Arise and Stand

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In Judges chapter 4, we find the story of Deborah, one of the Old Testament judges. It is explained to us at the beginning of the chapter that during this time period God would raise up one judge after another in the nation of Israel. While the judge lived, the Lord would spare Israel from the hands of their enemies. It is explained to us that during Deborah's rule the Israelites were being severely oppressed by Jabin King of Canaan, something that had been going on for 20 years. Deborah sends for Barak. She makes a bold statement, "The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands."(4:6-7) Barak refuses to go unless Deborah will go with him. Deborah agrees, but not before reminding Barak that because of this choice the Lord would deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman. Everything happens as Deborah prophesied that it would. Barak follows Deborah's instructions and the army of Sisera is defeated. In an unexpected plot twist, Sisera flees to the tent of Jael due to a long standing family alliance between her family and King Jabin's. Jael murders Sisera in his sleep by driving a tent peg through his head...ouch. In this manner, the final victory was wrought at the hands of a woman.

Through my study of Deborah, God is teaching me what it means to stand. The word stand means to stand to one's feet, to arise, to face and to encounter, to remain firm and steadfast.

We need to stand to our feet. In the following chapter of Judges, Deborah gives praises to God and I love what she says: "Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back, until I, Deborah arose; until I arose, a mother in Israel" (5:7). Deborah was a woman. Woman were undervalued in this time period. The fact that Deborah was elected to be judge was unheard of. It was even more unheard of that she was asked to accompany Barak at the head of army. Yet God had chosen Deborah and set her apart for a very important purpose. He had called her to take a stand.

Israel would not fight until she arose. There are people in your life who are waiting for you to arise. There are people around you who are waiting for someone to take the first step in standing for what is right. God is looking for an army of people who will arise, even if it means that they stand alone in fighting against the enemies schemes. We need to be people who can say with sincerity, "I'm a leader not a follower."

We need to stand and fight.

We are all battling against something. In the fight that we are in, the Lord has gone ahead of us (Judges 4:14). As David writes in Psalms 18:32-35, "It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great." We are encouraged in Eph. 6:13, "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand."

We need to stand in worship.

As we stand firm, our praise will be our weapon of warfare. As it says in Psalm 118:14, "The Lord is my strength and my song, he has become my victory." It is so important that we worship through the storms of this life. As we worship, we send a message to the enemy's camp that our Savior has already overcome. As Deborah says in verse 5:3, "I will make music to the Lord, the God of Israel."

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