn that we hold a public faith, not a private opinion. We are called to trust in God openly and to proclaim the message of the Gospel in every sphere of life, to the glory of God. We also learn important lessons about putting our faith in God rather than man, and God’s created order for men and women.
Additional assurances, not needed
Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. Judges 4:8–9 (ESV)
God gave Barak assurance that He would deliver the enemy into his hand, yet Barak displayed a serious lack of faith, he was not willing to go and fight unless his condition of the prophetess going with him was met. For this lack of faith, Barak loses out on the glory and it is given to a woman instead.
God in His goodness is always looking to give good gifts to us but because of a lack of faith we can forfeit these blessings. When we do not trust God and demand additional assurances after He has already spoken to us, we may still be used by God but not to the fullest extent.
Barak wastes a lot of time and energy pursuing the glory of capturing the king. We can fall into the same trap, hopelessly trying to make up for our lack of faith when the opportunity has passed.
We must learn from this to be willing vessels to be used by God, responding in faith to His word. We must cast feelings of doubt and inadequacy aside and trust God as we serve Him in faith. see 2 Timothy 2:21
Guard against Feminism
But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died. And behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went in to her tent, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg in his temple. Judges 4:21–22 (ESV)
God often uses those that are weak and looked down upon, to accomplish His purpose. Deborah was used by God as a prophetess and judge, while Jael was used to exact God’s judgement on Sisera.
These two women who put their faith in God were both married and did not actively seek to rule over the people, but were chosen and used by God.
Those who believe in feminism may seek to use Deborah and Jael as examples of women breaking society’s shackles. However, Deborah does not fight in the actual battle as a warrior, she pronounces God’s plan to Barrack as a prophetess. All the other Judges fought for themselves as men, there is no example of where God calls women to war, it goes against God’s principles for women to fight in battle, they should be cherished and protected. Jael killed Sisera after the battle, not in the middle of conflict.
We must guard against the influence of feminism in our lives and in the church today, each of us should fulfil our God given role. see 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
Live and die for Christ
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21 (ESV)
If Jesus is the goal and centre of our lives, our perspective will be the same as Paul’s. We should live in this world as instruments in God’s hands, ambassadors of Christ, carriers of the great message of the Gospel concerning Christ, builders and heralds of His kingdom.
When we die we get the prize we are running after, the greatest treasure, the gift of the Gospel, the essence of the Good news is ours. We have Christ and are held by Him forever.
To die is our gain, we should not fear death. We are secure in Jesus, we will be with God forever in heaven and have rewards and pleasures beyond anything our minds can comprehend… let us live and die for/ in Christ.
…be with Christ
I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. Philippians 1:23 (ESV)
This verse is a simple apologetic against those like Jehovah Witnesses, who believe in soul sleep. The bible does not teach that our souls/spirits go into sleep or some intermediary state, rather, when we die in the Lord, our soul/spirit goes to be with the Lord immediately. The resurrection is concerning our bodies.
Progression and growth
Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, Philippians 1:25 (ESV)
We will have true joy in God as we progress and grow in the faith, do not be content to be a baby in Christ, have a heart that desires progression and growth, this will bring you great joy and be pleasing to God, as your faith is exercised.
A public faith
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, Philippians 1:27 (ESV)
Our faith is not a private matter of opinions and beliefs, it is a public declaration and message to all, a great proclamation that the King and His kingdom has come and all are bid to come and bow before Him.
As ambassadors and heralds of this message, we must live lives worthy of the gospel we proclaim. Live as though Jesus is the King, as though you are a subject in His kingdom, a soldier in His army, a worker in His field, a member of the royal family… live like this because this is the reality.
Chosen by God
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! Psalm 65:4 (ESV)
We are blessed, God chose to bring us close to Himself, we have been elected, we should live with that in mind. Our satisfaction should be in the gracious God who chose us to be saved. see John 15:16
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on to die is gain