The story of Deborah adds interesting details to the great- controversy theme. Here we see the people of God suffering oppression and facing impossible odds. This parallels what we observed in Revelation 12, with the incredibly unfair contest between a seven-headed dragon and a newborn baby (see Tuesday’s study, week 1) .
The main characters in this story include Jabin, king of Canaan; Sisera, his army chief; and Deborah, a prophetess and a judge (one who settled civil disputes between opposing parties) who had a very unusual degree of authority and influence for a woman of that time.
Read Judges 4. In what ways do we see the great-controversy theme expressed here? In the end, who alone brought victory to Israel, despite their unworthiness?
The heroine of the story is Heber’s wife, Jael, who is not afraid to identify with God’s people and who played a crucial role in the defeat of God’s enemies. Judging her actions from our perspective today isn’t easy. The last thing we should do, though, is use her deeds to justify deception and violence in order to achieve our ends, no matter how right those ends might be.
In the discussions leading up to the conflict, Deborah assures Barak that the battle will be God’s (an echo of the great controversy, for sure) . Two verbs are used to describe how God would do this (Judges 4:7) . He will “draw” Sisera (the word suggests catching fish in a net) to the River Kishon, where He will “deliver” him into Barak’s hand. Deborah’s song of thanksgiving (Judges 5), reveals some of the details. Sisera’s chariots became bogged down in the narrow passes near the River Kishon because of heavy rain. The heavens and the clouds “pour” and the mountains “gush” water (Judges 5:4-5, NKJV) , producing a flash flood that sweeps away many enemy soldiers (Judges 5:21), and Israel is delivered.
Think of the confidence these men of war had in Deborah. While on one level that was good (obviously) , why must we always be careful in how much confidence we put in anyone?