Sinner & Saint


Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day:
“That the leaders took the lead in Israel,
    that the people offered themselves willingly,
    bless the Lord!

Judges 5:1-2

You know what I’ve realized lately?

 How sinful I am and how gracious God continues to be. 

I mean it. The last few weeks, some black sludge has been exposed down deep in my heart that I didn’t even realize was there. God has been so good to meet me in my grief and frustration over my own inability to climb off of this hamster of wheel of sin and brokenness. As I have cried out to Him, He has been patient, steady, and faithful.

It was in this place that I first read Judges 5, and God used it to lift my head, steady my feet on solid ground, and fortify my heart. My hope and prayer is that He uses it to do the same for you.

We could spend days, weeks, and months talking through the song of Deborah and Barak in Judges 5, but let’s focus on just three simple points.

First, this song is all about God and His glory. After every human action, God is the one who is ultimately praised. For those who missed out on the unlikely way He kept His promise and defeated Sisera, Deborah and Barak sing reminders of His faithfulness and miraculous control of nature and humanity.

Second, the song begins with leaders leading and people offering themselves willingly. It begins with willing hearts. But again, notice the people are not praised for their willingness. God is praised for their willingness.  

Third, there is a list of tribes in the song: a rundown of those who showed up for battle and those who stayed at home and missed out. As a sinner, my heart identified with and broke for the ones who missed out. As a saint, I long to be counted among the ones who were willing to offer themselves.  

In John 16:31-33, Jesus says this to His disciples, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” (MSG) 

This is the New Testament, Christ-exalting response to the tribes who cowered in fear in Judges 5, to the disciples who were about to run away as their Savior and friend was crucified on a cross, to you and me as we struggle to loosen our grip on the things of this world! 

We will have trouble, but take heart! He has overcome the world! 

It’s only when our hearts take refuge in this truth that we become willing.

Lord, give us willing hearts.

 Bless the Lord!