A Dramatic Salvation

Pastor Tom Ascol teaches “A Dramatic Salvation” as he expounds on Judges 4:1-5:31. This message looks at the historical account under the leadership of Deborah and Barak in Chapter 4 while Chapter 5 gives the theological interpretation of the events. Both the history and theology point to a loving God working in the midst of sinful people. Such an amazing salvation, completed by the God of the universe, brings glory to Himself and wonder and joy to His followers.

God’s people need to be saved from sin and its consequences. Judges 4 finds the nation of Israel again suffering the consequences of their evil doing. V. 3 indicates cruel oppression for twenty years the result of turning away from God to Canaanite idols. Once again they cry out to God for rescue. The cyclical pattern throughout the book—sin, oppression, rescue—is obvious here. Israel did not keep themselves from the cultural norms of their day. In fact, they were letting themselves be “Canaanized,” more and more compromising with the world system rather than remaining pure and true to God.

God sends rescuers in the persons of Deborah the judge and Barak the warrior. However to man alone the nation’s military situation, particularly against the most modern weapon of the day, nine hundred chariots of iron, was hopeless. Yet God was about to provide a dramatic salvation. God delivered the enemy into Barak’s hand. Israel routed not only the army but the king of Canaan as well.

However, the routing of Canaan was even more dramatic. The chariots, having been bogged down in unanticipated mud (5: 4, 21) caused by God and his army wiped out, the Canaanite general Sisera flees on foot. He seeks shelter in the tent of a wife of a supposed ally. God unexpectedly uses this woman, Jael, an unlikely participant, to finish the army in an unpredictable manner as she kills Sisera.

Just as it was apparent the battle was the Lord’s, that the Lord was fighting to save Israel, so it is apparent that it is the Lord who saves even today. Just as the Lord brought glory to Himself in saving Israel so the Lord brings glory to Himself in His the church today. Today, even as in the time of this story, it is God who does the work of saving. The story of Deborah, Barak, Sisera, and Jael helpfully reminds us God also accomplished our salvation in a dramatic manner. He sent His Son Who bore our sins on the Cross. How true it is that salvation belongs to Lord. God offers that salvation to us only as we call upon His name. None of us have a more important decision to make!

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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