Today and tomorrow we will be doing some catching up on our reading, since we diverted some attention to Resurrection Day.
We are now in some of the darkest days of Israel’s history. It’s easy to see that the faithfulness of one generation doesn’t necessarily get passed down to the next. For the next decades, we will see a yo-yo effect happening. “Good” generations followed by “bad” ones, over and over.
Without any real explanation, we see Deborah come on the scene. (I say without explanation, because the society was unmistakably led by men, and here we see a woman rising up to judge Israel). For all women leaders, this should be encouraging, because it’s clear that even in early times, God was using women in leadership.
God speaks with her and gives her prophecy to bring deliverance to the sons of Israel. Barak is to go out against Jabin, King of Canaan. Deborah is so highly esteemed that Barak wouldn’t go without her going with him. So she does, and he does.
With the aid of another woman, Jael, Jabin’s army is thrown down, and Israel is free one more time.
What rejoicing we see. Deborah and Barak celebrate with singing and dancing…and Israel enjoys peace for another forty years.
But then…”the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”
Can you believe it? Will they ever learn?
Will we ever learn?
Jesus has authority and power everywhere He goes. He amazes those around Him as He heals all the sick and casts out demons. The crowds have never seen anything like this!
Interestingly, the demons recognize Him and say, “You are the Son of God.” But, rebuking them, He “would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.”(v.41) Why would Jesus do that?
I think there are two reasons. The first is that Jesus stops many attacks of the devil at their source by stopping the words the demons speak. Since words have power, the demons could have created more warfare for Him – and created more confusion in the people around Him.
The second is related. The kingdom of God is built upon people who hear within their hearts that He is the Christ. Jesus is counting on Holy Spirit drawing men to Him, because only when the revelation comes from the Spirit is the foundation sure. The message is pure.
If demons are proclaiming Jesus, only great discord could be the result. Needless to say, a pure gospel would not be preached in that manner. So the demons are prohibited from speaking of Him.
Jesus and His mission are God’s business. Certainly the devil and his imps are to stay out of it!