Read at the beginning of service:
Philippians 2:12-16 (NIV)
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. 14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
One thing I?ve observed about having four young children is that being a mother is not easy. I see the things that Kerryanne does and has to do and realize that a mother has a precious and difficult task.
Erma Bombeck in her book, “Motherhood the second Oldest Profession” writes;
“I have always felt that too much time was given before birth, which is spent learning things like how to breathe in and out with your husband (I had my baby when they gave you a shot in the hip and you didn?t wake up until the child was ready to start school), and not enough time is given to how to mother after the baby is born.
Motherhood is an art. And it is naive to send a mother into the arena for 20 years with a child and expect her to come out on top. Everything is in the child?s favor. He?s little, he?s cute and he can turn tears on and off like a faucet.
There have always been schools for children. They spend anywhere from 12-16 years of their lives in them, around other children who share the experiences of being a child and how to combat it. They?re in an academic atmosphere where they learn how to manipulate parents and get what they want from them. They bind together to form a children?s network, where they pool ideas on how to get the car, how to get bigger allowances, and how to stay home when the parents go on vacation. Their influence is felt around the world. Without contributing a dime, they have more ice cream parlors, recreation centers, playgrounds, and amusement parks than any grownup could ever pull off.
They never pay full price for anything.
How do they do it?
They?re clever and they?re educated.
Some people think mothers should organize and form a union. I think education is the answer. If we only knew what to do and how to do it, we could survive.”
It?s true!!! Being a mom is perhaps one of the toughest jobs in the world. It requires a special person with special talents to be a mom, that is why men are not moms – we couldn?t handle it. We have a special task in being Dads!
Now, I am confident that just about every mom wants to be a good mom. And there are many books written, that for a price will tell them how to become good moms.
Today, as we celebrate and honor Mothers we will look at a book, but not just any book – we are going to look at the Bible, and we will specifically look at the life of Deborah. You find Deborah?s story in the book of Judges…
The book of Judges covers a period of 300 years. During this time God?s people lived in the promise land, but they have no king. It?s the period of time in between Joshua leading Israel in to conquer the promised land and the time Israel gets her first king.
Now, the law given to Moses at Mt Sinai was still the law of Israel, but after Joshua died there was no national government to enforce it. And the enforcement by the tribes or families was not consistent, and more often then not – people did whatever they thought was right
Judges 17:6 (NIV)
6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
The period of judges was characterized by God?s people going through the same cycle 7 times. Here?s the cycle –
Stage One: the people would be doing good.
Stage Two: after these years of prosperity they would turn their backs on God….
Stage Three: God would allow an enemy to oppress them
Stage Four: The people would cry out to God
Stage Five: God sends a deliverer
Stage Six: the people start doing good again (Repeat stages)
The entire book of Judges dramatically illustrates God?s willingness to forgive time and time again. (Hey, why don?t you take that truth home with you today, IF you desire to change and you seek God?s forgiveness – it?s there!)
Deborah?s story takes place during one of these cycles…
God?s people were once again doing wrong in the eyes of the Lord, and as always this drifting to wrong started when they began to worship false gods & idols…when they left the one true God to pursue gods of man?s own making….
In response to this rebellion God removed His protection from them. God?s people had on their own, by their actions, made the choice to step outside of His protection (His people still do that today) . And once God?s protection was removed, it was not long before an enemy came riding in (that?s how it usually happens). This time the enemy was Jabin, a King of Canaan…
And Jabin literally did come riding in as the power and focal point of his army were 900 iron chariots…an army led by his commander, Sisera… For 20 years Jabin & Sisera cruelly oppressed the people…taking their land, their property, doing to the Israelites and their sons & daughters – whatever they wanted – whenever they wanted…
Well as always the people cried out to God in their hardships…. AND once again their false gods – proved to be just that false….gods who could do nothing to help or deliver them…
And in response God who is rich in mercy and full of compassion lifted up a deliverer, and the deliverer, this time was a woman named Deborah. Deborah was not only a judge of the people of Israel, BUT she was also a prophetess, which means she received direct revelation from the Lord – which enabled her to; interpret the past, give direction in the present and announce the future…
Now, Deborah had a regular spot where she held her court, it was in the hill country in Israel under a palm tree….about 10 miles from Jerusalem. People from the 4 corners of the land – would come to her to settle their arguments..
