March Series – I’m Every Woman!
Lesson 1 March 2 – 8, 2022
AIMS: After studying this lesson students should REALIZE that God can, and will, use whomever He pleases to win a victory; RECOGNIZE that women have the ability to lead God’s people and discern who is God’s enemy.
The greatest insult a man can receive is to be told that he “fights like a girl!” But what most people don’t realize that when you fight a girl you are in for a fight! When a Black woman takes off her earrings – get ready, get ready, get ready! I’m telling you, “you are in for a fight!” A woman will take whatever she can put her hands on to fight with. She will use anything, and everything, to gain the advantage!
For the first time in the new land, things were so desperate that the Israelites “cried out” to the Lord (Judges 4:3b). The only other time Israel had cried to the Lord was when they suffered oppression in Egypt (Exodus 14:10, Numbers 20:16, Deuteronomy 26:7). The nation was in a sharp decline, in a sorry state, and in a big mess. The new generation was facing what the past generation had experienced. Things had reached a critical point and a new low. The situation was unbearable because of the might, cruelty, and onslaught of the Canaanites for twenty long years and counting. Sounds like today, doesn’t it?
The Period in which the events recorded in the lesson (the time in which the judges ruled) are among the worst in Israel’s history. Like the period of decline within the ancient Roman Empire, the Israelite nation began to crumble from within. The book of Judges repeatedly states that during this time “everyone did as he saw fit”. As each family or group fought for its rights alone, the society became fractured.
The book of Judges runs downhill, from bad to worse. The last five chapters contain some of the ugliest stories in the Bible – tales of homosexual assault, idolatry, civil war, thievery, rape, and murder. No enemy does all this: the Israelites did it to each other. Clearly, the exalted nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, has lost its sense of direction.
After Moses, Joshua became the leader of the Israel Nation. Under Joshua’s able leadership, Israel marched into the Promised Land. After many successful military campaigns, the nation of Israel generally subdued the violent, pagan peoples. When Joshua retired after a long successful career, the nation’s future looked fabulous. Sadly, this situation deteriorated rapidly.
THOUGHT 1: They forsook the LORD and engaged in the false worship of their neighbors.
- When they forsook God. . .they turned away from God.
- When they alienated themselves from God, they turned away from His presence and guidance
- When they ceased to worship and serve God, they lost God’s protection!
- When they began to engage in false worship and serve false gods, they put themselves under nothing more than the imaginations of men.
THOUGHT 2: What we sow, we reap. If we sow evil, we reap evil. God will chastise us, give us up to our evil. God will turn us over:
- to our desires, lusts, and immoralities
- to our injustices, enslavements, and oppressors
- to our brutalities, hostilities, and wars
- to our economic recessions, depressions, and collapses
When we go so far in the cycle of sin or evil, God chastises us. He chastises us in order to break us, to arouse us to repent, turning away from our sins and turning to Him.
1 Corinthians 11:31-32 (NLT) 31 But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. 32 Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
In the years that followed, the Lord led His people through specially selected leaders called Judges. In Judges 4:1 we are told that Ehud who led the people under the oppression of the Moabites died, and the people returned to their sinful ways. The fulfilling of sinful pleasures always comes with a cost that will have to be paid. Numbers 32:23b tells us “be sure your sin will find you out.” Our sins not only will do us harm, but they will cause harm to others. We like to sin, but we do not like the consequences. Under Ehud’s leadership they had approximately 80 years of peace. But after he died, they go right back to their “old ways.” God allowed the Canaanites to oppress them! Once again, they cried out to the LORD, and He sent them Deborah as a Judge.
THOUGHT 3: Note this fact: they did not just cry out under the oppressor, but they cried to the LORD.
- They turned to Him, and in turning to Him, their backs were turned against the sins and evil they had been committing.
- Instead of facing the world and living in their sins, they were now facing the LORD and crying out to Him for help.
- They were now where God wanted them: praying to Him and seeking Him, longing for His presence and guidance.
THOUGHT 4: When we turn away from sin and face the LORD, crying out to Him for help. . .
- God hears us
- God help us when we repent of our sin and cry out to Him for deliverance.
Psalm 34:6 (NLT) In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
Psalm 61:2 (kjv) From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 91:15 (kjv) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
Isaiah 65:24 (kjv) And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear
- The power of anything – any oppression, bondage, sin, problem, difficulty, or suffering – can be broken by the power of God.
- Remember. . . There is Power in the Name of Jesus to break EVERY chain!
