Judges 5QUESTION: The Lyrics of Mud - 1ANSWER:Judges 5 – Part 1
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
The congregation was animated at the Dive Chapel that Sunday morning. The band played a new song. It was an original, sort of, as it was a classic rock rendition of the “Song of Deborah” in Judges 5. Although the words were at times hard to understand, they were projected up on the screen behind the stage for all to see.
Pastor Nathan Shepherd moved to the front of the church and sat on the carpeted edge of the stage. “Thanks band. I asked them to try that and Jim took one look at the text and said, ‘why don’t we just play Led Zep’s Ramble on?’ Anyway, that was a cool way to play it.
“I want to update everyone a little bit on our ‘Queen Eileen’ reef project this morning. Sam, if you’ll put that still picture of the little reef up on the screen. Thanks, man. As we’ve said before, in the back of the old, sunken submarine is one of the most healthy and diverse small coral reefs in the world. “I’m going to give you a little marine science lesson right now if you don’t mind. This first image is an elliptical star coral. The scientific name is dichocoenia stokesi and, much like the names in the Old Testament, you probably don’t know if I pronounced it right or not. As you can see, this colony is about two-and-a-half feet in diameter and is basically dome-shaped. It’s kind of a yellowish beige color. The individual corallites look kind of like opening and closing coin purses and they’re each about three-quarters of an inch long.
“The next photo shows branching fire coral. This species is fairly fragile, but very beautiful. Again, for you coral nerds out there like me, the Latin name is millepora alcicornis. As you can see, it grows in clusters of yellow-brown polyps. They grow out from clumps or clusters and the thin branches are usually a darker brown color. We are very, very careful around these puppies because they can sting you. If your skin contacts this coral, you’ll feel quick, intense pain and you will likely get a red, itchy rash. So beware.
“On this last slide, you see a great specimen of smooth flower coral or eusmilia fastigiata. This species is beautiful and resilient. Generally, they withstand algae onslaughts with just a little bit of bleaching, the damaged tissues tend to heal quickly. The individual corallites kind of look like greenish yellow, big puckered lips. Also on this photo you can see some really beautiful yellowtail snapper in the 2-3 pound range.
“If you come back to our pizza service tonight at 6:30, the Reef Restoration Ministries team is going to show a short movie – kind of documentary-style – that will show you a lot more cool stuff about ‘Queen Eileen reef.
“We’ve been diving on the site daily. It’s only in about 17 feet of water. The big news is that the state legislature issued a proclamation describing the ‘Queen Eileen’ as a ‘marine find of great historical importance to the state of Florida’. That’s not yet all the way to designated it as a registered and protected historical site, but it is something cool.
“Before we dive into Judges 5, I want to reiterate the concept we keep returning to as we study through the book of Judges, the circle of behavior that the Israelites of old and Americans of today continually face. I like to call it the ‘sin cycle’ and it has nothing to do with your washing machine. However, people who don’t have Jesus in their lives can feel they are in a washing machine – underwater and agitated – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
“The ‘sin cycle’ is a circular, seven-step program and it’s not good. At the top of the circle is us, joyfully serving God. Then, we’re tempted, life unfolds, we have decisions to make and we tend to go nuts. We ignore the abundant, beautiful life God has for us. We take a left turn at Albuquerque.
“At the third waypoint of the circle, we succumb to sin. I do it. You do it, too. Fourth, we find ourselves enslaved to sin. Then, like the prodigal son in Luke 15, we find ourselves sorry about our sin and especially about its consequences. So, at the sixth rest stop of the circle, we repent and the Lord delivers us from our sin. And we are back at the top of the circle – where we ought to be – joyfully serving God.Judges 5 – Read Part 2!