One day while Deborah was sitting under the palm tree – the Lord spoke to her, telling her the time was now – telling her, “I have heard the cries of MY people and the time was now for their deliverance….I have chosen Barak to lead Israel in battle with Sisera. Deborah wasted no time in sending for Barak after the Lord told her this, because she like the rest of the Israelites was ready for their enemies to be crushed…
Once Barak gets the word – he immediately comes to Deborah… As he stood before the prophetess, Deborah told him, “The Lord the God of Israel commands you: ?GO and gather ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them to Mount Tabor. I will make Sisera, the commander of Jabin?s army, and his chariots ride out and meet you at the Kishon River, there I will hand Sisera over to you…”
Now, Barak thought this was a pretty cool idea, he was pretty sick of Sisera and those Canaanites too. He was ready for them to go, but as he was about to leave Barak got to thinking about those chariots. The sheer power of those things, and the way since a young teen he had seen them riding through his homeland doing whatever – wherever they wanted…caused a sudden fear to well up inside of him.
Barak knew that this victory could only come about by the hand of God – and he knew that Deborah was the one who was closest to God – God spoke to her… So Barak said to Deborah…”I will go, only if you go with me, BUT if you won?t go with me, then I won?t go…”
Deborah replied, “No problem I will go with you, BUT because of the your hesitation in going without me, the credit for the victory & the honor of defeating Sisera will go not to you BUT to a woman…..”
Barak replied, “Hey that?s okay with me – I only want to see our enemy crushed I don?t care who gets the credit for the win…”
So Barak and Deborah left and began rallying the troops, for battle… Gathering that many men and taking them to the top of a mountain was not something that could escape notice.
AND besides, that was part of God?s plan. For not very long after God?s army gathered on the top of Mt Tabor word got back to Sisera of what was going on…
Sisera then gathered his army and all of his 900 chariots and marched confidently out of Haroseth Haggoyim where he lived… He gathered his forces near the Kishon River in the Valley below Mt Tabor…
Sisera was pretty confident that when those weak and cowardly Israelites who he had oppressed with such great ease saw him – his army and his chariots they would as they had always done before – tuck their tail in between their legs and go home…
Sure they had a strong position on the Mt. But they couldn?t stay up there forever and once they came down into the valley – he would cut their pitiful army into pieces with his chariots – and whatever scraps were left his infantry would easily dispose of….
While Sisera was looking up at the mountain, Barak was looking down at the army in the valley… The ten thousand men on the Mountain were still & quiet, just waiting for the word…Most of them had grown up and knew only this oppression of Sisera, This was their moment – this was their time to win freedom for their country and for the their families… The men were one unified hair trigger, just waiting to explode…
Suddenly the silence was broken as Deborah cried out to Barak, “Go!! TODAY IS THE DAY the Lord will hand over Sisera. The Lord has already cleared the way for you…”
That?s all it took and at once Barak led his 10,000 screaming men with swords & spears drawn, down the mountain…..Just as they took off there was a the sound of thunder – so loud that the earth itself shook .. And then the skies opened up and water poured from the heavens…
By the time Barak and his men reached the Valley – Sisera and his mighty chariots were literally stuck in the mud…. The sudden lose of their key military component threw them into a state of panic & confusion… And when the raging Israelites reached them it was a slaughter… Sisera seeing the defeat – left his chariot a took off on foot…
As his routed army retreated & headed west to their base camp – Sisera their commander fled north east… Ol Sisera was picking them up, and laying them down as fast as he could – his heart pounding – his lungs burning – fear immersing him…
In a clearing Sisera just up ahead he saw a tent, it was the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber one of the Kenite family groups. Sisera recalled that Heber?s family was at peace with Jabin king of the Canaanites… As the weary Sisera approached the tent – Jael came out to meet him, “Come into my tent Master! Come in, don?t be afraid…”
Jael gave Sisera a place to lie down and some milk to drink… The commander was tired, he asked her to stand at the tent?s entrance, to keep watch for his enemies…He told her that if anyone asks if she has seen anyone, she is to say no.
In no time at all Sisera was asleep… Deep asleep – he was exhausted … Now though Jael?s husband may have been loyal to Sisera – she was not… Many of her families and friends had suffered greatly at the hands of the man who was asleep in her tent…
What should she do – find the Israelite army and tell them? Wait for them to arrive? Just leave? What would you have done if you were her?
As Jael stood reflecting on this she saw the hammer she had used earlier, to set up the tent – laying beside a spare tent beg… Jael then seized the moment to ?literally? strike a blow for freedom…
She cautiously walked up to the sleeping general with hammer and tent peg in her hand… She knelt down placed the peg about a half inch from Sisera?s temple…raised the hammer – images of 20 years of cruel oppression flashed before her eyes, THEN with powerful force she struck the sleep general driving the tent peg through his temple into the desert ground… The tyrant of 20 years was dead….
At that very moment, Barak arrived at her tent (he had been chasing Sisera) Jael met him and said, “Come I will show you the man you are looking for…”
“So, Barak entered the tent, and there Sisera lay dead a tent peg in his head…”
WOW! What a story!
