Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sun. Sep. 4, 2011 (Andre Pekovich)

Andre Pekovich concluded the summer's series of sermons on Women in the Bible with one story about the prophet Deborah (Judges 4.1-16). Deborah was yet another woman viewed as a paradigm of faithfulness in Judges (whereas some male judges were seriously flawed, such as Samson). Deborah held court under her palm tree, from which she gave her judgments, thereby helping to keep the peace within Israel. When the time was propitious for Israel's 12 tribes to challenge King Jabin in battle, she summoned warriors from the 12 tribes to gather under the military leadership of Barak (who agreed to take on this risky venture only if Deborah came along). Only 6 tribes sent soldiers, so the army was less substantial than hoped. King Jabin sent his General Sisera to subdue Israel's disorganized men, providing them superior weapons, including chariots made of iron (not just wood). The military odds were against the Jews, but an unexpected blinding rain and ensuing flash flood mired the heavy chariots in mud, Baal (their god of storms) had let them down, and the army fled in disorder. General Sisera fled on foot, not to Heber, but rather Heber's wife Jael (Heber worshiped local gods but Jael still feared Yahweh). Jael provided Sisera a place to sleep in her tent, but then drove a tent peg through his temples. Andre then spoke on a second woman, Pilate's unnamed wife (Matthew 27.19) who frequently traveled with Pilate and served as his political adviser. When Jesus was brought before Pilate, his wife most unexpectedly sent him an urgent message, advising that he free Jesus because she felt he was innocent. This sage advice was ignored, and the consequences were considerable. Although this series has now concluded, there are still more than 100 women cited in the bible for their contributions to the development of Jewish culture, nationhood, and religious development, both in the Old Testament and New. The ministry of Jesus was unthinkable without the logistical and financial support of women who remained, as society then dictated, in the background. Historians now understand that the early church surely would have ceased to exist had women not championed the new religion. [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, September 4th, 2011 using your browser's preferred media player.



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