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Character Sketches: Deborah


Recorded on April 28th, 2019

  • Video Version
  • Audio Version

Deborah was an amazing woman, who deserves an in-depth study on. Listen as Pastor Alissa Rothschild explores her amazing story.

Transcript of Sermon:

[Music] and miss Janet’s gonna read our scripture for us this morning today as judges 4 4 through 10 if y’all would like to follow along it’s in your bulletin and you can see how blessed I am to always receive the scriptures with the big long hard words when I saw your name was next on the list I laughed out loud at home I’m not okay now Debra a prophet the wife of Lepidus was leading Israel at the time she held court under the palm of Debra between Rama and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided she went before she sent for Barack son of ABY know’m from Kadesh in Naphtali and said to him the Lord the God of Israel commands you go take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and leave them up to Mount Tabor I will send to Sarah the commander of job ins army with his chariots and his troops to the Kashan River and give him into your hands Barak said to her if you go with me I will go but if you don’t go with me I won’t certainly I will go with you said Debra but because of the course you are taking the honor will be will not be yours for the Lord will deliver Caesarea into the hands of a woman so Debra went with Barak to Kadesh then burro summoned Zebulun and Naphtali and ten thousand men went up under his command deborah also went with him the Word of God for the people of God thanks be to God and well done GNN that was fabulous for Janet last week as mothers across the United States and from maybe worldwide we’re putting bows frilly little bows and pretty little girl hairs and beautiful Easter dresses they’re little girls and putting gingham outfits I learned gingham when I moved to the South by the way putting gingham outfits on little boys and getting them all ready for Easter and as you and I were driving here for our Sunday services thousands of miles away in Sri Lanka hundreds of people were losing their lives and I remember hearing that on my way here and I remember thinking why and how the juxtaposition position of those two things on Easter morning this beautiful ritual of beauty coming together of he’s risen of the spring morning of pretty little girls and curls and bows and Easter eggs and the pastel colors of Easter and the that He is risen He is risen indeed and then the horror that families were experiencing thousands of miles away at the same moment at the same time and and I didn’t talk about it much last week because it wasn’t the moment but today as I was getting ready for this scripture and honestly struggling with God about judges it seemed appropriate because judges the book of Judges is a difficult book of Scripture it’s just tough and it’s tough because it’s filled with lots of what happened in Sri Lanka last week it’s filled with lots of really horrible awful ugly things it’s filled with a lot of death and it’s filled with a lot of oppression and what I find most off-putting about lost week last week my response to it because my response to last week really was not so much shock when I heard it on the news it was just kind of like and I and I’m afraid to admit this but it’s kind of like another one part of me was just kind of dead to that news because there has been so much of that news there’s a part of my soul that is compartmentalizing that stuff because it’s become so normal 300 people dead is not such a big thing anymore in part of my soul because this world is filled with those things happening and it bothers me that my body does that that my brain has started to do that I hate that reaction of myself because there’s not one bit of God that does that every ounce of God weeps about every human soul that was lost on that day even though not one of them well actually I don’t know I can’t speak for any of them even though some of them may not have ever claimed to know him they were still his creations they were still his sons and daughters God is the author of all creation not just the creation who claims him and so today I want us to look at judges and maybe get some perspective into how we can look differently at our world and how we can change our hearts to keep them from becoming dead to the oppression and the hurt that we see around us because I believe that what’s happened is we’re not only dead to our hearts are becoming hardened to the atrocities that happen in this world number one because the big ones happened far away rarely not very often do they happen here they feel more real when they is that you that’s are alarming or or is that outside okay never mind I’ll ignore it pastors have to ignore all sorts of things I’m sorry we have to ignore people sleeping in anyway I’m gonna move on I’m gonna move on only one our hearts become hardened not to alarms that are outside apparently we still pay attention to those but they become hardened and today I want us to learn how to work to not have hard hearts because the reason why the Israelites found themselves in this situations over and over again is becomes they became hardened they became they became they became faithless and they didn’t work to follow God they decided just to let it all go because it became too hard for them so let’s start by looking at what judges is judges is a book that happens right after the book of Joshua and before Kings came into happening so there was Moses Moses was the first person who was really the leader of the Israelite nation he was the one that rescued them