Now I know what some of you are thinking… What in the world does this story have to do with mothers day? Hang In.
On that very day of victory Deborah and Barak sang a song to the Lord – it is recorded in Judges chapter 5; and in verse 7 of this song Deborah sang these words…
“VILLAGE LIFE IN ISRAEL CEASED, CEASED UNTIL I, DEBORAH AROSE, AROSE A MOTHER IN ISRAEL.”
In that verse Deborah is called, “a mother in Israel”, she was a mother to the Israelite nation, and it also says, that she brought life back into the village. You see, life within the community of Israel was not what it had been (before the rebellion against God…. And Deborah was like a mother to Israel and she restored its life.
Deborah is a good example for mothers today, she demonstrates how they can bring life back into their community (or sphere of influence). Our world, our nation, our city and our churches desperately need women who will answer the call of God to Motherhood, Mothers who will bring life back into our homes, churches, cities, nation and our world. Because in many homes and in many places life is not as it should be. But there is also much in this verse that speaks to all of us. The main message? God wants to use people to bring life back to our communities! He wants to use us!
And to do that, we need to follow in Deborah?s footsteps, today we are going to look at 4 ways in which Debraoh brought life back to her community…
Godly Mothers like Deborah, IF they want to bring life back to their community:
Must Bring Their Children Word From The Lord
As we said earlier, Deborah was more than just a judge… she was a prophetess. And one of her primary duties was to take the Word she received from the Lord, and bring it to the people. The people needed to know what the Lord had to say, and it was Deborah, who brought them His words.
Listen; of all the things that you can give your children, and boy are there a bunch, and there are many that are good. But the most important thing that a mother will ever give her children is the Word of the Lord. Paul mentions?
Philippians 2:16 (NIV)
16 as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Who is the Word of Life? Jesus Christ!
I am confident that every mother here wants her child to experience life, wants her child to live life to the fullest, Jesus said,
John 10:10 (NIV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
The shoes we give our children will wear out (they do that pretty quick don?t they), they will outgrow their clothes, they will grow tired of and outgrow their toys, bikes & video games… EVEN little league, soccer, softball & cheerleading will one day fade into the sunset… No matter how vital and important they may seem at the time — most things we give our children are only temporary, here today and on the closet floor tomorrow – they don?t last.
But the word of the Lord abides forever.
1 Peter 1:25 (NIV)
25 but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
One of the apostle Paul?s faithful fellow workers in the Kingdom was a young men named Timothy. Paul had a tremendous influence in the spiritual life of Timothy, Paul referred to him as his ?son in the faith.?
But Timothy?s faith did not begin with Paul, Listen to what Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5,
2 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)
5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
In that verse we see the results of 2 generations of mothers who gave their children what was most important, the word of the Lord! Lois gave the Word of the Lord to her daughter Eunice, who passed it on to her son Timothy, who became a powerful servant of the Jesus Christ.
Listen; We must never underestimate the power and influence that a Mother, who holds out the Word of the Lord, has on her children!
Question; How do you do that? How does a mother today in the year 2004 give her children the words of the Lord?
- Teach them about Jesus Christ and how he has changed your life. Grow closer to Him so that your children can see Him living through your life.
- Bring them to a church where the word of the Lord is taught and is believed to be the inspired, authoritative Word of God.
- Get them a Bible they can understand and READ it with them!
- Encourage them to be in the scriptures – set the example….
- Make Jesus the center of your life ? not your children!!!
(Well, how to you do that?)
The bottom line… The most important thing in the life of your child is their relationship with Christ. Listen, it is this relationship that is going to help them overcome the pull of an ungodly society and to conquer the problems they will have in life….When they see His life in you they will realize what they?re missing and what they need.
TO BRING LIFE TO HER COMMUNITY MOTHER?S MUST BRING THEIR CHILDREN THE WORD OF LIFE.
#2, Godly Mothers like Deborah
Must Give Their Children Encouragement
In this awesome account of Barak & Deborah… We see Deborah encouraging Israel, specifically Barak in at least 2 ways.
First, Deborah Encouraged Barak With Her Presence
Remember when Barak asked Deborah to go with him when he went to battle Sisera, what did she do? She went with him. Listen, it would be a great source of encouragement to have Deborah, the one who received direction from the Lord go with him, as he faced the enemy.
Second, We See Deborah Encouraging Barak With Her Words
As Barak stood on Mt Tabor watching the enemy of his gathering their arm and their powerful chariots… As Barak?s hands, no doubt grew damp with sweat – do you think the words that Deborah said to him gave him any encouragement; “Go! TODAY is the day the Lord will hand over Sisera. The Lord already cleared the way for you…”
Those words gave Barak the assurance and confidence he needed to engage the enemy.
