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Deborah the judge

Deborah and Barak trust God to defeat Sisera.
Contributed by YO! Ministry
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Hindi
When the Hebrew people, the Israelites, settled in the Promise Land there was a time of peace. God had warned them not to disobey His laws or worship idols for this would lead to all kinds of troubles (see Deuteronomy 8:11-14,20). – Slide 1
Unfortunately over time they forgot God, disobeyed His commandments and began to worship idols. As a consequence they did not live in peace but suffered under attacks from their enemies. – Slide 2
The Israelites were not ruled by a king, instead God raised spiritual leaders called Judges who did their best to direct the people to serve God. – Slide 3
But when the judge died, they would turn back and act more corruptly than before. They returned to their stubborn, disobedient ways and worshipped idols instead of God (Judges 2:18-19). – Slide 4
So God allowed the Canaanites, ruled by King Jabin, to develop a strong army with over 900 chariots under the command of mighty Sisera. The powerful Canaanites mistreated the Israelites for 20 years. – Slide 5
They raided and stole their crops. – Slide 6
They captured their cattle. Eventually, the people prayed and cried out to God for help. Do you know what it is like to suffer under cruel people? God hears the prayers of those who suffer. – Slide 7
Bible story - Judges 4.<br/>In those days there was a woman prophetess who judged over the people. Her name was Deborah and she lived in the hill country of Ephraim. People were willing to travel up into the hills for her guidance from God. – Slide 8
Deborah summoned Barak the leader of the Israelite and said. ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, has commanded, “Go and march to Mount Tabor with ten thousand men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun. I will draw out Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon, and I will give you victory over him.”’ – Slide 9
Barak replied, ‘I will go but only if you go with me. If you won’t go with me, I won’t go.’ ‘I will go with you,’ said Deborah, ‘But the credit for victory will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.’ – Slide 10
Sisera, the commander of the Canaanites heard that Barak gathered together 10,000 men to fight him at Mount Tabor. He quickly gathered his trained men of war and 900 iron chariots to attack Barak and his group of poorly equipped fighters. – Slide 11
Deborah, Barak and the brave Israelites stood on Mount Tabor and watched below as the Sisera organised his mighty force of chariots near the river Kishon. They grew tense as they saw this mighty foe below. How could they possibly fight against such a strong army? – Slide 12
The sky grew very dark above them. Then a mighty torrent of rain came. Deborah said to Barak, ‘Go! The Lord has given Sisera into your hands. The Lord has gone out before you.’ So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. – Slide 13
The Lord confused Sisera and his chariots as the water in the river Kishon rose to a mighty torrent, flooded the land and swept many of the army away. – Slide 14
Barak pursued the fleeing chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-hagoyim, defeating the whole army. – Slide 15
Only Sisera the commander escaped on foot. Fleeing in panic and exhausted he came to a tent and saw Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. ‘Come in,’ said Jael, Don’t be afraid.’ So he entered her tent and she covered him with a blanket. – Slide 16
‘I’m thirsty. Please give me some water,’ Sisera begged. She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up. ‘Stand in the doorway of the tent,’ he told her. ‘If someone comes by and asks you, “Is anyone in there?” say “No.”’ Then he lay down and fell asleep. – Slide 17
Jael, took a tent peg and seized a hammer. She crept up to the sleeping general and drove the tent peg into his forehead with such force it went through into the ground. So, a woman got the credit of ending the life of this cruel commander, just as Deborah had predicted. – Slide 18
The cruel Canaanites and powerful Sisera were no longer a threat to the Israelites. Barak and Deborah celebrated by singing praise to God (Judges 5). By trusting and obeying God the Israelites then enjoyed 40 years of peace. – Slide 19
A free video of this story, that you can pause to encourage discussion, is available at http://www.yoplace.org/video.php – Slide 20