Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on April 22, 2015 under PM Bible Study | Be the First to Comment

PM Home Bible Study Group; April; 22, 2015

Hebrews 5:11-6:3

Theme: The writer of Hebrews is so confident of his reader’s salvation that he urges them to strive on to perfection.

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A SONG OF GOD’S VICTORY – Judges 5:1-31

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on under AM Bible Study | Be the First to Comment

AM Bible Study Group; April 22, 2015 from Judges 5:1-31

Theme: This song reviews the ways that God brought about victory for His people.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

In Chapter 4 of Judges, we studied the remarkable story of how God worked to rescue His people through unlikely instruments and in unexpected ways. We studied the story of the prophetess Deborah—who was raised up by God to be a judge over His people in a very difficult time; and also of Barak—the man from the tribe of Naphtali who, at God’s call, and with Deborah’s help, arose to the defense of his people. And now, in Chapter 5, we read of how the mighty works of God in that difficult time were memorialized in song.

This wouldn’t be the only time in the Bible when the great acts of God were declared in a song. God’s great work of delivering His people from bondage in Egypt through Moses was put into not just one, but two songs: one by Moses (Exodus 15:1-18), and one by his sister Miriam (v. 21). Near the end of his life—just before the people of Israel entered the promised land—Moses wrote yet another (Deuteronomy 32:1-43). King David—a prolific song writer—wrote a song at the time when God had delivered him from all his enemies. It’s recorded for us not just once in Scripture, but twice (2 Samuel 22:2-51 and Psalm 18).

In this divinely inspired duet that was sung by Deborah and Barak, we see the ways that God had brought about a great victory for His people—in the midst of a seemingly hopeless time, and through very unlikely means. This song is a memorial that helps us see how God our Helper is never helpless; and that nothing is too hard for Him. Note from this song . . .


A. Judges 4:1-3 tell us how dark the times were. The people had once again wandered from the Lord. There was an absence of spiritual fervency, and a lack of godly leadership; and the people were “harshly oppressed” by the army of King Jabin of Canaan and his general Sisera. But it was in this context that God gave a great victory (4:24). And on that day (5:1), this song was composed—so that none of it would be forgotten. It begins with a praise—and we also might say, a lesson. God is to be praised when the leaders offer themselves to the Lord and rise up to lead (vv. 2-3).

B. Somehow, God made Himself evident on behalf of His people by some means that came from Edom (or Seir); and perhaps it had to do with a torrent of rain that came at the right time to sweep away the armies of Sisera at the River Kishon (vv. 4-5; see also 4:7, 14-15). It was something that happened in dangerous and treacherous days—days in which the roads were not safe to use and in which people hid in their homes (vv. 6-7a). The people, in rejection of the one true God, “chose new gods” (v. 8a). It was a time of great defenselessness and vulnerability—when “there was war in the gates; not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel” (v. 8b). But it was a time when Deborah arose (v. 7b). And she was able to say, “My heart is with the rulers of Israel who offered themselves willingly with the people. Bless the LORD!” (v. 9). The end result of it all was that a great testimony could be spoken to those who rode about in safety and dignity—and that from those who had formerly been subject to oppression within the villages (vv. 10-11). God had given an awakening to His people, and granted them courage in the time of need. He used Deborah and Barak to encourage and inspire the people (v. 12; see also 4:10, 14).

C. This teaches us that one of the ways that God intervenes for His people is by awakening them to action! Sometimes he does this through a leader He raises. This happened in the time of Moses at the construction of the tabernacle: “Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments” (Exodus 35:21). This also happened at the time of purifying the temple under King Hezekiah: “So the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings” (2 Chronicles 29:31). It’ s true that God can work without having stirred His people to action; but what a blessing that work is when He does!


A. This battle is presented to us as a major, multi-tribe battle against the king of Canaan; and one purpose of this song is to praise those who yielded themselves to the Lord (v. 13). Chapter 4 only mentions Zebulun and Naphtali. But Chapter 5 tells us of more. Among those who lent themselves to the task were the tribes of Ephriam and Benjamin (v. 14a). Leaders came from Machir (that is Menasseh), and recruiters from Zebulun (v. 14b). Royalty from Issachar were honored in this song (v. 15a). We’re told that people from Zebulun “jeopardized their lives to the point of death, Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield” (v. 18). One of the remarkable things about this song is how it praises those who rose up to the task.