Deborah encouraged Barak by her presence & her words…
Encouragement is a powerful tool; it has the power to build up broken spirits and broken lives and it also has the power to motivate people to take on with confidence the many challenges of life.
There once was a man who said, “When I was a child my mother said to be, “If you become a soldier, you?ll be a general. If you become a monk, you?ll end up as Pope.” Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
Question; Do your children need your encouragement?
Do they have it?
Parents we need to remember how tough it is to be a kid, the pressures, the self doubt, and we must work to make Home a great place to be, a place of encouragement. A place to be built up and not torn down and told they are no good. Mother?s will you bring life to your children lives, by encouraging them?
How can you do it? Just like Deborah with your presence and your words…
You can encourage them with your presence……
Just our spending time with our kids is an encouragement to them. It shows them that we care and that they are important to us. Mothers and Father, we need to be involved in our children?s lives.
They are only with us a short amount of time, we need to spend time with them when they still want to be around us, because before to long they will be grown and our chances to really spend time with them will be gone forever. Let?s seize the moment with our children. And enjoy our time with them.
You can encourage them with your words
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Let your kids know that they are special because they are your children, encourage them to step out and try new things, help them in areas where they are having trouble. Let them know that you are behind them, and pick them up when they fall, push them when they need to get going and set them down when they need to be humbled.
Use your words, to let them know you care, and be sure to use God?s word, to let them know God cares.
One great verse to share with them is Jer 29:11;
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
This is not only a word for parents and their families but also for all of us and our family, the church!
ENCOURAGEMENT BRINGS LIFE TO THE VILLAGE…
#3; Godly Woman Like Deborah
Must Hold Their Children Accountable For Their Actions
Listen to how the NIV words verses 8,9 of chapter 4.
Judges 4:8-9 (NIV)
8 Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” 9 “Very well,” Deborah said, “I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh,
EVEN THOUGH DEBORAH encouraged Barak by going with him, she let Him know that there was a price to pay, there were consequences for his actions. The honor of killing Sisera would be given to a woman, (remember Jael and her trusty tent peg).
Being held responsible for ones actions is a lesson that desperately needs to be learned today. Another name for this is “DISCIPLINE”.
Parents if we do not hold our children accountable for their actions as they mature, if we don?t teach them this at home, they will learn the hard way.
Listen; Parents we must realize that we are not doing our kids any favors by not discipling them, in fact we are pushing them in the direction of a real lousy life as an adult. Kids need discipline, it shows them we love them, it show them that we care about their life!
GODLY MOTHERS LIKE DEBORAH MUST:
BRING THEIR KIDS WORDS FROM THE LORD
GIVE THEM ENCOURAGEMENT
HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS
AND 4th and probably most importantly they;
Must Remind Them of God?s Power
All of chapter 5 in Judges 4 is a song, a song about the great victory that God had given them on the battle field against Sisera. What this song did was reinforce the Word of the Lord that Deborah had brought them telling of how God had given the enemy into their hands.
One thing is apparent in this song, and that is, who?s got the power… God!!!
I love the way Deborah closes out this song, listen to these words,
“SO MAY ALL YOUR ENEMIES PERISH, O LORD, (JUST LIKE SISERA) , BUT MAY THEY WHO LOVE YOU BE LIKE THE SUN WHEN IT RISES IN ITS STRENGTH…”
Do we still face enemies today?
Are there those today who would seek to destroy and challenge our faith?
Do our children now – and will they in the future have to fight some pretty tough battles?
One of the ways a mother can bring life into her home is by reminding her children – who has the power AND where to turn to when the heat is on in life….
Our God is the same yesterday – today and tomorrow – He still has the power!!! He still blesses His people today, God still goes to battle for his people today, God still defeats his enemies today — DO YOU BELIEVE IT?!
Listen to these words from God – they are just as true, now, today, as they were the day God inspired them?
1 John 4:4 (NIV)
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Romans 8:37 (NIV)
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
MOTHERS BE LIKE DEBORAH AND SHARE WITH THE GREAT BLESSINGS THAT GOD IS POURING OUT,
And when you do you will be reinforcing the truth that God loves us, cares about us and is working in our lives — His Word is life!!
BRING THEM THE WORD OF LIFE
GIVE YOUR CHILDREN ENCOURAGEMENT
HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS
AND WILL YOU REMIND YOUR CHILDREN OF THE
MANY BLESSINGS OF GOD
IF YOU DO
YOU WILL BE LIKE DEBORAH
AND YOU WILL BRING LIFE TO YOUR VILLAGE
TO YOUR HOME
TO YOUR CHILDREN
TO YOUR FAMILIES
TO YOUR CHURCH!