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Day 71 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue Judges and Psalms.
Judges 4 – Deborah’s gender marks her out as unique among the judges. Like the final judge Samuel, she also combines the roles of prophet and judge. Rather than leading in battle, her ministry as judge entails judicial decisions among the Israelites. As prophetess, Deborah delivers a word from God to Barak that he should lead in battle. Barak’s reluctance to trust God’s promise of victory results in glory being given not to Barak or Deborah but to Jael—again, God effects rescue from a surprising source. God provides in ways that are not in accord with normal human strengths or expectations.
The literary structure of chapter 4 highlights the central section of verses 12–16, and the focus of this central section is found at verse 14, which bears the gospel implication for the passage: God fights for His people.
Failure to trust in God’s defense was one of Israel’s abiding public sins (see 1 Samuel 8:4–8). Deborah’s profound question is addressed not simply to Barak but to believers in all ages: “Does not the Lord go out before you?”
How do we see this grace of God providing what is needed for His people’s rescue in Jesus, our ultimate deliverer? Hint: Revelation 19:11–16.
Judges 5 – Israel sings praise to God for His deliverance and blesses the Lord for providing leaders who “offered themselves willingly” and for entire tribes who risk their lives for the sake of God’s people. We sing since God is our warrior, but we are not mere observers of the conflict. God chooses to make us participants in His righteous triumphs in the world, even when circumstances are most grim.
Final rejoicing is reserved for the heroine Jael, who exemplifies God’s use of weakness to defeat strength. The crushing of Sisera’s head reveals the destiny of all the forces of evil arrayed against God’s people (Genesis 3:15).
How do we see all this culminate in the ministry of Jesus? Hint: Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 1:26–31; Colossians 2:15.
Following a crucified Savior, we too are heartened even in our weaknesses. For we know that our weaknesses are the catalyst for and not an obstacle to the Lord’s strength and grace (2 Corinthians 6:10; 12:9–10; 13:4).
Do you attempt to hide your weaknesses from God (as if He doesn’t know you better than you know yourself)?
How does the Gospel free you to celebrate the truth that God will often use your weakness more than your strength for His glory?
Psalm 71 – God’s mercy is more than sufficient for every stage of life. Straining his memory to childhood, the psalmist cannot remember a day without mercy. Early in life, he learned from the Scriptures to trust God prayerfully for his future: he was never disappointed.
These were among the same “sacred writings” Timothy would have learned from his childhood, which made him “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). A long history of proving God’s faithfulness buttresses one against hostile peers. At the end of the ages, the believer will “shout for joy” and his enemies will be “put to shame”.
Since verses 12 and 13 are quoted in numerous other psalms attributed to David, this middle portion could be his testimony to God’s mercy in his mid-life battles. The believer’s eternal hope is stronger than conspiracy and fear because it is based on God’s unassailable character, finally personified in Jesus.
Finally, the old saint recognizes that he must tell his story to the next generation. An elderly saint’s greatest responsibility to the young is teaching them how to die well. Courage to meet the last enemy comes only from the promise of the resurrection, which the Spirit enabled the Old Testament saint anticipate with hope (Acts 2:27). Not only does the psalmist foresee the resurrection, he understands that the judgment will bring commendation for those united to Jesus.
How does this Psalm encourage you to trust God with today and with tomorrow?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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