out of slavery he became the first leader of the Israelites then when Moses died you have Joshua who took over for Moses but when Joshua died there was no leader of the Israelites there was no one who took over for Joshua so who’s gonna lead these people now there was no one leader so God in the time after Joshua rose up what they called judges now they weren’t judges like you and I would see judges today they weren’t people who sat and ruled over people like judging between who was right and wrong with one exception and that exception was Deborah Deborah did do that to some degree she did have people come to her and she would say who was right and wrong on certain instances but all of the rulers including Deborah what they really did these judges is they enacted God’s will for the people they made sure that when oppression happened they were leaders that God in a certain time to get people out of oppression like Moses did they were leaders that God spoke to that would make sure that Israel was rescued from oppression so a judge was really just a leader that God rose up to make sure that Israel was taken care of so what we have here in Chapter four and judges is a specific instance of one of the judges and that’s Deborah now she’s the only female judge that you have example of and she’s really one of the first leaders women leaders that you see in Scripture she’s one of the examples of women leadership that people go to a lot of times to talk about why women should be allowed in leadership in churches and it’s an interesting example of leadership Deborah was somebody that God went to and said I want you to take my people out of oppression and here’s how I want you to do it so what I’m going to do is I’m going to tell you the story of Deborah Barak and this woman named Jael now I want you to prepare yourselves it’s an interesting story because we’re talking Old Testament times and it’s a story that well it’s interesting and I’m going to just tell you the story instead of reading the scripture because if what you heard from Jana is any indication it’s hard to pull out the bits and pieces from all of the names and the words that just distract you from the underlying story does that make sense that happens in Scripture a lot especially in the Old Testament so I’m just gonna tell you a story it’s not gonna be word-for-word but you’re gonna get a sense of what I mean so God goes to Deborah so I’m paraphrasing we get this right okay good God goes to Deborah when he says Deborah it’s time the Israelites have been oppressed for twenty years and he says it’s time for the Israelites to not be oppressed anymore I need your leadership I need you to go to Barak and Deborah has been a leader of the Israelites for these years so she’s been leading them for a while I want you to go to Barak and Barack is leads the army and I need you to go to him and say it’s time to and Cicero Cicero’s the bad guy and Baraka is gonna go to war with Cicero and so Deborah goes to Barak and she says Barack man it’s time we cannot sit back anymore our hearts are hard we’ve been afraid too long we’ve been ignoring this too long it’s time to step up and go to war and Barack says ok I’ll do it but only if you go with me and Deborah says and this is what Janet read to us sweet Janet Brock says fine I’ll go but only if you go with me and Deborah says I will go but you have to know that the honor won’t be yours then if I go with you the honor will not be yours the honor of this win the honor of killing Cicero will be given to a woman and so they go to war and sis where I hear is that this war is gonna happen I don’t know if they call it war they go to battle and sis weary puts together all of his men and he has nine hundred chariots and I guess that’s big in these days but they has these huge chariots and they’re fit to the gills with all these warring instruments and if Joe was telling the story he’d do much better job because he builds movies in his heads and he have he’d have all the words for you and he’d build these big pictures but I don’t do that so I’m just gonna tell you in my girl way that they have all these chariots with these things and they go to war and he has not only the nine hundred chariots but he has all of these men so Barack has 10,000 men and Sisera has nine hundred chariots and all of his men and God leads them together and God and it says in the scripture that God makes it so that Barack’s men are on top of it and Barack’s men win this battle and in the middle of this battle that Barack is winning Sisera leaves his men he’s realized what’s happening and as the true warrior does he runs away because every true warrior leaves his men on the battlefield and runs away so Brock as Cicero runs away Brock wins the battle kills every one of cicero’s men all the nine hundred chariots all of his men gone the Lord and his scripture is clear that the battle is the Lord’s the Lord is one has made this happen but Cicero’s gone Cicero goes to the tent of Jael Jael is a woman she’s not an Israelite she’s a foreigner she’s a nobody he goes to jails tent and this my friends is where things get very interesting he goes to her tent and he says let me in and she does and I can’t imagine what jails feeling because she’s by herself her husband’s gone the Cicero knows that her husband’s gone what he must look like because he’s just been in battle how terrified I would be if I was jail but he lets she lets him in he says you must as she covers him up and he says you must guard the tent and if anybody comes looking for somebody tell them that nobody’s here and so he’s covered up with a blanket but instead of guarding the tent Jael picks up a