Text: Judges 4&5 In a Nutshell: The “pattern” of living we see during “the days of Shamgar & Jael” started out with “Israel again doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (4:1), “new gods being chosen” resulting with “war in the gates” (5:8), “highways were abandoned” (5:6), “village life ceased” (5:7), and ironically no one had any “shields or spears”. Men tended to be disillusioned and discouraged but women like Deborah and Jael without question knew what needed to be done, stepped up and called others to action. Relationships were strained but a sense of injustice and oppression awakened a call to faith and a willingness by some to sacrifice everything. The best part of this story is that God wins the battles that men and women couldn't. He used imperfect people in unusual ways to make the message clear: “Doing what is evil creates a chaotic society” and “faithful obedience to God’s commands ushers in victory and times of peace.”
Ice Breaker: Have you ever known a strong willed woman and disheartened man that together got some good things done? (no names – just conceptual stories please)
CONNECTING WITH THE TEXT:
1. How were the reigns of Jabin and Sisera characterized? 4:3, 5:30
2. How did their reign affect life in Israel? 5:6-8
3. How is Deborah and Barak’s relationship to the nation of Israel and to each other described? 4:4-10
4. How were the 900 chariots stopped and the Philistines defeated? 4:12-17, 5:4-5, 20-21
5. What tribes of Israel fought and who stayed home from the battle? 5:13-18,23
6. Who was Jael? Why would Sisera go into her tent for refuge? 4:11,17
7. Why would Jael kill Sisera? 4:9, 22-23, 5:30
REFLECTING ON YOUR LIFE:
1. Have you ever sacrificially committed yourself to a cause where you knew you wouldn’t get credit? Why?
2. Have you ever “fought a battle” or set out to accomplish a serious task that you knew was humanly impossible but you were convinced God would bring success?
3. What damaging lifestyle “patterns” do you see in this story? What wholesome lifestyle “patterns” do you see? (relationships, cycles, intentions, foundational convictions, celebrated events)
CONNECTING WITH YOUR CHURCH:
1. Does Deborah’s leadership and Barak’s reservations seem to be presented as normal in this situation?
2. Which would you say is the moral of this story: Women should take charge more, Men shouldn’t be so weak, or God uses what He has to get done that which He must but in a way that only He can get the credit.
Title: “Outliving Our Leaders” (David Fincher preaching)
Text: Judges 1 & 2
Questions: What was the message of “the angel of the Lord” to Israel? What kind of principle for our lives might be taken from that discussion?
Parents with your children: Discuss with your children what the cycle of sin, slavery, sorrow,and salvation might look like in their lives, or the lives of someone you both know? How can you avoid such a cycle?
Some Good Resources: