Sunday, February 17, 2013

Deborah and Barak

Sunday school lesson from February 10, from Judges 4-5...

Israel had come a long way. God brought them out of Egypt, and He used Moses and Joshua to lead them to the Promised Land and then go through the long and difficult process of conquering it. They saw the Red Sea and the Jordan River part. God gave them manna and quail in the wilderness, and He made water come out of rock. He made the thick walls of Jericho fall with trumpet blasts! He even made the sun stand still so they could defeat six cities in one day. After that, God led them to defeat more enemies until they conquered the land. But after Joshua died, the Israelites started to forget everything they had seen. They worshiped statues instead of God, and He wasn’t very happy about that. In fact, He became so angry that He sent more enemies against them, and the Israelites became slaves to a new enemy. But then, they remembered God and prayed. So He heard them and raised up a judge named Othniel. He was Caleb’s little brother. Othniel led the Israelites to victory, and they defeated their enemy. After Othniel died, Israel forgot God again, so He sent them another enemy. Then they prayed, and God sent Ehud to be their judge and lead them to victory. After Ehud came Shamgar. But then, Israel forgot God AGAIN! You’d think they’d learn their lesson!

This time, God punished them again by sending a Canaanite King named Jabin to attack them. His army general was named Sisera, a nasty character. Sisera did terrible things with his chariots and army, and for twenty years, Israel was miserable under his cruelty. By this point, there was a new judge named Deborah. She was also a prophetess, and she got a message from God. She obeyed what He told her to do. She sent for a man named Barak of the tribe of Naphtali, and when he arrived she told him, “God commands you to go, lead the men of the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun to Mount Tabor. God will lure Sisera and his army to the Kishon River, and you will defeat them.”

But Barak was scared out of his mind. He responded, “I’ll go, but only if you come with me.”

Deborah said, “OK, I’ll go, but since you don’t trust God enough, a woman will defeat Sisera!”

So Deborah and Barak set out, leading the armies of the Israelite tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun, and they went to Mount Tabor. When Sisera got word that they had gone there, he led his army to the Kishon River, just as God had said would happen.

Deborah told Barak, “Go! This is the day God promised! He has given Sisera into your hands!” So Barak led his army of ten thousand soldiers down the mountain to meet their enemy. God sent an earthquake and a powerful rainstorm. Barak’s army defeated Sisera’s, and many of the enemy soldiers were swept away by the river! Israel chased the survivors of Sisera’s army, and not one of them survived.

But Sisera got away! He escaped to the tent of Heber, the man who had warned him that the Israelites were coming. Heber’s wife Jael welcomed him in. Sisera was all tired out from fighting and running, and he asked her to hide him and to give him a drink. She gave him some milk and let him get some sleep, covering him. Once he had fallen asleep, Jael took a tent peg, quietly snuck up to him, and…

Pretty soon, Barak and his army arrived in pursuit of General Sisera. Jael ran out of her tent and told Barak, “Come see! I have something to show you!” He stepped into her tent and found the evil Sisera, dead, with a tent peg in his head.

So, just as God promised, He helped Barak and Deborah to defeat Sisera’s army, but Sisera himself was defeated by a woman.

That day, Deborah and Barak sang a song of praise to God for saving them from their evil oppressor and leading them to victory.

1 comment :

  1. Good job of modifying this story to make it meet the level of your students.