Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead your captivity captive, you son of Abinoam.…
I. THE LITERAL SENSE.
1. This lesson is a song of thanksgiving. It reminds us at once of the duty of gratitude to God at all times, but especially after any great deliverance. The miracle of the cleansing of the lepers puts in a picture the rarity of thanksgiving — when ten pray, but one gives thanks.
2. Then, this song was a spontaneous outburst of praise immediately after the reception of the blessing. Thanksgiving was, as it should be, prompt.
3. The victory was ascribed to God: "Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel." Thanksgiving is only possible when there is faith, when the eye of the soul penetrates beyond what are called "second causes," and traces the events of this life to the providence of God.
4. But a particular instrument which God employed for carrying out His purposes is recognised in the text: "the stars," etc. Viewed literally, what is meant by this? It is the description of some wonder wrought by God in the battle, which aided the overthrow of Jabin's host and Jabin's general.
II. THE FIGURATIVE SENSE.
1. "The stars in their courses" have been supposed to represent the angels of God.
2. Warfare against evil is one part of the angels' functions. Holy Scripture recounts their military operations (Revelation 12:7). St. Jude describes another altercation (ver. 9). Daniel relates a third (Daniel 10:13). And again, at the end of the world (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:8), the angels "shall sever the wicked from among the just," and consign them to punishment (Matthew 13:49, 50).
3. We may not know how these spiritual beings "fought against Sisera," any more than we can tell how the angel of the Lord caused the pestilence in the days of David (1 Chronicles 21:15); but we do know that angels are the ministers of God (Psalm 104:4), and carry out His behests.
4. If the stars represent the angels of God, then, on the other hand, the victory over Sisera, and the instrument by which it was achieved, form an apt image of the overthrow of Satan's power by the Cross.
1. When this lesson is said to contain "praise of Jael's perfidy," and that from the lips of an inspired prophetess, it may be urged in reply, that it is a commendation of the brave deed of Jael and her disinterested zeal for the welfare of God's people, whilst the treachery which accompanied it was in keeping with the low moral condition of the age and person — with "the light of the times."
2. We may learn from the general subject the duty of thanksgiving, and that its fulfilment involves a belief in the doctrine of Divine providence.
3. According to the literal interpretation of the text, we are led to the conviction that even such matters as the weather may be guided by God to fulfil His purposes, and that His directing touch is effective in a region far beyond the ken of human science, which can only extend to the proximate causes of things.
4. The spiritual meaning should remind us that the angels of God assist us in our conflict with the evil one, and by Divine appointment "succour and defend us on earth"; so that, in our struggles with the power of darkness, we may take the words of the prophet as a ground of confidence, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them" (2 Kings 6:16).
Parallel VersesKJV: Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.