Deborah: A Study in Spiritual Warfare
We are all involved in a war whether we want to be or not. The forces of evil and our own carnal nature (the flesh) come against us daily. If we try to stand against these enemies by relying on our own intelligence or understanding, we will not be successful in overcoming.
We must remember that the weapons of our warfare are spiritual rather than natural. Most Christians talk about using weapons of prayer, fasting and the quoting of Bible verses or Bible reading, but I am convinced very few Christians employ the weapon of Bible study, the reason being that few know how to study. I think many people desire to go deep into the Word of God but just don’t know how.
The benefits of Bible study are multitudinous. Study is absolutely life-transforming. If we are going to seek God with our whole heart, this must include study. When I say study, I don’t mean reading someone else’s book on a subject—not that there is anything wrong with that, but if we rely on what others have studied, we don’t learn to study for ourselves. Bible study, to me, is like prospecting for gold. We take our tools, start digging and after awhile, we find a golden nugget that is far more beautiful and exciting than literal gold or riches. Sometimes we find a deep, rich vein that leads on and on ever deeper. The truths of God are the real riches that bring joy, peace and satisfaction far beyond anything money can buy. I would much rather find the gold myself, than miss the excitement and joy of discovery because I was depending on the benefits of someone else’s adventure study.
I often think that if someone told the average Christian that the winning lottery ticket was buried in their backyard, they would dig nonstop until they found it. I can imagine big spotlights illuminating the grounds all night as they dig with every tool imaginable until exhaustion forces them to stop for a few hours. Then they would start digging again. The strange thing is, the greatest riches of all are stored away in their Bible that sits on the nightstand in the bedroom gathering dust! Oh, may our Bibles not be found dusty when our Lord returns!
Psalm 119 says, “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.” Some people can’t afford a counselor, but they can afford a Bible and probably already have one. I have found deep healing in my own life as I have studied, and through study have also learned to be a spiritual helper for others. The greatest book on the human psyche is the Bible. However, we must dig deeply to find the richest truths for inner healing.
The psalmist cries out, “My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according to thy word.” Bible study will strengthen our foundation, fill in any cracks that may have formed and sustain us through any storm. These are turbulent days and much lies ahead that will require a deep faith in God. I live in NY, a state that has more power outages than any state in the union. I’ve got a good Coleman lamp, my Bible, a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, a pad of paper and a pen—that’s all I need to keep me entertained and happy when the lights go out!
Another great verse in Psalm 119: “I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.” Many suffer the shame of an unhappy childhood. It’s too bad and yet so true that when parents do evil things, the children blame themselves. Many adults carry a heavy load of shame—a sense that somehow they are evil or defective but they don’t know exactly why—that stems from a childhood of neglect or abuse. Bible study can erase that as we sit under our great counselor, the Holy Spirit, and study the healing Word in depth. The deeper our wounding, the deeper we need to go in God’s Word. This is one reason I am so excited about this Deborah study. All who desire to go deep into the healing Word will be able to do so through this study. Oh! How blessed our Lord is when He sees us working and studying in our desire to draw closer to Him. He longs to give us rewards that can only come if we are willing to seek Him on this level of commitment!
Join me for an in-depth Bible study on spiritual warfare. Deborah, one of the judges of Israel during the period between Joshua and the reign of King Saul, was mighty in war. As we study the account of Deborah and Barak in Judges 4 and 5, we will find great truths to assist us in our own battles today. Even though she lived between 1400 and 1100 B.C., the principles revealed here by the Holy Spirit are as relevant to our spiritual warfare today as they were then.
The questions offered here are intended to give some ideas on how to study. We need to learn to ask our own questions and then start digging for answers. Hopefully the ones offered here will give everyone some ideas on how to do this kind of study.
Tools for Study
The tools you will need for this healing adventure of study are: a Bible, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and a good English dictionary. If you intend to use the concordance, you will need a King James Version of the Bible because Strong’s is keyed to the KJV. You will be able to answer many of the questions without a concordance, but you will get much more out of the study if you use Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance because it offers a numbering system whereby we can find the definition of every biblical word in the original languages of Greek and Hebrew. If the concordance does not say “exhaustive,” it won’t have this feature. For those who do not know how to use a concordance, there are directions in the front that explain how to use it.
The beginning of our study of Deborah will be more on the surface of the Word at the historical level. As we study, we will go deeper into the meanings of the words in the original Hebrew language. This, along with revelation from the Holy Spirit, will reveal a deep study on inner healing that will amaze you. Once you learn to study at this level, you will be hooked on Bible study forever. It is fun! It brings health and wholeness and the presence of God in a new dimension. Okay, Everyone, take up your swords and lets go to war!
A Brief Word about the Book of Judges
Judges is the seventh book in the Bible. It spans Hebrew history from about 1400-1100 B.C. The last verse of the book of Judges sums up their condition during that period of history: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
I wonder if any of you see a parallel here to America today as I do. There is a powerful trend towards lawlessness in our nation and perhaps the world. Along with this is a great disrespect for politicians. It is good to know that whatever comes, God is ultimately in control!
