Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Judges 5:2 (NIV)
“When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves—praise the Lord!
Judges 5:2 (MSG)
When they let down their hair in Israel, they let it blow wild in the wind. The people volunteered with abandon, bless God!
“For the leaders who took the lead in Israel, for the people who volunteered [for battle], bless the Lord!” -AMPLIFIED
As was mentioned yesterday Judges 5 contains solely the song that Deborah and Barak sang in praise to God for the victory over their enemies, Jabin and his general Sisera. The song itself is known as “Deborah’s Song” and it is believed to be one of the oldest passages in the Bible.
The Voice gives us some helpful knowledge about the passage. Deborah’s Song, “It is beautiful and powerful, as well as filled with information. In addition to praising and chastising certain tribes for their role—or lack thereof—in battle, it also celebrates a victory God has given His people through the agency of two women: the judge Deborah and Jael, who, as Deborah prophesied (verse 9), brings final victory over the enemy general Sisera. These cultures value masculine strength, aggression, and war-prowess; they don’t value female ingenuity and courage. So for the first hearers of this story, the last people they expect to bring military victory are women. But once again, God takes ordinary people with their gifts, strengths, and weaknesses—and brings military victory through the unexpectedly strong hands of women.” (VOICE)
The song begins with our text. “The leaders of Israel stood up, and the people offered themselves willingly—praise the Eternal One!” -(VOICE)
The meaning behind those opening words is very powerful for two reasons:
1.) We find the leaders and the people willingly standing up and offering themselves to God.
2.) The people recognized the need to turn back and praise God.
Finally, the people were getting serious and getting down to business with God. (At least for a time.)
The Message Version portrays a very different way of viewing this verse then the other translations do and I would like to take a few moments to dig in and see what is being said here. “When they let down their hair in Israel, they let it blow wild in the wind. The people volunteered with abandon, bless God!” (MSG)
We need to remember a few things that God had instructed the Israelites about; namely the Nazarite vow. God informed the people through Moses that those who took the Nazarite vow, (it could be man or woman). This person would willingly dedicated themselves to God. There were three things that they were agreeing not to do:
1.) They were not to let a razor touch their head. (This was an outward sign that they were a Nazarite; dedicated to God.)
2.) They were not to drink any fermented drink or eat from the fruit of the vine.
3.) They were not to touch a corpse; for it would make him/her ceremonially unclean. They were to keep themselves pure and undefiled before God.
So, this reference would be pointedly directed toward those who had willingly taken the Nazarite vow and set themselves apart in service to the Lord. These people had already made the choice that they would do whatever God required of them; so the reference to letting down their hair and letting it blow in the wind would infer that they were prepared and ready for whatever God brought their way.
“In the order of the Nazarite there is not only the concept of separation and consecration of an individual to God but also the concept of ministerial service, and perhaps a link to the royal priesthood as found in the High Priest’s vow of service. The Hebrew word nezer, from the same root as the word nazir , which also means “consecrated” is inscribed on the holy crown worn on the mitre of the High Priest [Exodus 29:6; 39:30; Leviticus 8:9], on the “crown” of the holy anointing oil used to sanctify people and objects to Yahweh [Leviticus 21:12], and later in the days of the monarchy the term is applied to the royal crown of the Kings of Israel [see 2 Samuel 1:10; 2 Kings 11:12; Zechariah 9:16]. Therefore, in the order of the Nazarite there is the combined concept of: separation, purity in holiness, and the “crown” of the royal priesthood.” -AGAPE Bible Study
The Orthodox Jewish Bible translates our text in this way: “Barachu Hashem that the strong in Yisroel put forth strength, that the people willingly offered themselves.” Which means: “Blessed be the Name of the Lord; that the strong in Israel put forth strength, that the people willingly offered themselves. The key point here is that the people WILLINGLY OFFERED themselves to God; an act of self-consecration to God’s service.
Are you serious with God? Have you willingly dedicated yourself to Him in service? It is time that we as children of the Most High God stop dabbling in the World and get down to business with God. We have a job to be done. We may not have taken the Nazarite vow, but if we call ourselves Christian than we have an obligation to live our lives wholly and completely for out God. Let’s get serious with our call and get down to business!
God, forgive me for not being completely “real” with you. I have dabbled in sin, I have let my eyes and mind wander from you, I have allowed other things to take your place in my life at times. Please, Lord, forgive me. I want our relationship to be real and honest. Help me Lord, to be wholly and completely sold out to you. Help me to get serious about what is really important. I am getting down to business with you; no more foolishness. Please, help me to keep my mind, heart and eyes firmly focused on you.