The Prophetess-Judge, the General and the Hammer Woman (Part 1)
by Sophia Prinsloo
Text Version | Afrikaans
Everybody at the church camp was excited. The campers had been asked to put on a talent show for the adults on Saturday evening. Not a single adult was allowed to help.
Sally, being the most organized, quickly spoke up: "I'll be the coordinator."
"The co… what?" little Jim asked.
Sally lovingly replied, "Little Jim, the coordinator is the person who makes sure everything in the show runs smoothly." Then she started making plans. "Alex, you have such a strong, clear voice. Will you be our master of ceremonies?"
"That will be my pleasure, Sally!" Alex replied. Secretly, Alex had a crush on Sally, but she did not know it.
"Constance, you have such a way with small children. Do you think you can get them to sing a song together?" Sally asked.
"I'll try my best, Sally. Kiddie choir, here we come!" Constance replied, thumbs up and smiling.
"Phil, will you open the show for us with prayer?" Sally asked.
"No problem, Sally, I'd like to do that," Phil answered.
"Can we work the curtains?" Charlie and Dean asked.
"Yes! But you must keep your eyes on me when giving the signal to open and to close," Sally said as Charlie and Dean nodded.
"Can I say a poem?" Lerato asked.
"Can I play my panpipe?" Danny asked.
"Can Brigitte, Maggie and I do a worship song together?" Geraldine asked.
"We want to do an acrobatic performance," Mike, Ricardo and Andrew said.
"My friends and I want to do a skit," Helen said as Dorothy, Trish and Gary nodded in agreement, anticipating the fun it would be.
Everybody was so excited as more and more children came up with ideas for the show. Before long, Sally finished a long enough list of all the performances and she handed it to Alex who would serve as the announcer for the show. Now Sally had to come up with a nice introduction for each performance.
That night, all the adults came to watch the children's show. Alex introduced Phil to open the show with prayer, asking the Lord's blessing on the night and the weekend. First up was Constance and the Kiddy Choir with the song, "Why worry, when you can pray?" Everybody clapped hands when they were done.
Danny's performance of "The Lord is My Shepherd" on his panpipe was outstanding and brought tears to many eyes. Lerato's poem showed great skill. The girl's worship song and the boy acrobats had the audience in awe and Helen and her friends' skit left everyone in stitches.
The last performance was the best when all the children sang "Amazing Grace" together. The show was a huge success. The audience enjoyed it thoroughly and kept on clapping hands, yelling "Encore, encore!" "Do it again! Do it again!"
Then Alex lifted his hands for quiet and everybody hushed. He introduced Sally for a final word.
Sally began, "Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight I first want to thank everyone who had a part and did their best to present this show to you. You are so talented. We want to thank our Lord Jesus, Who gave us these talents to use for his glory. Thank you all for coming and for encouraging us with your hearty clapping. Let's stand up and give all the glory to God, praising his holy Name by singing, "How Great Thou Art!"
As the last notes of the song were sung, everybody knew in their hearts they truly serve a great God Who deserves all the glory in heaven and on earth, forever and ever!
The Prophetess-Judge, the General and the Hammer Woman (Part 1)
by Sophia Prinsloo
When Joshua led the children of Israel to victory, taking possession of the Promised Land, they triumphed over their enemies because they trusted in God and served Him wholeheartedly. God gave them victories over many heathen nations. Later in the time of the judges, the Israelites drifted away from the Lord and began serving heathen idols. Because they were disobedient to God, He could no longer protect them against heathen nations which bullied them, making them slaves.
One such a heathen king, who afflicted them for twenty years, was King Jabin from Canaan. He terrorized Israel with 900 iron chariots, each pulled by one or two horses. Some of these chariots even had knives on the wheels to cut enemy foot soldiers while they drove past them.
The people of Israel were horribly afraid of this fast army which could strike at any moment and bring destruction. They lived in constant fear of them. Children could no longer play in the streets, travelers could no longer walk safely on the roads between towns, and most Israelites had fled into the mountains where the iron chariots could not reach them.
In their hardship, they remembered the Lord their God and began to call upon Him again. Then God sent a woman judge called Deborah to lead them. She was the wife of Lapidoth, who lived between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim.
