Before I forget, let me wish everyone out there reading this a very Happy Father’s Day! And yes, even if you’re not a Dad, I can still hope that and wish that you have a happy Father’s Day (because otherwise, I’m wishing that you don’t have a good day -- how malicious would that be?). But beyond that, as we said on Sunday morning, we can use the day as an opportunity to show our appreciation for any of the men who have invested their lives into ours and acted as mentors (“father-figures”) over the years.
But for actual parents themselves, let me remind everyone that starting next Sunday, we’ll be offering a four-week, interactive Parenting Seminar in the afternoons, after the service. So if you’re a parent who could use a little help in wrapping your head around disciplining your children, of if you could just use a little refresher on coming at things in life from a Biblical perspective, or if you’d like to invite someone to join us whom you think would benefit from this sort of thing, then please just bring a brown-bag lunch and be part of our discussion! It’s never too early in your children’s lives to start thinking about your parenting strategies... and way too many of us simply react to situations, instead of thinking through why we do what we do as parents.
Actually, we talked a little bit about that in our message this week, continuing in the Book of Judges, looking this time at Deborah and Barak. See, though we’re told explicitly in Judges 4 that Deborah was an official judge, both of them are referred to as working as a team in Judges 5, and Barak was listed along with other official judges later in Hebrews 11.
So there’s really no good reason for why, in Judges 4, Barak didn’t want to follow God’s directive to get rid of the abusive Canaanite general Sisera unless Deborah went along with him. It’s not like she was the one in charge, and he was just an underling. It’s not like her presence actually ended up making a difference the in battle later on. It’s not even like he asked her to come along because he had such confidence in her.
No, he asked her to come along because he lacked confidence in God. He saw Sisera’s iron chariots and got scared -- he put more confidence in his enemy’s power than in God’s. He didn’t know if he could trust God to follow His word, so he wanted Deborah to be there -- probably thinking that God wouldn’t let His prophetess fall, and if Barak was stapled to the prophetess...
But here’s the thing: Deborah chided Barak and told him that because of the “how” of his obedience (and the “why” behind that “how”), he would lose what God had wanted to give him. God doesn’t just want us to obey Him, but to obey Him with the right motives, and in the right ways.
As it turns out, God used a rainstorm and a housewife to defeat Sisera, and all of the things that Barak had been afraid of (like those iron chariots) simply became hindrances that God used to ultimately rout him. The stuff that you and I can become lost in worrying over may very well work into how God has already planned to deal with the situation.
So what “scary-looking things” are facing you in your life today? What are you deciding to place your trust in on a daily basis?
Do you tacitly trust your hard circumstances to overwhelm you, or do you actively trust God to be sovereign?
Do you trust your ability to plan and to manipulate a situation, or do you first and foremost trust God to be sovereign?
Do you trust in impressive-seeming people and your friends, or do you make the decision to trust God to be sovereign?