Reflection: What aspect or lesson from last week’s study or lecture most encouraged or challenged you? Why?
Begin your study in prayer for wisdom and courage to faithfully follow the Lord in your life this week. Deborah and Barak demonstrated faith by courageously following God and fighting a formidable enemy. Their weakness became strength as God worked on their behalf to achieve victory.
To subdue [Gk katagonizomai — from kata “against” and agon “a contest” (the root of the English words “agony” and “agonize”), to struggle against, to subdue, to conquer] is to persevere courageously in faithfully following God despite difficult battles and overwhelming opposition.
Believers have been enlisted in the cosmic battle between God and Satan, and are encouraged to overcome [Gk nikao — to overcome, prevail, conquer, achieve victory] evil, sin, the devil, and the corruption of the world by obedient faithful submission to the leadership of Christ, to the marching orders of the Word, and the filling of the Spirit. We are promised that we are more than conquerors [Gk hupernikao — huper “over” and nikao “conquer” — pre-eminently victorious, to gain a surpassing victory] through Christ who loves us.
Be of good courage, for Christ has already won the victory!
1. What were God’s instructions to Israel concerning life when they possessed their land? What were His conditions for blessing? What were His consequences for disobedience? Organize your observations on the following chart.
INSTRUCTIONS TO ISRAEL
CONDITIONS FOR BLESSING
CONSEQUENCES FOR DISOBEDIENCE
2. What happened to the Israelites after Joshua died?
A. How did God discipline them? (Judges 2:10–15)
B. The pattern of the book of Judges is described in 2:16–19. What were the five cycles that kept repeating?
C. What does God’s response tell us about Him?
3. What is significant about Deborah being a judge in Israel?
A. What other women were in leadership roles in the OT? (See Ex. 15:20 and 2 Kings 22:14)
B. What insight does this give you about God’s use of women in leadership?
4. What methods did God use to call the deliverers he used?
A. How did he call Barak (Judges 4:4–7)?
B. Gideon (Judges 6:11–12)?
C. Jephthah (Judges 11:4–11)?
D. Samson (Judges 13:2–3)?
What does this tell us?
5. What does Barak’s response indicate about him?
A. About Deborah?
B. Why does Hebrews 11 commend Barak for his faith?
C. How did he demonstrate it?
D. What additional insights do you gain from any of the cross-references on faith courageously following God or on the reward of faith in victory over enemies in the Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment?
6. Why was Sisera such a terrifying enemy? (Judges 4:3,13; 5:8)
A. Why did Sisera feel safe in Jael’s tent?
B. What does this suggest about Jael’s loyalties?
C. What is the significance of the weapon Jael used?
7. What does Deborah’s song tell us about how God defeated Sisera’s armies? (Judges 5:4–5, 20–22)
What do we learn about God’s love, patience, and forgiveness in Judges?
1. How do Deborah and Jael encourage you as a woman?
A. Think about how God used them in their roles as wives and mothers. (Judges 5:7, 24–27)
B. Do you feel frustrated by your responsibilities and feel they keep you from meaningful service?
2. What does this book teach us about the blessings of obedience and the consequences of disobedience?
Is there some area in which you need to obey the Lord?
3. Can you think of some movements started by women that have changed our world or have had an impact on their society?
4. What can you do to be involved in corrective action against injustice or oppression in our community or world?
5. What one insight or lesson do you hope to remember from your study of Deborah and Barak? Write it below to share in class, and then write it on the journal page entitled “Lessons Along the Way” at the back of your study guide.
Choose one verse from this week’s lesson to memorize. Write it here and meditate on it.
Deborah and Barak courageously demonstrated faith by following God against a threatening enemy. Utilize your word-study tools to examine the meaning of the following words, and list the insights you learn from the related scriptural cross-references. How do these insights enhance your understanding of the response of faith in courageously following God regardless of the circumstances and possible consequences, and the reward of faith of achieving a decisive victory?
Conquered (Subdued, KJV) [Heb. 11:33]
2 Sam. 8:1
Overcome [John 16:33]
2 Peter 2:19–20
1 John 2:13–14
1 John 4:4
Overcomes (overcometh, KJV) [1 John 5:4]
1 John 5:4-5
For additional insight on becoming a valiant soldier of the Lord, read 2 Tim. 2:3–4 and Eph. 6:10–20. How can you demonstrate courage and valor in your life?