Deborah's Benevolent Desire
by James Smith, 1860
Israel's sin, brought punishment — but God's sovereign mercy, raised up deliverers and brought relief. These deliverers were generally men — but here we find a woman promoted to the leadership. She appears to have had a large heart, a strong understanding, and to be altogether a very remarkable woman. She stirred up Barak, and led him to conflict and victory; and having done so, composes a song of praise to Jehovah, in which she ascribes the victory to him, reviews the conduct of the tribes, and closes with a devout and holy wish, "So may all your enemies perish, O Lord! But may those who love You be like the sun when it rises in its strength!" Judges 5:31.
"Those who love You." Jehovah in Jesus, is the object of our love; and in him, everything that is calculated to draw forth, and fix our love is to be found.
The bright and the beautiful,
the magnificent and the glorious,
the mild and the majestic,
the just and the gracious,
the holy and the benevolent —
combine, harmonize, and shine forth in him!
And the Holy Spirit having . . .
convinced us of sin,
led us to Jesus,
sealed home on the conscience our pardon, and
given us to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ
— draws forth and fixes our affections supremely on him.
We love him — and therefore prefer him to all other objects in earth or Heaven.
We love him — and therefore walk with him in peace and holiness.
We love him — and therefore obey him with all the heart and soul.
We love him — and therefore we love his people and unite with them.
We love him — and therefore . . .
engage in his cause,
strive for his glory, and
fight in defense of his truth.
We love him — and therefore are zealous in his ways, and for his honor. Love is the fire in the heart, and zeal is the flame in the life.
Let those who love him, "be like the sun when it rises in its strength!" That is, let them be . . .
exalted above all their foes;
uninterrupted in their course;
and glorious above all other objects.
Let them be, not as the mid-winter sun, or as the sun at midnight — but let them be as the sun at midsummer, at mid-day, when it goes forth in its might!
Then it attracts universal attention;
then it disperses all darkness and gloom;
then it scatters all that would impede its progress, or conceal its glories;
then it prevents innumerable evils;
then it imparts innumerable blessings — by its light, heat, and fructifying power;
then it goes on increasing in beauty and splendor, passing uninjured through all the constellations — the lion, the bull, the scorpion, and the bear;
then it sets in mild glory, and sheds a beauty on all surrounding objects.
Let those who love God, be . . .
as persevering, and
as successful —
as "the sun when it rises in its strength!"
"May those who love you — be like the sun when it rises in its strength!" The love of saints is mutual, it fixes on the image of God wherever it is, and breaks through every barrier, exclaiming, "Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity." Love desires the best things for others. Nothing is too great or too good — to desire for those who love God. The most striking imagery is employed, the most glorious objects in nature are selected, to set forth the benevolent desires of the loving heart.
Love leads to energetic prayer, it was love in the heart of Deborah, which led her so energetically to appeal to the heart of God, and say, "May those who love you — be like the sun when it rises in its strength!" Love longs to see others increasingly useful, honorable, and glorious. There is nothing selfish in love: she does not seek her own honor — but to advance the honor of Jesus, and the best interests of those who love him.
Reader, do you love Him? Do you love God in Christ? Do you love him from the heart — supremely? If so, do you go forth as the sun, day by day in a course of holiness and usefulness? Is your path like that of the just, which shines more and more unto the perfect day? Seek. . .
to abound in love,
to excel in grace, and
to grow in usefulness.
Remember, believe, and plead that precious promise, "The righteous shall hold on his way, and he who has clean hands shall wax stronger and stronger!" So shall you be "like the sun when it rises in its strength!"