Judges 4:1-9 (AMPC)
1 But after Ehud died the Israelites again did evil in the sight of the Lord. 2 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-hagoiim [fortress or city of the nations]. 3 Then the Israelites cried to the Lord, for [Jabin] had 900 chariots of iron and had severely oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. 4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, judged Israel at that time. 5 She sat under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came up to her for judgment. 6 And she sent and called Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded [you], Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun? 7 And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you at the river Kishon with his chariots and his multitude, and I will deliver him into your hand? 8 And Barak said to her, If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go. 9 And she said, I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the trip you take will not be for your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.
- Woman #1 -God’s Judge
- Deborah has served for years as a prophet, and she is now a judge of Israel.
- The courage of Deborah stands as a dynamic example for us, for all women and all men everywhere.
- Just imagine! Trying to mobilize an unarmed or defenseless army of men to face a massive army with the latest military equipment and technology, including the latest weapons and 900 chariots of iron.
- The challenge Deborah courageously accepted.
- From Deborah we must learn one lesson – there is no room in the service of God for being fainthearted, fearful, or unbelieving.
- God commands us to be courageous.
- Barak’s response was that of doubt. He was a reluctant commander:
Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV) Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
- No matter what the enemy or its power, we are to be courageous in standing against it.
- God promises to help us and to deliver us if we will confront the enemy courageously and boldly.
Judges 4:17-24 (AMPC)
17 But Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; have no fear. So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 And he said to her, Give me, I pray you, a little water to drink for I am thirsty. And she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. 20 And he said to her, Stand at the door of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, Is there any man here? Tell him, No. 21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent pin and a hammer in her hand and went softly to him and drove the pin through his temple and into the ground; for he was in a deep sleep from weariness. So he died. 22 And behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, Come, and I will show you the man you seek. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the tent pin was in his temples. 23 So God subdued on that day Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 And the hand of the Israelites bore more and more upon Jabin king of Canaan until they had destroyed [him].
- Woman #2 – God’s Warrior
- Jael was a murderer and an assassin.
- She killed the Canaanite leader Sisera, who had fled a battle after his defeat by the Israelites.
- Jael made a difficult decision with risky consequences.
- by taking that hard step, she ended up being called “blessed”
- with one shattering blow she fulfilled the prophecy that a woman would kill Sisera.
- God’s warrior used whatever tool she could quickly find
- first the food in her home
- then an ordinary tent peg.
- Jael was a woman of incredible strength, means and resolve. Killing Sisera was not the highlight of the story, but putting two and two together, taking matters into her own hands and deciding things on her own were the point. She was. . .
- knowledgeable of current events
- independent in thought
- wise in her ways.
- This housewife had to do what she had to do, with what she had at hand and what her hands were dealt, but she used her brain before her hands.
- The decision was not easy.
- She could not harbor a fugitive enemy
- turn an acquaintance away
- or consult her husband, who was away.
- Some scholars decry Jael’s use of violence and treachery, but her actions were not:
- the spur of the moment decision
- It was not an emotional decision
- an impulsive decision
- or even a controversial decision.
- Lessons from Jael. . .
- Act on the opportunities God puts in front of you.
- Use the “tools” you have been given
- Trust God to give us competence.
- Some things are more important that following rules
- Our highest motive should be honoring God
- Jael’s battle is a metaphor for how we should fight spiritual battles.
- Winning the battle against sin – Jael had her priorities straight!
- We need to prioritize God’s heavenly rules over our earthly religious rules
- His voice over what we think is right
- We need to prioritize His glory and His competence over our own.
PRAYER PRINCIPLE: Be thankful that God empowers us for each Godly challenge we face.
SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE: Be a source of encouragement to those in need of empowerment for the task that God has placed in their path.
EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE: Share how Christ was the ultimate warrior and judge for the salvation of all humankind.
STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE: Our giving should be a reflection of how we value our salvation.
DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE: When we mess up, God steers us back toward him because He hears us when we cry out in our time of distress and helps us get back on the right path.
NEXT WEEK’S LESSON: Pray Until Something Happens
SERIES: I’m Every Woman
NEXT WEEK’S READING: Mark 7:24-25; Matthew 15:21-29; Mark 1:27-34;
Matthew 8:16; Romans 10:17; Mark 2:3-5; Hebrews 11:1, 6; Matthew 6:6-7;
Matthew 14:30; Luke 18:1; James 2:17; 2 Kings 4:4; Matthew 17:20
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