NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passages: Judges 4:1-7,12-16; 5:1-11
Discussion Questions: Why is it important to give God glory when He works through us? What happens when we take credit for what God has done? How does singing praise to God fortify our faith? In what ways does singing build unity in our church?
Food for Thought:
Read Judges 5:1-11.
Sometimes songs are the best way to communicate a story. Songs teach. The song of Deborah and Barak was a victory song. We resonate with this song because we have encountered the same God. We recognize His faithfulness.
Consider the role of singing in Christianity. Other religions aren’t known for singing and writing hymns and praise songs. Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism are not marked by song the way that Christianity is. As Christians, we can’t seem to help but sing. Our faith sings. And here, after God gave His people the victory, Deborah and Barak broke out into song.
The focus of this song is not on the characters in the story but on God as the rescuer. The leaders’ egos and the people’s accolades fade away in light of the glory of the one true God (Judges 4:14). It was the Lord who called Deborah to sit as a judge over His people. It was the Lord who gave Barak skills and leadership to assemble and train an army. It was the Lord who gave Sisera into the hands of a housewife (Jael, the woman who struck down the mighty general with a tent peg). It was the Lord who went out before them.
Why did the people sing? To praise the Lord and to remember His faithfulness. Deborah and Barak knew that the people would be prone to forget the mighty works of God. That’s why they gave them a song of remembrance.
In the same way, we have been given songs throughout the Bible (Exodus 15; the Psalms; Revelation 5) that are meant to remind us of what God has done. In the singing of these songs, we are remembering and retelling what God has done on our behalf. In our singing, we encourage and build up one another (Colossians 3:16). We proclaim The Lord goes before us.
The story of Deborah is our story; her song is ours. We were captive to sin and we had no hope on our own. Satan and his “900 chariots” were stacked against us. We could not fight on our own. And the Lord stood in our place, fighting on our behalf, claiming victory over the enemy in an unlikely way — through a cross reserved for criminals.
Today, we are the people of God because God has in Christ crushed the head of the serpent (like Jael crushed Sisera). It’s through the great rescue — the great story — that we have been forgiven once and for all. We are like the Israelites, continually running after things we think will give us life. What does the world offer? The same things the serpent offered in the garden — you can be greater than God; you can have glory; you are the hero. But here we see there is one Hero. The Hero of this story is God alone. The Hero of the story of our rescue is Christ alone.
If you are struggling with the pull of sin in your heart, come and repent. Call out upon God to forgive you, and He will. If in this moment you realize that you have never been rescued from your sin, call out to Him and ask Him to rescue you. God has spoken, God has fought the battle for you, and God will get all the glory.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered curriculum that examines the grand narrative of Scripture and how the Gospel transforms the lives of those it touches. Through a three-year study plan, participants are immersed in the Gospel through stories, theological concepts, and calls to missions from Genesis to Revelation. Separate study plans for kids and students/adults ensure the proper focus and depth. The Gospel Project is designed to unify an entire church under a single Christ-centered curriculum. More information, free samples, and The Gospel Project blog can be found at gospelproject.com.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.