May 11th, 2019
Sustained by God’s Word of Faith
Judges 5:1-31: Today’s reading is known as the Song of Deborah and Barak. It is a song praising God for defeating Jabin and the Canaanite army. In poetic form, it provides details about the battle and Israel’s victory.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: JUDGES 5:5
The mountains quaked before the LORD of Sinai, before the LORD, the God of Israel.
THE SONG OF DEBORAH AND BARAK
1On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:
2Praise the Lord!
The Israelites were determined to fight;
the people gladly volunteered.
3Listen, you kings!
Pay attention, you rulers!
I will sing and play music
to Israel’s God, the Lord.
4Lord, when you left the mountains of Seir,
when you came out of the region of Edom,
the earth shook, and rain fell from the sky.
Yes, water poured down from the clouds.
5 The mountains quaked before the Lord of Sinai,
before the Lord, the God of Israel.
6In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
in the days of Jael,
caravans no longer went through the land,
and travelers used the back roads.
7The towns of Israel stood abandoned, Deborah;
they stood empty until you came,
came like a mother for Israel.
8Then there was war in the land
when the Israelites chose new gods.
Of the forty thousand men in Israel,
did anyone carry shield or spear?
9My heart is with the commanders of Israel,
with the people who gladly volunteered.
Praise the Lord!
10Tell of it, you that ride on white donkeys,
sitting on saddles,
and you that must walk wherever you go.
11Listen! The noisy crowds around the wells
are telling of the Lord’s victories,
the victories of Israel’s people!
Then the Lord’s people marched down from their cities.
12Lead on, Deborah, lead on!
Lead on! Sing a song! Lead on!
Forward, Barak son of Abinoam,
lead your captives away!
13Then the faithful ones came down to their leaders;
the Lord’s people came to him ready to fight.
14They came from Ephraim into the valley,
behind the tribe of Benjamin and its people.
The commanders came down from Machir,
the officers down from Zebulun.
15The leaders of Issachar came with Deborah;
yes, Issachar came and Barak too,
and they followed him into the valley.
But the tribe of Reuben was divided;
they could not decide to come.
16Why did they stay behind with the sheep?
To listen to shepherds calling the flocks?
Yes, the tribe of Reuben was divided;
they could not decide to come.
17The tribe of Gad stayed east of the Jordan,
and the tribe of Dan remained by the ships.
The tribe of Asher stayed by the seacoast;
they remained along the shore.
18But the people of Zebulun and Naphtali
risked their lives on the battlefield.
19At Taanach, by the stream of Megiddo,
the kings came and fought;
the kings of Canaan fought,
but they took no silver away.
20The stars fought from the sky;
as they moved across the sky,
they fought against Sisera.
21A flood in the Kishon swept them away—
the onrushing Kishon River.
I shall march, march on, with strength!
22Then the horses came galloping on,
stamping the ground with their hoofs.
23“Put a curse on Meroz,” says the angel of the Lord,
“a curse, a curse on those who live there.
They did not come to help the Lord,
come as soldiers to fight for him.”
24The most fortunate of women is Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite—
the most fortunate of women who live in tents.
25Sisera asked for water, but she gave him milk;
she brought him cream in a beautiful bowl.
26She took a tent peg in one hand,
a worker’s hammer in the other;
she struck Sisera and crushed his skull;
she pierced him through the head.
27He sank to his knees,
fell down and lay still at her feet.
At her feet he sank to his knees and fell;
he fell to the ground, dead.
28Sisera’s mother looked out of the window;
she gazed from behind the lattice.
“Why is his chariot so late in coming?” she asked.
“Why are his horses so slow to return?”
29Her wisest friends answered her,
and she told herself over and over,
30“They are only finding things to capture and divide,
a woman or two for every soldier,
rich cloth for Sisera,
embroidered pieces for the neck of the queen.”
31So may all your enemies die like that, O Lord,
but may your friends shine like the rising sun!
And there was peace in the land for forty years.
Today’s reading is a victory hymn that is believed to be one of the oldest Old Testament texts. What details about the battle and victory are recounted in this song? What verses attest to the power of Israel’s God? Verses 28-30 describe how the mother of Sisera (the commander of the Canaanite army) is waiting for her son to return from battle. What is she worried about? How do her friends seek to reassure her? Do you know anyone who has a loved one serving in the armed forces? If so, in what ways can you be a source of support for them?
I sing your praises, Lord God! You are powerful and victorious, and I thank you for your steadfast love and faithfulness. Amen.
Judges 6:1-27: Gideon is chosen as Israel’s next leader.