Hebrews 11: 32-34

When the stars battle !

Introduction:

We come today to our last study on the heroes of the faith.

Open your Bibles to Hebrews 11 in verses 32 to 34.

We don’t have time to study all the characters mentioned, but we’re going to concentrate on one of the, who I hope will represent the others. The hero I’ve chosen to expand upon is Barak.

Let me ask you who is Barak?

-Character who lived at the time of the judges of Israel, to be exact at the time of the judge Deborah.

The Bible lets us know that during this period of history, the Jews strayed from the commandments of God. Everyone did what he wanted and what seemed right in his own eyes. You can imagine the results – sin was ubiquitous…idols everywhere.

You know that when such a situation presents itself, God can’t continue to keep hi s eyes closed and bless his children. … Sooner or later he takes back his blessings and leaves us suffer our own destinies.

What must be realized is that around us there are destructive forces that await one thing: that God’s protection lifts. Don’t forget, it’s our shield. But when this barrier is lifted, the fatal forces swoop down on us. ? Same with Kasey, our puppy.

What is it that breaks in around our barrier in looking through the bars?

For the Israelites, this force that broke in, awaiting its moment, was the Canaanite people.

When God lifted the enclosure, they swooped down upon the Jews.

The bible says : - that the Jews could no longer travel along their borders without being attacked.

And then at the head of the Canaanites, there was above all this general Sisera. He was a terrifying man. See why in Judges ch. 4: 1-3 « … » You see why he was scary? ? He directed an army equipped with 900 chariots.

It may be hard for you to imagine what that represented ? explanation (you have to defend your families and all that you have is a few sticks and stones ? no forges, no army because there’s no king.)

(Very unequal ? reminds me of the camp when we played the game with the water pistols. Mine could send an overpowering jet of water 10 meters. ? « oh no, my hair’s all wet! »)

(What the Jews had here in a sense, was an army equipped with water cannons whereas they had only little pistols. ? They could only run and the price to pay was much more than messing up their hair.)

They couldn’t do anything other than turn toward God to ask for help. That’s what they did. Look at what the rest of the story tells us, verses 4 – 7 « … »

So Deborah received a message from God and she calls the man God chose to turn the situation around. Imagine being Barak, how would you have reacted? In verses 8-9, we see his reaction: « … » ? surprising, eh? Only if…

2 possible reasons:

  1. Maybe he was unsure if she truly was a prophet. In case she wasn’t, she would withdraw if things turned bad. She would try to run and he’ll be able to imitate her.

Or

  • Maybe like many of us, when we have to have a confrontation with someone, he lacks self-confidence and needs a reassuring presence. It’s for this reason that we sometimes call the preacher or a friend to help us resolve a problem, isn’t it? And then, we say to ourselves that if a man of God accompanies us, then the Lord will help us probably more, not true?

    Barak thinks to himself that God probably wouldn’t hesitate at sacrificing a hardened soldier, but he’ll preserve a prophet especially if it’s a woman.

    In his lack of confidence, he poses these conditions and Deborah accepts. But she specifies that because of his lack of confidence, he’ll miss out on certain blessings, in verse 9.

    Barak followed the plan and arrived on the battle field, but I’m persuaded that Siséra must’ve been laughing to himself. 10,000 farmers, what could they have expected to do against ?

    -900 chariots of iron
    -well-trained and equipped soldiers
    -20 years of military experience, strategic education with constant success.

    From a human point of view, there was nothing to fear. Victory was assured.

    But to think this way was to discount God. The problem is that when we read the Bible, we see that things aren’t always as they seem. (In Psalms 20: 8-9 we read: « … »)

    The force of Israel, it was that God was going to work with them. And when God is with us, there’s no need of chariots, swords or rifles.

    Look at what the text says in Judges 4: 15-16 « … »

    These verses don’t tell it all. They say: « The Lord routed …Sisera, all his chariots and all the camp. » But how did he do that? Judges 5: 1-4 gives the answer. « … » the heavens dropped. Judges 5: 19—22 tells more: « … »

    Apparently the rain that is so rare in this region began to fall the chariots got stuck, the bows, the arrows, the catapults didn’t do much good. And the army of Sisera wasn’t able to use all its advantages. The Bible says that the stars even fought against the enemy.

