March 12

Judges 4-5, Psalm 71

We have so many excuses why we choose to not live out the Spirit-filled life that God desires for us. After college we say when things slow down with my new career or my new relationship, then I will step out in faith. A decade later, we say when my kids are a little older and all of my responsibilities around my new house slow down, then I will step out in faith. A decade later, when I finish getting my kids through college, and it’s just me and my spouse, and financially better, then I will step out in faith. A decade later, if only I had prepared a little better for my retirement and if I wasn’t plagued with all of these health issues, then I would step out in faith. Every excuse seems insurmountable and valid as we say it, but the truth is we have no excuse for not living out the Spirit-filled life. The “paralysis of analysis” is a very dangerous problem. When we trust too much in our own intellect, our own reasoning, etc. we are not truly trusting God. We can be saved, but useless. How many opportunities do we have before us that we choose not to react to because we are distracted, focused on ourselves, or not willing to follow God’s prompting.

Do you want to be used by God? Then do what Deborah did, when you hear God calling, say yes. In this story we see the accounts of two groups, those who said yes, and were blessed. We also see many who said no to God’s calling and were not blessed, cursed, or in the case of Barak, received limited blessing. We read in Judges 4:6, “Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and the sons of Zebulen;” We see the response of Barak in 4:8, “And Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!” As a result, Deborah tells Barak the limited blessing he would receive in 4:9, “So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Even when the battle was about to start we see Barak not fully trusting in God when he sees the 900 chariots under the command of Sisera, we read in 4:14, “Then Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand.” We see that among those blessed in Judges 5 were Ephraim, Benjamin, Zebulun, Naphtali and Issachar. Among those who said no were Reuben, those living in Gilead and Meroz, Dan, and Asher. If any are not familiar with Pastor Lloyd’s messages on the Through the Bible series on our website it is very helpful and matches up fairly well with our reading plan. Pastor Lloyd pointed out an interesting twist. In Judges 5:4-5, God sent the storm which rendered the chariots useless because they were stuck in the mud. The God of Israel was showing everyone that He had dominion and power over the god, Baal, the storm god (the god that the Canaanites and the Israelites who chose to follow other gods were worshipping).

There are many reasons they chose to say no. There are many reasons that we make that same choice. Those of us who are born again are filled with the Holy Spirit. But as we see in Judges 3:10, when Othniel said yes, the Holy Spirit came upon him. When we step out in faith, that’s when we will be empowered by the Holy Spirit. James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”. If we want to see revival in our own lives, our church, and in our nation, we must continually abide in His Word. Jesus said in John 8:31-32, ” If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” So, when you feel Him moving you to do something in His name, say, yes. The choice is ours, we either choose to trust in God or ourselves.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato