Summary: Second a series of the heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11
Chico Alliance Church
October 20, 2002
Pastor David Welch
“Barak & Deborah”
Unlikely Heroes Part Two
And He (Jesus) has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Cor. 12:9
Since all people struggle with weakness, this is great news. Even those we perceive as powerful have significant weaknesses. It should come as no surprise that God can and indeed does use weak and unlikely people. If we were to look closely, every person God used in the Bible was an unlikely candidate for great things. The premise through this series is that the weakness of men accentuates the power of God. Just for fun, we have chosen to focus on a few unlikely heroes listed in Hebrews 11:32-34
And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Hebrews 11:32-34
These are those listed who perfectly fit the description “from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” Since four out of the six people specifically named in these verses came from the times of Judges we touched briefly on the background surrounding that period.
Judges records the consequences of partial obedience. Judges records a series of cycles revolving around bondage and deliverance. The writer of Judges first summarizes the cycle and then illustrates it with the history of some of the major Judges. We explored the five elements of that cycle two weeks ago.
Lacking a person relationship and firsthand experience with God a new generation arose that followed after the gods of those around them. They did evil in God’s sight even though it was not a problem in their own sight. Each person became their own standard. The end result of a society who follows no objective standard is clearly illustrated in this historical document. It usually ends in immorality; idolatry and anarchy destroy a people.
God must respond to evil in His world, especially among His chosen people.
The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Judges 2:14
In the misery of their bondage the people cried out to God.
for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them.
What is so special about crying out to God?
• It arises from recognition of personal helplessness.
• It arises from recognition of hopelessness.
• It expresses humble faith in God’s goodness
• It expresses willingness to let God do it His way
Those who honestly cry out to God find deliverance.
In response to their cry God rose up and anointed and empowered someone to bring deliverance from oppression. This was a person specifically empowered by God for the purpose of deliverance in response to the cry of the people. This deliverer would not be empowered until the people were repentant. Some were obscure until called. The Lord used a number of unlikely “saviors” to bring salvation to the people. Hebrews 11 lists four judges from this period. Who will God rise up among us to deliver us from what binds us as a church? Who will God bring into your life to lead you to freedom from what binds you?
After freedom from the oppressor, God granted a period of rest or continued freedom. This period usually corresponded with the life of the anointed servant. After the death of this leader, the people returned to their old ways and the cycle began again. The leader was there to remind them to keep their eyes on God. The leader was there to expose evil and encourage righteousness. The leader would encourage them to stand against their enemies in the power of God.
We all cycle through these stages many times in our lifetime.
Sin, slavery, supplication, salvation, silence
Too often we fail to recognize it and struggle through the slavery stage longer than necessary. Israel had enjoyed a period of rest for nearly 80 years under another unlikely hero Ehud the left-handed judge. (Left-handed people were generally scorned.) However after Ehud died we read about one of the people mentioned in our passage. The cycle continued in Judges 4