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December 11, 2018

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Read Judges 5

 

To read this text go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=judges+5&version=NLT

 

ScriptureJudges 5:15-18- The princes of Issachar were with Deborah and Barak. They followed Barak, rushing into the valley. But in the tribe of Reuben there was great indecision. Why did you sit at home among the sheepfolds- to hear the shepherds whistle for their flocks? Yes, in the tribe of Reuben there was great indecision. Gilead remained east of the Jordan. And why did Dan stay home? Asher sat unmoved at the seashore, remaining in his harbors. But Zebulun risked his life, as did Naphtali, on the heights of the battlefield.

 

Observations- This song for worship and celebration by Deborah and Barak detailing the victory over King Sisera describes how 4 of the tribes of Israel chose not to help with the battle. These were the same 4 tribes who had not followed God’s command to remove the Canaanites from their Promised Land in the first place. They thought themselves too small and insignificant against their opponents, but more of a problem was their lack of faith in God to go before them in all things. They chose not to join God, but instead they allowed

their fear of the unknown and the likelihood of failure to win the day.

 

Application- We tend to focus on the danger and risk of trusting God. We wonder “What will my life be like if I say ‘yes’ to the path I sense God is calling me to? What will it cost me?” But what about the cost of choosing not to go down the path we believe God has invited us to embrace? Certainly our lives will feel smaller, less significant, and more about “me, myself, and I” than ever before. Gilead and Dan stayed home, Asher sat “unmoved at the seashore,” Reuben sat at home with their sheep and indecision, but at what cost? 

Answering the call to serve Christ with joy changes us, but so does refusing to answer that call. It makes us less of who God intends for us to be with His help.

 

Prayer- Dear God, help me be less worried about the results of following You than I am concerned about what I’d miss out on by saying no to an adventurous journey of faith with You. Will there be danger and risk along the way? Of course! Your Word tells us life will be filled with risk and danger, so why should I be surprised about it? Keep challenging me to receive more of Your direction in my life for Your glory. Help us remember that courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to move forward even when we're afraid. 

Amen.

 

"It's remarkable that in all of his writings Paul’s prayers for his friends contain no appeals for changes in their circumstances." (Tim Keller),

 

Pastor Jamie

 

​​​​​​​To contact me: reply to this email...it only comes to me.

 

To connect with the New Hope website: www.findnewhope.com

Posted by Jamie Westlake with
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December 10, 2018

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Read Judges 4

 

To read this text go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=judges+4&version=NLT

 

ScriptureJudges 4:7-8, 21- And I will call out Sisera, commander of Jabin’s army, along with his chariots and warriors, to the Kishon River. There I will give you victory over him.” Barak told her, “I will go, but only if you go with me.” But when Sisera fell asleep from exhaustion, Jael quietly crept up to him with a hammer and tent peg in her hand. Then she drove the tent peg through his temple and into the ground, and so he died.

 

Observations- In this chapter from Judges, we find 2 examples of very strong women at work, who were used by God to fulfill His purposes in their time. Deborah held a position of national prominence in Israel as a judge simply because God called her to such a leadership role. Deborah encouraged people to obey and follow God. They respected her integrity, courage, and willingness to step up and be counted she led them. Barak, a man and her leading general, was strengthened and encouraged by her leadership. Jael took decisive, surprising action against a military commander, Sisera, who had brutalized the Israelites for 20 years. There is a great irony in a man with 900 chariots and thousands of soldiers being brought down by a woman with a tent peg and a hammer!

 

Application- Isn’t it interesting that some 3,200 years ago little was made of the fact that Deborah was a woman? The story is just reported in the Bible as if there is nothing remarkable about God calling this woman to lead the people as a judge. Deborah was just the one God called to lead and help when the people got tired of the way things were going without God’s help. Women were leaders in Israel and they still are in Jesus' church in 2018. People thought David was “too small” to take on Goliath. Isaiah had a filthy mouth before a holy God. Jeremiah wondered if he was “too young.” Mary wasn't married. Timothy was timid. Abraham and Sarah were too old. Moses was a murderer and he had a speech impediment. Even when there seem to be barriers- personal or cultural- God is still calling each of us to action. 

 

Prayer- Dear God, thank You for all the people- young, old, and middle aged men and women from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures- in my life who have led me well. I am grateful for the way they have poured courage and strength into me through their example as they lived out their calling from You. Help me do the same. Help me encourage the dreams and visions of others that I don’t have the ability to carry out. Give all of us at New Hope a large portion of Deborah’s leadership and Jael’s strength. Amen.

 

"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea.

Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me." (Romans 16:1-2)

 

Pastor Jamie

 

​​​​​​​To contact me: reply to this email...it only comes to me.

 

To connect with the New Hope website: www.findnewhope.com

Posted by Jamie Westlake with

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