Today we begin another sin cycle – “When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim. And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he had harshly oppressed the children of Israel.”
“Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” Deborah calls for Barak, a commander of the Israelites, and asks him why he hasn’t attacked Sisera’s army as the Lord commanded. Barak responds, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!” So Deborah tells Barak, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.”
The Lord gives Barak and the Israelites great victory over Sisera’s army. “However, Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite.” Jael welcomes Sisera into her tent, covers him with a blanket, gives him warm milk, and…“Then Jael, took a tent peg and a hammer in her hand and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went down into the ground; for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.” Wow! ⛺️ 🔨 😱 Peg in the head kills Sisera and Jael, a woman, gets the glory as Deborah predicted. Then Deborah and Barak sing, “Most blessed among women is Jael…At her feet he sank, he fell; Where he sank, there he fell dead.” “So the land has rest for forty years.”
“Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel…So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.” Then the Angel of the Lord appears to Gideon who is hiding from the Midianites in the wine press. I love how God says to this fearful man in hiding, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” God sees Gideon for the man he will be because the Lord will be with him! But Gideon reminds me of Moses and how Moses first responded to the Lord at the burning bush by saying who was he to go and deliver the children of Israel from Egypt (Exodus 3:11). Gideon too questions God saying, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Well you can’t Gideon. That’s the whole point. But the One who can save Israel will be with you just like He was with Moses! So God responds to Gideon saying, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
Gideon, like Moses, receives a sign from the Lord to help build his faith. An Angel of the Lord touches with His staff the offering that Gideon prepared “and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread.” Gideon goes on to obey the Lord by tearing down the altar of Baal that his father has, cutting down the wooden image beside it, and building an altar to the Lord in its place. When the men of the city discover what Gideon did they want to kill him but Joash intervenes and says about Baal – “‘If he is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down!’ Therefore on that day he called him [Gideon] Jerubbaal, saying, ‘Let Baal plead against him, because he has torn down his altar.’”
However Gideon is still uncertain about his calling to save Israel so he asks the Lord for more signs to help build his faith. And the Lord responds by graciously wetting and drying the fleece for Gideon. Now Gideon is ready for battle. Keep reading because tomorrow Gideon goes to war against the Midianites!