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Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruthby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-87083-743-5
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 19 of 33 Section 1 of 3

LIFE-STUDY OF JUDGES

MESSAGE FOUR

THE MISERABLE HISTORY
OF ISRAEL’S FORSAKING OF GOD
CHAPTERS 2—16

(2)

THE FIRST THREE CYCLES
OF THE MISERABLE HISTORY OF ISRAEL

Scripture Reading: Judg. 3:7—5:31

Before we come to 3:7—5:31, I have the burden to speak a word concerning the intrinsic significance of this portion of Judges.

Prior to the history recorded in these chapters, the people of Israel had never had a female leader. Then, suddenly, God raised up a female, Deborah, as a judge of Israel. Regarding this, we need to realize that in the Bible, whenever God does something which stands out as being extraordinary, it is very significant. It indicates, first, man’s failure, and then, God’s excellent act. At the time of Judges 4, all the men of Israel had failed, so God raised up a woman. That raising up of a female changed the entire condition of Israel.

In the Bible a proper female indicates one who is in submission to God, one who keeps God’s ordination. This is the position that Israel should have taken before God, but the situation in Israel had become fully abnormal. The men had left their position before Jehovah. Hence, Israel violated God’s ordination, leaving her position as God’s wife and forsaking Him for hundreds of idols. This brought Israel into a miserable situation and condition.

According to God’s creation, Deborah was a very capable person. By reading her song in chapter five, we can see that she was full of ability, capacity, insight, and foresight. But such an excellent person was very submissive. God made her the leader, yet she kept the proper order and took Barak as her covering (4:6-9). She realized that she needed a man to be her covering. Actually, Barak did nearly nothing, yet Deborah took him as her “head covering.” When she took this kind of standing, the whole nation became different. In their miserable situation no one would take the lead to fight for Jehovah’s interest, and no one would be willing to follow. But when this excellent, extraordinary woman took the lead to practice the female submission to the man, the entire country came into the proper order. Everyone returned to his or her proper position. Thus Deborah could say in her song, “Then a remnant of the nobles went down; / The people of Jehovah went down with me against the mighty” (5:13). All the leaders took the lead, and all the people followed; the army was formed. At first, only some of the people followed, but eventually they all followed. From this we see that the entire country came into an excellent order, assuming the proper position before Jehovah.

Judges 5:15-16 speaks of “great resolutions in heart” and “great searchings of heart.” In Israel’s miserable situation, no one was searching his heart. But the people needed a great searching of their hearts, and they needed to make great resolutions in their hearts to rise up and follow the others to fight for God’s kingdom.

We may apply this to our practice of the vital groups today. For the vital groups we need much prayer with repentance. In our prayer spontaneously the searching of the heart comes to us. This issues in a resolve to live for the Lord and to fight for the Lord according to the present need in His recovery. In particular, we need to make a resolution before the Lord concerning gaining persons for His increase. This is “great resolutions in heart.”

Judges 3:12-13 says that Jehovah strengthened Israel’s enemies, but 4:6-16 reveals that Jehovah was fighting for Israel. This shows that God is a God of incarnation. God wants man to match Him so that He can move. If Israel had not fought, God would not have fought for them. However, because Israel did fight under Deborah in a proper order, God fought for them. The principle is the same with us today. If we do not go out to gain sinners, God will not go, but if we go, God also will go. However, this kind of going out needs a searching of our heart and a resolution in our heart. God will not work until we become active in this searching of our heart and making resolutions in our heart. This is the way to fight the battle; this is the way to preach the gospel; and this is the way to gain sinners to become members of Christ.

Judges 5:31b says, “May those who love Him be like the sun / When it rises in its might.” For the sun to rise in its might means that it shines brightly, brilliantly, and gloriously. We need the searchings, the resolutions, and the rising up to shine like the sun. If all the churches would be like this, they surely would enjoy the victory. May all the dear saints in the Lord’s recovery have great searchings and make great resolutions, and may they all, by loving the Lord, rise up like the sun to shine brightly.

Let us now consider the first three cycles of the miserable history of Israel in 3:7—5:31.


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