B. But clearly, not all rose up when they should have. Some among the tribe of Reuben “had great resolves of heart” (v. 15b)–that is, deliberating amongst themselves with “great searchings of heart” (v. 16b). Many in Reuben chose to remain with their flocks while others went to battle (v. 16). Gilead (that is, from the regions of Menasseh), chose to stay on the east of the Jordan (v. 17a), Dan in their ships on the western shores (v. 17b), and Asher “on the seashore” and “by his inlets” (v. 17c). Standing out as having received particular rebuke was a place called Meroz—unknown to us today. It’s rebuke is spoken by no less an authority than the angel of the LORD; who said, “Curse its inhabitants bitterly, because they did not come to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty” (v. 23). We can take it that they could have done so, but rebelliously refused to do so.

C. But those who came and yielded themselves obediently saw a mighty deliverance from God. The battle is described in such a way as to suggest that God moved the heavens itself to the defense of His people (vv. 19-20). The torrents of the River Kishon—which God sovereignly moved the enemy general Sisera to go to—swept against his army and its horses and rendered them helpless (vv. 21-22). Though the enemy came with a mighty army and 900 chariots of iron (4:3), Sisera himself had to flee on foot (4:15). This encourages us to be faithful by reminding us that—as Jesus once said—if we believe, we will see the glory of God (John 11:40). It’s a sad thing to miss out on what God does!


A. The song closes with a testimony of the remarkable way God worked. To highlight the results, two women are featured. The first is the humble Gentile (?) woman Jael—the wife of Heber the Kenite. “Blessed is she among women in tents” (v. 24). She was the one who welcomed runaway Sisera into her tent, brought him milk, gave him rest, and then—as he slept—took a hammer and a tent peg and slew him (vv. 25-26; see also 4:17-22). We’re told—in unmistakable detail—that he most surely died! (v. 27). It may seem a gruesome thing to us; but it was an act that is presented to us as of God (4:9, 23), and that was deserving of praise (5:24).

B. The other woman—not so deserving of praise—was Sisera’s mother. She is presented as looking out the window; wondering where her precious boy was (v. 28). As if to highlight the despicable character of Sisera, we’re told that his mother was comforted by the suggestion that he was dividing the spoil of the conquered armies of Israel, and was among his troops abusing the women, and was even taking plunder of his enemy’s garments (vv. 29-30). But instead of all the glory she had imagined, her son had fled from his enemies, was covered by a rug in a tent, and was quietly slain by a humble housewife. From this, Deborah and Barak sing that all of the enemies of the Lord should thus perish (v. 31). And as a result of it all, “the land had rest for forty years” (v. 31). What remarkable song! And more—what remarkable doings are the doings of the Lord!

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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on April 15, 2015 under AM Bible Study | Be the First to Comment

AM Bible Study Group; April 15, 2015 from Judges 4:1-24

Theme: The short story of the judge Shamgar teaches us that God is able to rise up the most unlikely of instruments for the most remarkable of purposes.Theme: God sovereignly brings about His promised ends—but often through unexpected means.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

This is a story with a remarkable twist. In it, God makes a promise of deliverance to His people; and as we read the promise, we think we know how it’s going to be brought about. But by the time we get to the end of the story, we discover that God brought it about in a way we never could have expected. This should teach us that our God and Savior is always faithful—but never predictable. His ways are so much wiser and efficient than we might expect. It teaches us to always trust Him—but never to box Him in!

We can see this unusual story played out in seven acts.


After the time that the judge Ehud was dead, the people—once again!—“did evil in the sight of the LORD” (v. 1). The sad story of unfaithfulness can be so monotonous! And once again, God did as He warned early in this book, and sold His disobedient people into the hand of an oppressor. This time, it was a man named Jabin, king of Canaan who was the agent of oppression. He is from Hazor—and that was the land of another king that was conquered around a hundred years earlier by Joshua (see Joshua 11:1ff). Perhaps the name Jabin was a common name for Canaanite kings who occupied that area; and perhaps the connection was intended to show the irony of the two stories. Back then, God’s deliverer (Joshua) was bold and obedient. This time, however, the deliverer was timid and hesitant.

Note that Jabin had a commander over his army—a man named Sisera. He was from Harosheth Hagoyim (that is, “Workmanship of The Nations”). This is the region later known to us as Galilee of the Gentiles. Jabin was a Gentile oppressor of God’s people; and Sisera was his henchman. And the people truly were oppressed greatly. Jabin had at his command 900 chariots of iron—which would have been like tanks in those days; while the people of Israel had none. For twenty years, he “harshly oppressed” the children of Israel; and they cried out to the Lord.

