Judges 5 – Part 2QUESTION: The Lyrics of Mud - 2ANSWER:Judges 5 – Part 2
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“The main reason we get caught up in this cycle is that we, like the Israelites in Judges, did not eradicate all of our Canaanites when we entered the Promised Land of our salvation.
“Therein lies the whole problem. That is how we deal with the Canaanites of sin in our lives today. We do not detest them. We cohabit with them and it brings us down in the eyes of God. So the cycle just spins.
“Okay, Judges 5, one of the strangest chapters in the Bible to preach, by the way. I do want to say that we’ve already read it. If you were paying attention to the screen as the band was playing that last song, the words were from Judges 5, verses 1 through 31. The only thing the band left out was the last line that says, ‘Then the land had peace for forty years.’
“Judges 5 is entitled ‘The Song of Deborah’ and something that we are told in verses 4 and 5 is that God Almighty made everything happen in the recent victory over Sisera and the Canaanites. The enemy had 900 iron chariots which gave them a huge advantage, much like our M1A1 Abrams tanks today. What could the children of Israel have possibly done against that armored army? It didn’t matter how they matched up against those tanks. The LORD was in control. He made the heavens open up and it rained and rained. The text says, ‘The clouds also poured water; The mountains gushed before the LORD.’ That means mud.
“The chariots had one big weakness – they were heavy. They bogged down in the mud, no four-wheel drive in those days. Then the Canaanites soldiers were sitting ducks and had to flee. Wow. God is good. He does things in ways that we wouldn’t think of.
“Beyond that, I want to look at three things in Judges 5. First, in verse 3 it says, ‘I, even I, will sing to the LORD.’ Next, in verses 6 through 8 it talks about the highways were deserted and village life ceased. Why? Because the children of Israel chose other gods. Finally, let’s talk about people of the Kingdom who ignore God and do not use the gifts He has given them.
“In verse three it appears that Deborah might have a less than perfect singing voice. But, she still sings joyfully – and noisily – to God. When we are having worship time at the beginning of the service each week, don’t be shy. I know, I know, we may live to regret my saying that, but I seriously want to encourage everybody in our fellowship to make a joyful noise to the LORD. And, in that vein, if someone around you struggles with carrying a tune, like – ahem - yours truly, please give them some grace.
“Next, before Deborah came on the seen to Judge the nation, the highways, city streets, parks – all the public places – of Israel were deserted around the clock. The people lived in fear of the Canaanites who had conquered them. The reason given: ‘They chose new gods.’ This should serve as a neon-lit billboard to us in America today. Not only do we chose to worship ‘gods’ like money, power, and sex, we worship ourselves! How is it that atheism and secular humanism are embraced by our culture? I can’t explain it.
“Further down in the song, verses 16 and 17, to be exact – the lyrics ask why the tribes of Reuben, Gilead, Dan, and Asher did not show up for the battle. If we switch over to The Message translation, it says, ‘But in Reuben's divisions there was much second-guessing. Why all those campfire discussions? Diverted and distracted, Reuben's divisions couldn't make up their minds. Gilead played it safe across the Jordan, and Dan, why did he go off sailing? Asher kept his distance on the seacoast, safe and secure in his harbors.’
“So if I read between the lines, the shepherds of Reuben discussed the war but decided to stay with their flocks – they were out standing in their fields. When called to battle, the people of Gilead said they were going to be out of town. The tribe of Dan went on a cruise. And the people of Asher hung out at the beach.
“Believe me, in the future, these groups will not be rewarded for ignoring the call to battle. Throughout Judges the tribe of Dan shows a total lack of faith and stiff-arms God in disobedience. When God calls us to his cause, it’s not the time to go sailing or surfing.”Judges 6 – Go!