    The Jews armed with sticks were therefore victorious. Sisera was killed by a peg in the head and the king of the Canaanites knew defeat.

    There are so many lessons for us here.

    The greatest lies in the protection that God can provide us.

    I asked you to think a few minutes ago about what lurk in at the doors of your life. What are the enemies who are ready to seize your existence?

    It could be a man who circles around you though you’re already married.
    It could be the bad friends who hang around your kids.
    It could be the out-of-control materialism that already animates all your loved ones.

    ? I don’t know, for each one of us it could be different.

    ? But what I know, is that faith can give you the victory.

    I. Fait can give you the victory.

    Not in virtue of the force in your heart, but in virtue of the great God in whom you believe.

    Think about it an instant. Did Barak have a lot of faith? I’d say no. He had faith, but it wasn’t enough to allow him to battle alone.

    However his little grain of faith was enough for God to be able to bless him and even for him to find his place in the commemoration of heroes of the Bible in Hebrews 11.

    It’s encouraging, eh ? Even with a little faith I can conquer kingdoms, exercise justice, shut the maws of lions and obtain promises. The Pentecostals should read that, they who make people feel guilty when they can’t be healed because of their little faith.

    Jesus himself said that with a little bit of faith like a mustard seed, the disciples could raise up mountains. (Math. 17 :20)

    The secret of victory is not in the size of our faith, it’s in the size of our God.

    The smallest faith in the world is stronger with God than the biggest difficulties that life can throw our way.

    So if you have little faith, I say courage. God isn’t indifferent.

    That of course doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to see your faith grow. Barak learned also that day that he missed out on certain blessings because of his small faith. But God doesn’t expect your faith to be perfect to get you out of problems. It’s enough for you to put yourself in his hands.

    If you do this, the Bible assures us in Romans 8: 28 that all things work together for good for those who love God.” He’ll work in your favor to protect and help you to beat otherwise undefeatable enemies. He’ll put all at work to do it, for he controls the heavens and the earth.

    But there’s also a second lesson I see here:

    II. All the universe is against the man who puts himself against God.

    It’s the other side of the coin. As true as it is that God puts all at work to help him who loves him, he puts everything to destroy him who fights against him. Judges 5 teaches me that. Even the stars were against Sisera.

    Few biblical passages show this principle so clearly.

    Sisera was defeated even before he began. His fall had already happened even though all seemed at the best for him.

    Let me ask you today, do you fight against the will of God in your life? …and yet things seem to be going well? The sky isn’t singing. Your overthrow may already be decided! It’s just a question of time.

    Sin can’t win and faith can’t fail.

    The wisdom calls us then to consider our paths. It calls us to ask ourselves in what direction am I headed? Am I with God or against God? There’s no middle ground.

    I say today, find the direction God leads and follow that path. For if you do it, all the universe will fight for you. Pharaoh learned this and the Roman Empire as well. Moses was in league with God and Pharaoh was on a collision course with the stars.

    I finish with a little true story.

    Conclusion

    In the 19th century Napoleon took power in France. Strategist of the first order, he quickly enlarged the borders of France and his empire. His thirst for power was insatiable.

    He decided at a certain moment that he’d take Russia. He therefore led his troops toward Moscow.

    But on the fields of Russia a flake fell. It caressed his jaw. He brushed it off with the back of his hand.

    Another flake fell and that one as well, he brushed it off. But soon others fell and the sky poured forth snowflakes. He could no longer brush them off at will.

    Napoleon’s horse backed up, trembled and collapsed swallowed up by the snow. And one morning when he awoke, he found half a million dead soldiers frozen by the cold.

    Do you know what Napoleon said before leaving to conquer Russia, when a friend warned him to search the will of God before doing it?

    “God will be on the side of the best-equipped battalion!”

    He was right, but he forgot that the battalion of God isn’t on this earth, but in heaven. God doesn’t arrange his forces in a visible manner on earth, and when the dice are thrown, it’s heaven and earth that fight for he who is a friend of God and against his enemy.

    So today, are you in search of his will, of life by faith or do you fight against him.

    Sin cannot win and faith cannot fail.

    Let’s pray.