II. THE JUDGE (vv. 4-5).

God heard their cry; and—as He does many times in this book—He raised up a judge for them. But this time, the judge is a woman. Her name was Deborah—the wife of a man named Lapidoth. We know nothing of him—except that he really knew how to pick a wife! She was a prophet; and she would sit under a palm tree between Ramath and Bethel (in the northern hill country), and the children of Israel would come to her for decisions and leadership. The place must have become famous in time; because her tree came to be called “the palm tree of Deborah”.

III. THE CALL (vv. 6-7).

She was a judge—but it was God’s call for another to be the deliverer. So, she called for the man that—apparently—God had instructed her was His chosen instrument. He was a man of the northern tribe of Naphtali; and she told him that it was God’s command for him to gather an army of 10,000 from the two tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun, and to deploy them at Mount Tabor (just south of the Sea of Galilee). Her prophetic message to him was that God would deploy the troops of Sisera and his chariots (note that they are ultimately under God’s command!) at the River Kishon; “and I will deliver him into your hand” (v. 7). Clearly, God had it all planned out. Success was sure.

IV. THE PROMISE (vv. 8-9a).

We probably shouldn’t blame Barak too much for what he told Deborah. “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!” (v. 8). He clearly could see that she was God’s appointed judge; and he felt inadequate without God’s clearly appointed representative. She agreed to go; but said, “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” (v. 9a). Perhaps, Barak thought that’s not a problem. He was, after all, asking this woman of God—God’s clear representative—to go with him. Success was sure, then; but the glory of military victory would belong to another—a woman, in fact.

V. THE DELIVERANCE (vv. 9b-16).

So; Barak went—with Deborah along with him. But it’s then that we’re introduced to a seemingly parenthetical element to the story. We’re told of how a man named Heber—“the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses” (that is, a Gentile), had moved from the Kenite people and “had pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh” (v. 11). We hear nothing more of Heber; but as we will see, this ‘move’ from his people was part of God’s sovereign plan for the deliverance of His people and the keeping of His promise.

The general Sisera got wind that Barak had gone to Mount Tabor, and so—exactly as God has said through Deborah—he gathered his 900 chariots and his army to the River Kishon. It was as if he was following God’s orders! Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand” (v. 14). And do you note how she said, “Has not the LORD gone out before you?” Clearly He had—as is seen by the fact that all things were occurring just as God had promised.

Verse 15 tells us that “the LORD routed Sisera and all his forces before Barak! Sisera thought he was in command; but it was the Lord all along! His forces fell before the sword of Barak so completely that we’re told “not a man was left” (v. 16). This occurred at the River Kishon; which, we’re told in 5:21, swept them away with its torrents. God brought about a great victory; and as a result, Sisera—an utterly defeated foe—ran from his chariot (probably stuck in the mud), and fled on foot.

VI. THE TWIST (vv. 17-22).

Now, we see the amazing work of God. Sisera ran to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. The Kenites were apparently in a good relationship with Jabin the king of Canaan; so the defeated general thought he would be welcomed by her. And he was welcomed—so much so, in fact, that she went out to greet him and urged him to turn aside to her tent.

She assured him and comforted him. But it was all treachery! She covered the exhausted general with a thick blanket; and when he requested water, she brought him milk. He pleaded with her to stand guard and protect him; and she did. And as he slept, she took a tent peg and a hammer, and—well–you get the point. (He sure did, anyway.)

C. That’s when Barak came by—looking for this general on the run. She went out to greet Barak and say, “Come, I will show you the man whom you seek” (v. 22). What a sight that must have been that greeted Barak! And note the remarkable irony of God. He kept His promise—that the glory of victory would go to a woman; but not to Deborah—as we might have thought. Instead, it went to a lowly Gentile housewife in a tent—who knew how to make an impression!

VII. THE OUTCOME (vv. 23-24).

We’re told that it was not Barak who did all this. Instead, “on that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan in the presence of the children of Israel” (v. 23). And as a result, the children of Israel grew stronger against Jabin until they had destroyed him. It was all done by God—but though utterly unexpected hands! Surely, ours is a faithful God who is full of surprises!

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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on April 12, 2015 under 2015 | Be the First to Comment

Message preached Sunday, April 12, 2015 from Mark 4:35-41

Theme: This passage shows how to trust in Jesus in such a way as to be free from fearfulness.

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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on April 8, 2015 under PM Bible Study | Be the First to Comment

PM Home Bible Study Group; April 8, 2015

Hebrews 6:4-8

Theme: There are some for whom, after turning away from God’s grace toward them, a renewal to repentance is impossible.

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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on April 1, 2015 under AM Bible Study | Be the First to Comment

AM Bible Study Group; April 1, 2015 from Judges 3:31

Theme: The short story of the judge Shamgar teaches us that God is able to rise up the most unlikely of instruments for the most remarkable of purposes.

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