God Uses Both Men And Women

Photo by Ali Arapoğlu: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-inside-dome-tent-on-cliff-2193527/

Judges 3:30 {Because of Ehud} … Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years. 31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel. Judges 4:1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead.

Last week we studied about Ehud, the left handed Judge who saved Israel from the fat king of Moab. We also talked about Shamgar, a man who’s name meant “sword”, but who had no sword. Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad, what is a hardened pointy stick. The similarity between Ehud and Shamgar is that both Judges lived at the same time, and both killed the enemy with something pointy and sharp. The Book of Judges has been known as a bloody book, for it shows in graphic detail the horrifying effects of sin. One commentary notes:

“Altogether, roughly a quarter of a million people perish in Judges!”

Both Shamgar and Ehud were Judges at the same time. Shamgar’s death is not mentioned in Scripture, but as Ehud dies, Israel returns to their apostasy.

Judges 4:2-3 And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. 3 And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

Israel began to worship the fertility gods of Canaan, and to move into sexual sin. Since they chose to walk away from God the Lord “gave them over” to what they wanted. The same language is used in the New Testament to describe how idolatry leads into destructive sexual sin. The Scripture says:

Romans 1:24-28 (ESV) Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

God is the REDEEMER of His people. When Israel rejected His rightful leadership, God sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan. Jabin worked from the capital city of Hazor, a chief Canaanite stronghold of the north. Though Joshua destroyed this city in Joshua 11, it was repopulated, probably because of Israel’s sin. We lose ground when we do not follow our God!

4:3 {Jabin} had nine hundred chariots of iron

The Israelites did not possess the skill to work iron as did the Canaanites and the Philistines. For twenty years Jabin oppressed Israel, until they cried out to God for relief. Again, we see Israel becoming harder and harder in their hearts. God does something different.

Judges 4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

God raises up Deborah, a prophetess to be a Judge of Israel.

God Uses Both Men And Women To Bless Nations

In Scripture wives are commanded by God to follow the leadership of their husbands:

Ephesians 5:22-24 (ESV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

This does not mean that God cannot use a wife to lead and deliver a nation. There are many women in places of leadership in the Bible. When God used Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt, he did so with his elder brother Aaron and younger sister Miriam by his side (Numbers 26:59). Miriam is a prophetess (Exodus 15:20).

When the boy-King Josiah reigned in Israel, in his 18th year of ruling (he would have been 26 years old) the Book of the Law was discovered in the Temple. When Josiah read the Book, he grieved, for he knew that he and his people were not following the Lord. Josiah sent Hilkiah the Priest to find “Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah” (2 Kings 22:14) to find out what God thought of all this. God spoke to the King through Huldah, and said, “Thus says the Lord: Because Israel turned away from My Command and followed other gods, I will punish her – and My wrath will not be quenched. But because Josiah humbled himself, because he repented and turned to Me, he will never see Israel’s desolation” (paraphrase of 2 Kings 22:17-20).

On the day that Jesus was circumcised, Anna the prophetess (Luke 2:36-38) was waiting to see Him in His mother’s arms. In the early Church one of the Deacons named Philip (the evangelist) had four unmarried daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:8-09). God uses women throughout Scripture. God used Deborah as a Judge of Israel.

Judges 4:5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Word Study: The name Deborah” (Hebrew dᵊḇôrâ) means “a bee”. Bees collect what God gives, and hovering over it, provide sweet honey. God’s Word is sweeter than honey! The Psalmist said:

Psalm 119:102-103 I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Deborah is open to the Word of God – and God speaks to her.

Though Men And Women Are Of Equal Priesthood And Equal Value, We Are Designed By God
With Different Roles In Mind

Let’s pause and discuss Divine Design. When God created the earth and put humanity on it, God put Adam into the Garden first. It was Adam that God put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. It was Adam’s job to dress(Hebrew ʿāḇaḏ) and keep(šāmar)the Garden (Genesis 2:15). The word ʿāḇaḏ means to “labor over, to work in, to till, to serve as a servant to”. God gave Adam the muscle structure to work the soil, to lift burdens, and the bone structure to endure heavy loads. He was given a methodical mind, one that paid attention to detail, and had focus. Adam was also created to šāmar or to act as a watchman over, to guard and preserve the Garden. It was to Adam God said:

Genesis 2:16-17 … Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Adam was the direct representative of God, entrusted with the care and preservation of the Garden of Eden.

After this commission, we read:

Genesis 2:18 … the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

God made a help meet” (Hebrew ʿēzer) for Adam, which literally means “One Who helps or assists, one who lifts up”. The woman, unlike man, was made from the rib of Adam, NOT from the dust of the ground. Adam was made from what he was to serve. Eve was made from what she was to help. Her muscle structure is lighter, as is her bone structure. Eve was not designed for the heavy lifting and for war, but to assist Adam. This has not changed from the beginning of time. Though in the New Testament we are told:

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Women as well as men are equally believer-priests through faith in Christ Jesus.

