Into the Lesson
Display an outline of a person (on roll paper or poster board) as your class assembles. Have the following heading over the drawing: “The Ideal Leader.” As students arrive, hand them a marker and say, “Go up to the drawing and write in a characteristic you think is important in the ideal leader.” (Make sure the marker won’t bleed through the paper and damage the wall.)
As class begins, point to the list and ask, “Are there other qualities you want to add, now that you have had more time to think?” Then intro-duce Deborah as a judge of Old Testament Israel.
Into the Word
Before class recruit a volunteer to be inter-viewed as the Israelite judge Deborah. Encourage your volunteer to be well studied on the time period of the judges generally and on the life and work of Deborah specifically. Provide your volunteer a copy of the lesson writer’s commentary and the questions that you (or a class member) are going to ask. Be sure to allow some spontaneity from your class and from your interviewee. Interview questions are provided Isere, but you may choose to write your own questions to match your class’s level of biblical maturity. Of course some answers may be speculative; be sure your students understand that. You should discuss the reasonableness of answers that are not directly revealed in Scripture. Related verse numbers from today’s text its Judges 4 are given after each question.
(1) “Deborah, what did your husband think about your work on behalf of God’s people?” (v.4); (2) “What was the nature of your prophesying? How did you receive the Spirit’s Word?” (v.4); (3) “Why was your work done under a tree by the side of the road?” (v. 5);
(4) “What sort of cases did you handle?” (v. 5);
5) “How did you know of Barak, who lived so far away?” (v. 6);
(6)”What would Barak have known of the Canaanite oppressors?” (v. 8);
(7) “How could Barak raise an army of 10,000 men from only two tribal groups?” (v. 7);
(8) “Where exactly is this Kishon River, and why would God want the battle to take place there?” (v. 7);
(9) “Why do you think Barak refused to go to war without you?” (vv. 8-10);
(10) “Why did you caution Barak that the honor of victory would come to a woman and not to him?” (vv. 8-10);
(11) What is significant about the fact that your army was to face 900iron chariots? Didn’t your 10,000 men seem to be the stronger army?” (vv. 12, 13);
(12) When you assumed command of Barak’s army and gave the command to charge, how did Barak respond?” (v.14);
(13) “From Mount Tabor you had a good view of the battle. Exactly what happened?” (vv.15, 16 and Judges 5:18-22);
(14) “Your poem of victory that we have recorded in Judges 5 is a beautiful expression. How do you account for such a response to the defeat of God’s enemies?”As your “Deborah” responds, stop to discuss key elements of the text. Allow students to inter-act with her assumptions and conclusions.
Give each student an index card. Display a list of the primary leaders of your congregation: ministers, elders, deacons, and others. Pair up each student with a leader’s name. If your class is not large enough to cover pairing up all the names, ask for volunteers to take two or more names. If there are more class members than leaders, have more than one student responsible for each leader.
Have students make the following commitment: on one side of their cards, write out a plan for how they will offer prayer support for their chosen leader. On the other side of their cards, write a commitment to visiting with their chosen leader. This visitation may be at the leader’s home, by going out for coffee, etc. By participating in this activity, students will have an opportunity to express appreciation for their leaders and enjoy being in their presence. This will reflect Barak’s appreciation and reliance on Deborah’s leadership.