Judges 4

* Israel again revolts, and is oppressed by Jabin. (1-3) Deborah

concerts their deliverance with Barak. (4-9) Sisera defeated.

(10-16) Sisera put to death by Jael. (17-24)

#1-3. The land had rest for eighty years, which should have

confirmed them in their religion; but it made them secure, and

indulge their lusts. Thus the prosperity of fools destroys them.

Jabin and his general Sisera, mightily oppressed Israel. This

enemy was nearer than any of the former. Israel cried unto the

Lord, when distress drove them to him, and they saw no other way

of relief. Those who slight God in prosperity, will find

themselves under a necessity of seeking him in trouble.4-9 Deborah was a prophetess; one instructed in Divine

knowledge by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. She judged

Israel as God's mouth to them; correcting abuses, and redressing

grievances. By God's direction, she ordered Barak to raise an

army, and engage Jabin's forces. Barak insisted much upon her

presence. Deborah promised to go with him. She would not send

him where she would not go herself. Those who in God's name call

others to their duty, should be ready to assist them in it.

Barak values the satisfaction of his mind, and the good success

of his enterprise, more than mere honour.
10-16. Siser's confidence was chiefly in his chariots. But if

we have ground to hope that God goes before us, we may go on

with courage and cheerfulness. Be not dismayed at the

difficulties thou meetest with in resisting Satan, in serving

God, or suffering for him; for is not the Lord gone before thee?

Follow him then fully. Barak went down, though upon the plain

the iron chariots would have advantage against him: he quitted

the mountain in dependence on the Divine power; for in the Lord

alone is the salvation of his people, #Jer 3:23|. He was not

deceived in his confidence. When God goes before us in our

spiritual conflicts, we must bestir ourselves; and when, by his

grace, he gives us some success against the enemies of our

souls, we must improve it by watchfulness and resolution.
17-24 Sisera's chariots had been his pride and his confidence.

Thus are those disappointed who rest on the creature; like a

broken reed, it not only breaks under them, but pierces them

with many sorrows. The idol may quickly become a burden, #Isa

46:1|; what we were sick for, God can make us sick of. It is

probable that Jael really intended kindness to Sisera; but by a

Divine impulse she was afterwards led to consider him as the

determined enemy of the Lord and of his people, and to destroy

him. All our connexions with God's enemies must be broken off,

if we would have the Lord for our God, and his people for our

people. He that had thought to have destroyed Israel with his

many iron chariots, is himself destroyed with one iron nail.

Thus the weak things of the world confound the mighty. The

Israelites would have prevented much mischief, if they had

sooner destroyed the Canaanites, as God commanded and enabled

them: but better be wise late, and buy wisdom by experience,

than never be wise.

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