God speaks to women, through women, and uses women. However, the same Apostle Who wrote what I just quoted – that women and men are of equal spiritual value in the eyes of God – this same Apostle wrote:

1 Timothy 2:11-14 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Word Study: Does this mean that women cannot teach men? No, it doesn’t. But it does mean that women are not to usurp authority over the man. The phrase usurp authority is the Hebrewauthenteō, which means “to act on your own authority, to exercise dominion over”. Neither man nor woman has leave to violate God’s design.

Once we begin to modify what we believe to be true based on feelings or what culture says apart from what God has written in His Bible, we begin to lose our walk with God.

Illustrate: February of this year the Southern Baptist Convention withdrew fellowship from Saddleback Church in Southern California. Why? Because Pastor Rick Warren and the leadership of that Church decided to ordain women as pastors. The Southern Baptist Faith and Message states in section VI. The Church”:

While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture”.

This is based on what the Scripture says is the qualification of a Pastor:

1 Timothy 3:1-2 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife

The man is called to be the leader of the Church. This is according to the Scripture. God has a design in creation, and has directed the man to lead. So the question before us now is,

If This Is True, Then What About Deborah?

Let’s go back to Deborah, the “Bee” of God.

Judges 4:5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Deborah did not “USURP AUTHORITY” from anyone. God spoke to Deborah as a Judge, but her leadership was distinctly different from all the other Judges we’ll see in this Book. The Bible says: “the children of Israel came up to her for judgment”. It is God Who “raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them” (Judges 2:16). God raised up Deborah. But instead of sending Deborah out, God allowed the people to come to Deborah.

God used Deborah within her divine design.

When God raised up OTHNIEL (Judges 3:10),
went out to war.
When God raised up EHUD (Judges 3:15),
Ehud went to kill the evil king of Moab.
When God raised up SHAMGAR (Judges 3:31),
went after and killed 600 Philistines.

But Deborah judged from the palm tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim” (Judges 4:5). Deborah acted as a mother and a helper to Israel. Deborah’s heart was open to God, and she served Him without denying His design for her life.

Judges 4:6 And {Deborah} sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?

Word Study: Some versions mistranslate this. The word translated commanded is the Piel Perfect 3rd Person of the Hebrew ṣāvâ, which refers to a completed action. God had already commanded Barak to move ten thousand warriors from Naphtali and Zebulun to Mount Tabor. What is interesting is that Barak (whose name means “a flash of lightening”) is dragging his feet! Why? I suspect fear had much to do with it. Israel had been in bondage 20 years, and Barak has lost hope. Since Barak would not listen to God, God used Deborah to speak to him. Deborah acted as a helper – a help meet! God through Deborah told Barak:

Judges 4:7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.

God tells Barak that when he does as he is commanded (by God, not by Deborah), that God will draw the enemy forces led by Sisera the Captain of the Canaanite Army, and God would defeat them. God said, I will deliver him into thine hand.

Barak is willing to go, but tells Deborah:

Judges 4:8-9 … If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. 9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honor; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

God is speaking through Deborah, so Barak asks her to go with him. There is no usurption of authority when the man asks you to accompany him!

But because Barak will not go forward on his own faith, he will not gain honor for what happens. Since he is dependent upon the faith of Deborah, God said,

the Lord shall sell Sisera
into the hand of a woman”

The womanGod is speaking of is not Deborah, as we will soon find out. Let’s continue.

Judges 4:10-15 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him. 11 Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. 12 And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor. 13 And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon. 14 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. 15 And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.

God did exactly what He said He would do. When Barak led his troops to Tabor, he met with Sisera and his 900 iron chariots – and cleaned their clock! We read that the battle went so badly that {General} Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. Barak and his troops won the battle, but Sisera got away. Or did he? Here’s what Paul Harvey used to call “The Rest Of The Story”.

We read in verse 11 Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. So Sisera leaves the battle, and begins to run. Where do you think he runs?

Judges 4:16-17 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. 17 Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet 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.

Sisera knew that the Canaanite King Jabin and Heber the Kenite were friendly. So General Sisera ran to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber, thinking it a place to hide.

Judges 4:18-20 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. 19 And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. 20 Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and inquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No.

Jael the wife of Heber” tells Sisera to come in and rest. He lays down, and she “covered him with a mantle”, and gave him milk to drink. Sisera asked her to stand guard, to protect him while he slept.

In the ancient world, it was the WOMEN who put up the tents each time a caravan would stop.
The women had no swords – but they had tent pegs.

Judge 4:21-22 Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. 22 And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples.

Sisera was given an “Excedrin™ Headache”! Barak gained no honor for his weak faith, though God used him to defeat the enemy that day. It was Jael Heber’s wife who killed Sisera. But Who ultimately gets the glory? We read:

Judges 4:23-24 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. 24 And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

We serve an awesome God! Let us serve Him, and honor Him by living according to His Word, within His design, for His glory. May God the Holy Spirit bless and keep you. Next week, praising God for His goodness.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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