Scripture: "Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose a mother in Israel." (Judges 5:7 NIV)
Scripture: "The Lord turned to him and said, 'Go in the strength I give you, and you shall save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?'" (Judges 6:14)
Scripture: "I have come down to deliver My people out of the hands of the Egyptians....And I am sending YOU." (Exodus 3:8,10)
The grace and peace of the Holy Spirit be with you! I have just returned from another retreat. The hunger in people is rising. The darker the world gets the more the eyes of hearts are being flooded with light. People long for more. They long to experience God. They are no longer satisfied with listening to what God did "back then." They want to see Him move NOW! Sometimes, my friends, we are waiting for Him to come and waiting for Him to speak, but we still don't believe He would come or speak to ME. My experience of God is that He's waiting and waiting for the people (regular folks like you and me) who will just believe Him and show up for duty! And when He can't seem to find any of those, He loves to go after the least likely characters to do some incredible feat like save a nation. The hound of heaven didn't just come down to the ones we know as Bible heroes. It wasn't like He waited until they had deep wisdom, understanding of the ways of God, and had made a firm choice to repent and live for Him. In the case of Moses, he was shepherding his father-in-law's sheep, out in the middle of nowhere. Hiding out seemed the right decision when you were wanted for murder! And Gideon was hiding from the Midianites who destroyed all of Israel's crops year after year after year. Neither were planning their prodigal son speech. Clearly when the Lord broke into their little worlds, no one was more shocked than they were. And if that wasn't enough, God told the murderer and the "scaredy cat" that He was going to use them to save the nation. They hemmed and hawed and gave excuse after excuse, but God would not veer from His plan. You see, victory did not take their great skill. As a matter of fact, put yourself in that scene. It could have been you. Skill is not the prerequisite of victory when the Lord is in control. He just needs two things: belief and obedience.
The Lord was so beautifully patient with both of these men. Step by step He gave them opportunities to step out in faith. Each time they did, He was faithful to do what He said He would do. Day by day their faith was built as they watched His mighty hand at work. Sometimes it was so incredible that instantly their faith was built and they began to believe for more and more. That happened over and over until the major victory was won. Make no mistake. These victories that we recall over and over as Bible stories speak of God's amazing power and creativity. Any one of us could have been used. But not every one of us will be. Why? Because God doesn't want to? NO! Because so many of us refuse to go to war with our "stinkin' thinkin" that we have to BE something first, before He can choose us to DO something through us. The only requirement is that you SHOW UP! It's not about you and it's not about me! Moses and Gideon didn't end their lives as perfect people. They ended their lives just ordinary people, but they had an extraordinary God.
The enemy wants to keep you trapped in all the "you're nots." He's right. You're not! Neither am I. But that's the astoundingly GOOD NEWS of the Gospel. We are not, but HE IS, and He came to not only save us and set us free from all the devil's nonsense, but to fill us with Himself so that we shine so bright that Satan is blinded, and more and more people can come into the true knowledge of Jesus Christ and His love and freedom.
There was an amazing woman who knew the truth. Deborah was the only female judge. You can read about her in Judges 4-5. Deborah was known for her wisdom and intimacy with the Lord. People would come to her for counsel. She had a prophetic gift, and at a time when Israel continued sinning against the Lord, He gave them over to an evil king. Deborah felt the Lord's call to rise up. She didn't sit around and tell God how He couldn't possibly use her. Her friendship with Him was so deep that she knew His voice. The Lord is always reaching out a hand to rescue His people. And He knew He could trust Deborah. He called her forth and when He spoke, she took Him at His Word and obeyed. She summoned Barak, the head of the army, and called him into active duty. She even told him that she would lure Sisera, the leader of the king's army, and deliver Sisera into Barak's hand. Barak, the head of the army, was too afraid to go into battle without Deborah. She agreed but told him that Sisera would actually be taken down by a woman.
As the story unfolds, all that Deborah said came true. Sisera found himself trapped in battle, so he fled by foot. He escaped to a nearby encampment, and a woman named Ja-el lured him into her tent. When he felt safe, he fell asleep. She grabbed a tent peg and a hammer and drove it through his head. Then she presented the dead king to Barak. "And the hand of the Israelites bore more and more on the armies of the king until they had destroyed him." (Judges 4:24) At the end of Judges 4 there was a wee bit of rejoicing in the land! They praised Him and came back into obedience to Him. (Until the next chapter!!)
What lessons do we need to learn from Moses, Gideon and Deborah right now?
1) YES, YOU. "You did not choose Me, I chose you, to go and bear fruit that will last." (John 15:16)
2) NO EXCUSES. "Peace be with you. AS the Father sent Me, so I am sending you." (John 20:21)
3) BELIEVE HIM. "So, let us hold fast without wavering to the hope we profess, for He who has promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23)
4) EXPECT A MIRACLE. "For you will do the same works I do and greater ones because I go to the Father." (John 14:12)
5) GROW YOUR INTIMACY. "If you live in Me--abide--and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you." (John 15:7)
6) FAITH MEANS RISK. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not rely on your own intelligence. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
7) IN A CRISIS---STAND. "And when you have done all that the crisis demands, stand your ground." (Ephesians 6:13)
8) KEEP YOUR EYES ON HIM. "The Lord will fight...in order to do what He intends to do, strange as His actions may seem. He will complete His work, His mysterious work." (Isaiah 28:21)
9) DO NOT GROW WEARY. "Do not grow weary doing good, for in due time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)
10) PRAISE HIM! "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and praise His Name! For the Lord is good; His mercy and lovingkindness are everlasting; His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations." (Psalm 100:4-5)
People of God, today is the day to RISE UP. We have the privilege to live in this season. How He must trust us to choose us for this time. RISE UP. This is not a time to cower in our winepress like Gideon or give God 100 excuses like Moses. God is looking for Deborahs who will trust how He is speaking and moving and run to the front lines to serve Him. Remember His promise. He will not leave us orphans. (John 14:18) The God of angel armies is with us! So, let's RISE UP, my friends. And keep your eye open for that burning bush today. The Lord is with you!
All glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Let's keep each other in prayer.
We are called to wield the weapons of the Lord and make culture bow to Him. Contrary to the news, it is NOT the other way around! RISE UP, warriors. The Lord is calling us. We're in for a great adventure!