Sermon video

A fearful solider and a faithful wife - Judges 4

This is a sermon by Adam Johnston from the evening service on 12th May 2024.

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An audio-only recording is also available

A fearful solider and a faithful wife – Judges 5-6


I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.

A day may come when the courage of men fails,

when we forsake our friends

and break all bonds of fellowship. – Aragorn, Return of the King.


Judges 4 and 5 is very nearly that day. Can God still rescue us when our courage fails? Does he want to rescue us when we are cowardly and disunited?


Introduction - The Regrowth of the Mould (4:1-3)


Ehud dies and the Israelites return to the same repetitive old ways. Do we recognise that pattern in our lives of returning to the same boring, lifeless old sin again and again?


But God works three great surprises:


1. Salvation comes through a female judge (4:4-5)

God chooses to raise up not a warrior but a mother to speak his word. Are we willing to humble ourselves and listen to him? Are we willing to listen even when his wisdom doesn’t come through spectacular means?


2. Salvation comes through a fearful general (4:6-16)

Barak’s fear means he is dishonoured in battle. God’s sovereign grace means the Israelites still win the battle. God’s grace to Barak means he is remembered as a hero of the faith. Do you take comfort in God’s overlooking your faithlessness and celebrating the small fruit of faith and goodness in your life?


3. Salvation comes through a foreign hero (4:17-24)

Jael is the anti-Barak, who does the right thing even without a word from God’s judge. Jael is the anti-Israel who defeats the enemy commander when not even all Israel would fight. Jael is a women standing alonside Tamar, the Samaritan woman, and the women who followed Jesus who put the men around them to shame by their actions.


Questions for us? When might we doubt God’s ability to save us? When might we doubt God’s willingness to rescue us? Do we recognise the same cycle of sin in our lives? Do we see our own sin’s boring monotony and lack of life? When might we be tempted to disregard God’s word because of who the messenger is? Are we shaped by gurus and famous preachers more than by God’s word? How does God’s sovereign control over everything comfort us? Is Barak a hero or a failure? How might God’s answer to that comfort us? How should Jael’s example encourage us to take risky opportunities to follow God?

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