Lectionary Year A
November 14, 1999
Judges 4:1-10

Contemporary Address


(JFC) A. DESCRIPTION OF AUDIENCE

This congregation, where I am becoming Parish Associate, is substantial, if medium sized, average attendance is just above 100 weekly. Their (female) pastor is quite competent and duly loved. They have a (female) DCE who oversees good educational and youth ventures. The music program is outstanding and employs a variety of musical styles in corporate worship. The members are upper middle class and affluently comfortable folk. They are reaching out to many cultures different from the average Presbyterian types. They are an inspiration to worship with. Their small County Seat town is on the Interstate and half way between Louisville and Lexington, KY. A good place to be.

(JFC) B. INTENDED GOALS FOR THE AUDIENCE

I hope to get the theology expressed in this passage to encourage people that God is with us actively and participating in our lives even when they go down the dumps into idolatry, etc. God chooses people as instruments to pull us out of the doldrums of idolatry, etc. Victory comes with teamwork efforts to overcome problems, even those we bring on ourselves.

(JFC) C. ADDRESS

“God Has Ways That Work To Get Us Through The Doldrums”

Introduction
We think we have troubles and we do. So did the Israelites in the 11th century BCE. Our problems might well include idolatry, apathy and laziness. We, too, seek the paths of least resistance.

I. God Knows & Cares
God sees the Israelites idolatry and lets them stew in its ramifications for a season, 20 years, maybe, even. God calls Deborah to commission Barak to go run off the perpetrators of the evil troubles. God enables Barak and Deborah to accomplish their task to get back to peaceful faithfulness.

II. Deborah & Barak Work As A Team
Deborah is a prophetess. Barak is a military strategist. They negotiate. They agree to support each other. The story gets surprisingly personal and subjective here. That might be the proper approach for us to emulate. We can do the Deborah like prophet(ess) thing.
The Gospel lection is the parable of the parable of the 3 servants the master left in charge of varying amounts of his treasures, Matthew 25:14-30. If those servants had negotiated and agreed on corporate investing, they would all have been rewarded. So, too, with us and ours.

III. We Have A Role In This Process, Too
We can recognize idolatry in ourselves as well as in others. Some of them fail to recognize their idolatry just as we don’t always admit ours, too. Truth needs to win out over denial.
When we work together, it works. God is our first partner. A teammate is our next partner, a la Deborah and Barak. Sharing the load proves effective.

Conclusion
We got problems, God’s got solutions. Some solutions come to us, some come by us and through us.



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