May 1, 2023
“On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang: When the leaders lead in Israel, when the people volunteer, praise the Lord. Listen kings! Pay attention princes!”
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“On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang: When the leaders lead in Israel, when the people volunteer, praise the Lord. Listen kings! Pay attention princes! I will sing to the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.” Judges 5:1-3 (HCSB)
Judges 5 is a song written on the heels of Israel’s defeat of Jabin, king of Canaan, and most notably, Sisera, his commander. It is one of the oldest songs in the Bible, which piques my interest, for I am a songwriter.
The song of Deborah is at once a historic retelling, rebuke, and exhortation.
As a historic text, it fills-in information not included in the battle’s original telling in Judges 4. For instance, the reader gains knowledge of which tribes fought and which ones ignored the call to battle. In the historic telling, all who hear the song are reminded of the faithful, the faithless, the lazy, the self-absorbed, and the fearful. Reuben had a searching of heart, Gilead ignored the call and chose to remain beyond the Jordan, Dan lingered at its ships, and Asher stayed in the safety of its harbors.
None of us is perfect, so we all have varied opinions on accountability. Generally, people would rather hold others accountable, yet they become overly sensitive the closer the accounting comes to their personal issues!
People are generally afraid and embarrassed about being called into account. It helps us to understand that the purpose of accountability is not to keep people “down.” Accountability exposes the root sin in our hearts, which is behind our destructive behaviors, attitudes, or thoughts. Once sin can be identified, it can be overcome. Accountability lifts us.
“…even if our conscience condemns us, that God is greater than our conscience, and He knows all things.” 1 John 3:20 (HCSB)
“…because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4b (HCSB)
Deborah was exposing the sin of the tribes who failed to fight to exhort and encourage them into following the Lord henceforth.
Deborah’s exhortation is one of cause and effect: When Israel’s leaders chose new gods, war came to its gates, and there was not a shield or spear to be found among 40,000 men. When its leaders led by trusting the Lord, people volunteered, and their faith ignited a chain reaction and encouraged a nation, resulting in victory. Let’s choose to fight!
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©Steve Wiggins 2021