Deborah was not only a judge, but also a prophetess. She served the Lord with her whole heart. She spent much time with the Lord in prayer, and she continued to learn about God's love, goodness, mercy, holiness and power. The Israelites came from everywhere to visit her church which met under a big old palm tree in the mountains of Ephraim. There they sat and eagerly listened to her, learning about the Lord. She was like a mother to them.
The richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor came to hear what the Lord spoke through Judge Deborah. She taught them how to serve the Lord, told them they must destroy their idols, and led them to confess their sins and live honest lives. She told them they had to conduct themselves according to God's holy laws and serve the Lord their God, and Him alone. Only then would He deliver them again from the nations who warred against them, robbing them of everything, making slaves of them, and killing them.
In the meantime, further north, in the area of the tribe of Naphtali, at the walled city of Kedesh, General Barak was busy sharpening his sword. As the sword became sharper and sharper, he thought about how terribly Israel was afflicted by King Jabin and his iron chariot army. He knew the Israelites did not even have many swords among them and did not stand a chance against those iron chariots. In the mountains they could still defend themselves, but down in the valley, it was humanly impossible. Only God could help them, but Barak did not know if God really wanted to help them.
Suddenly there was an urgent knock at the door. As quick as lightening, General Barak grabbed his sword and told his wife and kids to hide before he opened the door. He was ready to cut off any enemy's head.
The knock came again and a voice yelled, "Shalom, General Barak! We are coming in peace!"
Relieved Barak lowered his sword but still opened the door very carefully. Outside, there were two messengers.
"General Barak, the prophetess, Judge Deborah, has sent us to you to come and fetch you," the short man said.
"Yes, sir. She has a message from the Lord God of Israel to convey to you," the tall man said.
For a moment General Barak was quiet and then he immediately said, "All right, I shall go with you!" He hugged his wife and kids, put on his full armor, took his shield and sword, and left with them for the mountains of Ephraim. Judge Deborah sat and waited for him under her palm tree. She was all ready with a special message for the General.
Before he could even sit down, Judge Deborah pointed a finger at him and spoke with great authority. "Barak," she said, "I have a message for you. The Lord God of Israel commands you: 'Take 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulon and go up Mount Tabor. I will cause Sisera, King Jabin's general, to come to you at the River Kishon with all his chariots, and there I shall give them into your hand and you will destroy them!'"
Judge Deborah told General Barak that the Lord would go with him and give him and his army victory. She said, "Barak, stand up, be a man! Believe that God has the power to destroy these iron chariots so that He can be glorified before the eyes of these wicked people."
General Barak accepted God's command, but he insisted on Deborah going with him and his men. He told her, "If you will go with us, I shall go, but if you will not go, I shall not go."
She answered him, "All right then. I will go with you, but the honor for the victory will not be yours, because God will destroy Sisera by the hand of a woman." General Barak cared nothing for getting honor because he valued Judge Deborah's praying power and godly wisdom going with him far more than earthly praise and honor.
While Deborah prepared to go with him, Barak sent messengers to the men of Naphtali and Zebulon, telling them to meet him by Kishon River in Kedesh. Ten thousand brave soldiers from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulon showed themselves very willing to come, fight in the Lord's army. This army of men joined Judge Deborah and General Barak as they went to Mount Tabor, just as the Lord had instructed.
Excitement and expectation brewed among the soldiers as they were waiting patiently for the Lord's command to march towards the valley to meet Sisera's iron chariot army.
(Continued in Part 2)
Jesus wants us to be willing to use our talents to help other people and bring glory to his Name.
1. What is a talent?
2. What were Deborah's talents?
3. What were Barak's talents?
4. Were they willing to use their talents for God's glory?
5. Did they use their talents to help other people?
6. How many soldiers were willing to come and fight with Deborah and General Barak?
7. What talent or talents do you have?
8. Are you willing to use your talents for God's glory?
9. How can you do good or help other people with your talents?
A VERSE TO LEARN
"My heart is with the rulers of Israel who offered themselves willingly with the people. Bless the Lord!" (Judges 5:9 NKJV).
AN ALTERNATIVE VERSE TO LEARN
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).
Heavenly Father, help us to know what talents You have given us.
Also help us to use our talents to do good things,
help other people and bring glory to your Name.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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