Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Will The Men of God Please Stand Up! Deborah, Barak, and Abimelech

"And she 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?  ...And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go."
Judges 4:6 and 8
Sometime back I began a study of the chiastic structure found in the Book of Judges here on Active Christian Media.  As a quick reminder, a chiasm is an ancient literary device that placed a symmetric pattern into the text.  The purpose was to highlight a specific theme.  This device is very common, and it is found in the New Testament as well.
The theme of the entire book of Judges is apostasy.  The further one gets from the first great Judge, Othniel, the worse things are for ancient Israel.  Negative traits in Israel's leaders began to be exposed as the time of the Judges unfolds in the text.  All judges before Gideon are positive judges who ruled a united nation while all after Gideon are mostly negative judges who allowed tribal bickering to separate the people of Israel.  The last of the judges to be considered in the study of this pattern are Deborah and Barak who are contrasted with Abimelech.  The picture below will highlight their similarities and differences.
Though the idea is not popular today nor is it "politically correct", the LORD intended for a man to stand up and be the judge of Israel  just as he meant for men to be the priest of the home and the leader of the family unit.  However, in the absence of one qualified, God will use "whosoever will" to accomplish his divine purposes.  Deborah is a great leader and a prime example of a wonderful woman of God who was divinely anointed, appointed, and used to bring greatness to the land of Israel when a man of God would not stand true and take his ordained place of leadership.  Barak would not even go to battle unless Deborah was nearby.  Even Deborah seems to understand this as she pleads with the brave (?) Barak to take his position as the head of the armies of Israel in order to repulse the enemies of the nation that were bringing severe oppression.  Thank GOD for a brave women who stand when men of God balk at their assignment!  Thank God for anyone who sees a need and heeds the call to service!  Since Barak would not heed and lead, notice that it is a woman who is credited with the victory.  Consequently, Abimelech, the tainted judge, is also humiliated in a similar fashion as Israel's enemy, Sisera, was.
So the question for today is, where are the men of God leading and guiding as the priests of the home and men of God in the church?  Study after study shows that children are greatly effected by the faith of their father.  Not to demean the place of a mother at all, but there is something to be said for a man who will stand up and take his place even as Christ took the place of leadership over His bride, the church.  It is certain that God wants men who will love their wives as Christ loved the church and giving Himself for her.  Surely, the LORD wants men who will train their children as is prescribed in scripture.  The influence of fathers on children cannot be under emphasized.  Neither can their influence in prayer and worship in the church be under emphasized as well.  Man of GOD, will you not take a place of leadership in the home?  Will you not take the time to train and guide your children in the ways of God and be a leader in church as well? Stand up for your faith in the site of all and be a leader for Christ's sake!
Please do not take this post from the context in which it was meant!  This is not an indictment against women and their overwhelmingly valuable place in the home and church.  It is not meant to be demeaning nor negative against the role of women in the body of Christ.  Take it as the admonition that it is meant to be.  In a time when the family is just as fragmented as ancient Israel was in the days of the last judges, with rampant divorce and fatherless homes, take it as a plea for the men of God to stand up in America and lead the heart of the family back to the foot of the cross.  Quit neglecting your God ordained duties and lead!

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