Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“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.”
Judges 4: 22
King James Version
“Your Life’s Mission”
“Here is a test to see if your mission on earth is finished. If you are alive, it isn’t.”
Have I asked God what His mission is for my life?
Am I following His instructions on the journey of my life?
“Better to love God and die unknown than to love the world and be a hero; better to be content with poverty than to die a slave to wealth; better to have taken some risks and lost than to have done nothing and succeeded at it.”
Erwin W. Lutzer
“The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them.”
Michel de Montaigne
One of the most fascinating things I’ve learned during the time we have been studying together is how God constantly invites regular, everyday folk like you and me to help Him accomplish his purpose for good upon this earth.
There was Noah the carpenter. Moses the shepherd. Miriam the singer. And as we have found out over the last few days, Deborah the housewife; Jael the tent-dweller; and Barak the army captain.
God asked Deborah to be the Judge of Israel at a crucial time in the history of the nation. She was to use her heaven-given wisdom to listen and guide the people. She was, what we call in this day and age, a Life-Coach. Under the palm tree of Deborah, the people of Israel brought her their problems and she gave them God’s advice.
However, Deborah didn’t act alone. This is a critical point we must not pass over lightly. Time after time we find God uses people in conjunction with each other. In nearly every Biblical story, when God has a task He needs to accomplish on earth, He doesn’t ask for only one person to be the all-knowing and all-doing person. He invites a combination or team of His children to work together. Moses had his brother Aaron and his sister Miriam and later, his father-in-law Jethro to advise him including having judges over groups of people so he didn’t have to do everything himself. Noah had the support of his wife, and his three sons, and their wives. Just think how difficult it would have been if during the 120 years Noah was building the ark his family had joined with everybody else who mocked him and disbelieved his preaching.
When the time came for Sisera to be destroyed, again we find God using a team of talent. God needed a listener with wisdom and He called His daughter Deborah, “a mother in Israel” to be His chosen instrument. But He also needed a man who had the training and skill to lead in battle. This is where God needed Barak, an army captain to be a leader. What’s more, God needed someone who had physical strength and perseverance and these were abilities Barak possessed. Let’s not forget, it was estimated that the actual “battle” with Sisera took place nearly 30 plus miles from the place Sisera was eventually killed and as our text today tells us, Barak didn’t let Sisera get away. Just because Sisera was out-of-sight didn’t mean he was safe, not with Barak tailing him. Barak kept pursuing Sisera as long as it took to make certain he “found his man.”
However, God didn’t just use Deborah and Barak – two of His chosen, Israelite children. He also called His daughter, Jael, a tent-dwelling Kenite, because He needed her abilities also to take out Sisera.
There is a HUGE lesson for us in this story.
Throughout our studies I’ve referred to God’s “golden thread” that runs from Genesis to Revelation. We see this thread of the unchanging God present again as we study the lives of Deborah, Barak and Jael, three extremely diverse and unique characters working together as a team. And when we go to the New Testament and read the words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 12: 4-6, we find what Paul is describing, perfectly laid out as heaven’s example in the lives of our “trio” that led the fight to overthrow the tyrannical rule of King Jabin and Sisera: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (K.J.V.)
It appears to me, Paul might have been thinking about Deborah, Barak and Jael, three of the most diverse people in the world, yet who through the power of God, worked together like a well-greased machine to accomplish God’s purpose on earth.
We need to learn this important and valuable lesson today. God doesn’t need for us to be alike to get things done for Him. He only needs us to use our specific skills in conjunction with others in a harmonious manner.
I don’t have to possess every ability. No one has every skill or talent. I know I don’t! As I thought about the different qualities needed to get the work of God done in destroying the evil Sisera, I thought about what it takes for us to do our work here at Transformation Garden.
Pat Privée enters and types all the devotionals and sends them out around the world along with the Urgent Prayer Blasts. My Mom, Ellen, mails out all our gifts like bookmarks and gift books. She patiently hand addresses hundreds of envelopes every week. My wonderful friend and artist Betty Carr paints the beautiful watercolor pictures and flowers for us and Beverly Ringo then takes Betty’s designs and sets up the artwork for bookmarks. All these individuals work together to make it possible for me to study and write the devotionals everyday. Each person is important – every person has a critical part to play.
As you think about the team of Deborah, Barak and Jael, I encourage you to look at your own life – and at the team of individuals God may have put together in your life – a team He is asking you to work in harmony with to accomplish His plans on earth.
“The life of the individual only has meaning insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful.”
I give you my hands to do your work.
I give you my feet to go your way.
I give you my eyes to see as you do.
I give you my tongue to speak your words.
I give you my mind that you may think in me.
I give you my spirit that you may pray in me.
I give you my heart that you may love in me,
Your Father, and all mankind.
I give you my whole self that you may grow in me,
so that it is you. Lord Jesus,
who live and work and pray in me.
I hand over to your care, Lord,
my soul and body.
my mind and thoughts.
my prayers and my hopes,
my health and my work,
my life and my death,
my parents and my family,
my friends and my neighbours,
my country and all men.
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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