tent peg do you know what a tent peg is and in those days they weren’t the little tent pegs that we have now they were big like this and they had a peg like this and she picks up a hammer and she takes it she places it over his head and she kills him and in that one blow scripture comes true the honor of the war is given to a woman not Deborah because that’s what we probably all were thinking when we thought that huan’er would go to one not Deborah but to a foreigner and nobody to jl and when I read this I’m thinking how in the world do I go up there and say this is a great story y’all people are dead there’s a tent peg and a hammer the guy probably went in there to rape her and do not nice things to her and this is what we’re supposed to learn from yes the glory was God’s and yes God made this win happen but and what god I believe is showing us here and what we need to learn from this is number one we live not in the Old Testament world anymore that’s the first thing we need to understand you see you and I are never gonna be asked to pick up a tent peg in order to do God’s work you see people these days think that we need to do God’s work by fighting that’s not the world we live in anymore you and I will not be asked to do God’s work by fighting we live in our saviors world we live in a Jesus at kingdom we live in a post Jesus world when Jesus came everything changed and the way that we fight the way that we do God’s work the way that we work as God’s instruments in this world is radically different than God to use people before because the lesson here truly is that God needed that God chose as he still does today to do his work through humans the Israelites were oppressed and they were oppressed because they weren’t doing anything they were oppressed because they weren’t being faithful they were oppressed because they were not being the instruments of God that they were supposed to be God wants us to be his instruments God created us to be his instruments and the Israelites were oppressed because they were not being his instruments so Deborah stepped up to be his instrument God called her to be his instrument and she said yes she was a woman in a very man’s world you think today is a man’s world it is not that was a man’s world and she stepped up and said yes Barack was a man who was afraid and he stepped up and was led allowed himself to be led by a woman and said yes and then JL was a nobody a less than a woman nobody and she stepped up and said yes and allowed herself to be an instrument of God the message for you and me is the same is that we must learn to be instruments of God to the oppression that surrounds us we cannot wait we cannot wait any longer because the longer that we wait the worse that it gets the longer that we wait the more awful things that will happen in this world because what God has chosen to do for whatever reason is to work through you and I the reason why these horrible things are happening in the world is because you and I the masses of people who call ourselves Christians are not doing the work that we’ve been called to do we’re showing up in church on Sunday to get our medicine and then going out in the world and doing our day to day thing without again thinking about what it is that we are called to do all were thinking about is our lives and our hurt in our pain and I don’t want to minimize your life in your pain because it’s real but what I do know about your life in your pain is that it feels better when you’re thinking about somebody else Debra and Sisera necessarily that guy’s a bad guy deborah and barak and jl allowed themselves to be instruments of God and the Israelites because of that were freed from oppression you and I live in a world where people are oppressed every single day some of us may be called to the mission field maybe in sri lanka maybe in china maybe in india but I know for a fact every one of us is called to the mission field in Bogart in Watkinsville in Athens in Atlanta I know that for a fact because you live here and that mission field is something that you were called into you every day and it’s something that God is calling you to do something about he is asking you he created you to be an instrument for him to use to make a difference in the oppression that is happening in this world and if we don’t say yes things don’t stay the same it’s not neutral you’re not let off the hook if we don’t say yes things get worse I haven’t often put a guilt trip on y’all but I’m doing it now do you feel it a little bit Paul where’s my Amen it’s not neutral if we say no if we don’t say yes it gets worse and who knows where we’ll be a year from now five years now from ten years from now if we don’t do the simplest of things and I mean it when I say simple things make a difference we got to start simple because when we start simple we change and when we change God will show us the bigger things that we are supposed to do but just start simple be an instrument and the world will change because you are changing that is what we learn from a really horrible story in the Old Testament we are instruments being called forward into a world that is dark instruments of light that God wants to use to change the world and we can do it if we choose to let’s pray God we love you and I beg of you God for me – oh it’s so hard for me push us out of our comfort zones let us say yes as inept and incompetent as we feel let us say yes to being used as an instrument of light whatever that looks like help us to start small show us how and we’ll do it let us be the light in this dark world it’s in your name we pray

[Music]

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