There is a wheel of human behavior rolling through the biblical history of the Hebrews that continues on in the lives of Christians today. We experience God’s blessing for a period of time, but adversity always comes in some form or other and seems to rule over us. This happens because we believe lies about God (apostasy), and we fall into idolatry (thinking our fulfillment and happiness lies in something other than our relationship with God). Eventually we realize God wants to deal with something inside of us that needs to go. We cry out to God in repentance and change our behavior. Then in His faithfulness, He sends deliverance in some form and we have blessing again. Ultimately God wants to bring this wheel to a stop so we can continually live in his presence. Our study of Deborah will reveal how we can stop this “vicious cycle” in our own lives.
Bible Study Questions
Read through Judges Four two or three times. Now list briefly the events of the chapter. Your list will look something like this in the beginning:
• Again did evil
• Given over to enemies
• Cry out to God
• God raises up a deliverer
After making your list, you should be able to tell the whole story without looking at your notes. This puts the passage into your understanding so that you can think about it all day whenever you desire. God can be speaking to you about the passage as you go about your daily routine.
Next, examine your list and from it make three other lists. The first list should be entitled “What This Passage Reveals about God.” The second list, “What This Passage Reveals About Human Nature,” and the third, “ What This Passage Reveals about the Enemy.” For example, in looking at the first four things I listed for the sequence of events, I could say about the nature of God the following:
What This Passage Reveals about God.
God always has a plan for my life.
He loves us even when we do evil.
He answers our prayers.
God will not tolerate evil.
He prepares deliverers for His people.
You will find many more things to list about God as you go through the entire sequence of events.
Under your list for the nature of man you might begin with something like:
Humans are prone to fall away from God.
We are often oppressed because of sin.
Under the nature of the enemy list you might say:
The enemy tries to make us his slaves.
He is harsh and unyielding.
This should give you an idea of how to start your study of this passage.
Specific Questions for Verses One and Two
Judg 4:1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead.
1. What evil did the children of Israel commit that caused God to give them over to their enemies? (Read Judges Chapter 2)
2. (Optional) What are the Baalim? Baal? Ashtaroth? (See Judges 2:11-13. A Bible Dictionary or other research book needed for this.)
3. What false gods do you see in the church today? Is the church like Israel in Judges? Explain your answer.
4. Are there any false gods in your own life? If yes, what are they?
5. Read Judges 2:10-12. Why did this happen? How can we prevent this? (Deut. 6:1-9.)
6. Why did God raise up judges? What does this tell us about the character of God?
7. Do you think the sin in America today is worse than it was 50 years ago? (Judges 2:19)
8. What does this tell us about the nature of evil?
9. Who was Ehud? (Read Judges 3)
10. What did he do?
11. The name Ehud means “he that praises” according to Cruden’s Concordance. Does this say anything to you about the importance of praising God? What does it mean to praise God? Is praise a part of your own life? What could you change to increase your level of praise?
And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.
If we are to be victorious in war, we need to know all we can about the enemy and his tactics. The Israelites were oppressed by Jabin, king of Canaan. In order to find out more about Canaan and what it means spiritually, we need to learn about its origins in Scripture. Lands are often named after persons who first lived there.
1. Who was the first person named Canaan? Gen. 10:1,6
2. What happened to the man Canaan in the very beginning after the flood? Gen. 9:18-27
3. Who later lived in Canaan? Deut. 7:1
4. What did God tell the Israelites to do to these nations? Why? Deut. 7:2-11
5. Ask God to reveal to you if there are any alters or images in your own life that need to be destroyed.
6. To whom did God promise to give this land? Gen. 12:1-3, Gen. 26:1-5, Gen. 28:10-15, Ex. 3:7,8
7.What are some other names for Canaan?
1 Sam 13:19
1. What does Canaan mean spiritually to us? Where do you think Canaan is spiritually? Are we trying to drive enemies out of our land? What are some of these enemies?
2. Jabin was the king of Canaan in Judges 4. What could be a Jabin in your own life?
3. Optional) Using Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance look up the word “Jabin.” Find out what it means and examine the word from which it is derived.
4. This particular king Jabin is only in Judges 4. However, his city, Hazor, is mentioned elsewhere. Find out what happened at Hazor (Joshua 11).
5. (Optional) Using a concordance, find out what the name, Hazor, means as revealed in its derivatives.
6. Who was Sisera? You can read about him in two other places in Scripture (1 Sam 12:9, Ps 83:9).
7. Optional) Using a concordance, see if you can find out what the name “Sisera” means. This is not easy. You may find it in the back of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. There seems to be some differing opinions or even typos connected with this name.
8. (Optional) Research Harosheth. In what NT place is this city found? What does the name mean? Search through all derivatives.