Listen, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I will sing to the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD, the God of Israel.
I. THE SPIRIT IN WHICH GREAT DEEDS ARE WROUGHT. The outburst has its source in Divine patriotism or religious enthusiasm. A consciousness of a representative character and destiny animates the Israelites. Religious devotion binds them into complete communion. Private aims and interests are forgotten.
1. It is this spirit which rescues the war of deliverance from objections to war simply as such. As an act of self-devotion it was a truly devout, and therefore religiously legitimate, war. No hope of personal gain animates the host of Israel. It is patriotism in its noblest form. These soldiers are all volunteers; they obey a Divine voice. How many wars would cease were such feelings consulted! The saints' contest with evil should be con- ducted from a like principle. We should know what "manner of spirit" we are of.
2. It was this spirit which made so effectual the struggle in which they were engaged. They were desperate, devoted men. No half-measure would be tolerated. Having counted the cost, they were willing to carry it on a outrance. God's battle with error and wickedness has suffered because of the half-heartedness of those who wage it.
3. It was this spirit which conferred upon the deed its aesthetic beauty and epic grandeur, It is a fine question to determine what that is that gives the essential character to the noble, chivalrous, and religious enthusiasms of men. A careful survey of any considerable number of them will show that not only unselfishness, but self- sacrifice, is their fundamental principle. Selfish aims, or the impulse of self-aggrandisement, vitiates the deed, however externally magnificent; and vice versa, the magnanimous forgetfulness of self, the conscious foregoing of personal ends and aims, will give nobility and piety even to works externally indifferent or apparently ignoble. The sentiment of a deed is its true character. Here it assumes a dignity and glory that command the admiration of the poet and the artist. It is part of the excellence of noble deeds to inspire. There is nothing so inspiring as self-devotion. But this is the vital breath of all true religion. Religious enthusiasm is contagious. The pious hero cannot long remain alone. True worship is the praise of the cross, where the power of darkness sustained its signal, final defeat. "By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." If we are truly religious our lives also will blossom forth in acts that poets might sing and orators extol.
II. THE INSPIRER OF GREAT DEEDS. That they are not a spontaneous outgrowth of our nature is the general confession of those who have wrought them. The object of Israel's admiration and obedience was Jehovah. It was in the inspiration derived from him the deliverance was wrought. God in Christ, as embodying the highest excellency in sympathetic relation with ourselves, is an even more powerful stimulus to heroism and piety. "For Christ's sake" is a formula that covers a vast proportion of "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, and pure, and lovely, and of good report," in the world's history. - M.
Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?
I. Let us look at this text as the language of the UNIVERSAL CHURCH. The Church in the wilderness, the Church militant, for nearly nineteen centuries has been breathing fervently the prayer commanded by her Founder — "Thy kingdom come." And in her anticipation of the answer and the advent, in her longings after complete victory, universal regeneration, when truth and peace shall sway her sceptre in every land, and the Christ-King shall be enthroned in every heart — I say, in her longings after this glorious era, she plaintively ejaculates, "Why is His chariot so long in coming?" "Why does my Lord delay His coming?" The progress of Christianity, the achievements and triumphs of truth, we are told, have been so slow, so few, so limited, for the time in which it has been at work, that our learned doubters and avowed foes have written upon it in big letters, "Failure!" Well, we are not surprised at that. Had there not been something about it which largely savoured of success, they would not have been so hasty to label it with failure! Moreover, slowness of progress, of growth, is no proof of failure. Are not the greatest works of God and man the result of slow processes? I would ask, must the corn be pronounced a failure because it does not wave in golden harvests after a night and a day's growth? Must the old sun be pronounced a failure because it does not march instantaneously, but by degrees, to the meridian? What if Christianity has been slow in its march? — it has been sure. It has been moving in no circle of uncertainty, no region of doubt and ill-based probabilities! It has been making solid headway. And if other systems of religion — false and flashy — have sprung up with the rapidity of the mushroom, they have been as fragile and unenduring.
II. Look at this text as the language of the INDIVIDUAL CHURCH DESIRING AND EXPECTING A SPECIAL VISIT FROM HEAVEN. The chilling winds of worldliness have swept over the Church, or the mildew of indifference has fallen on some, and the cankerous rust of idleness on others, while some have become intoxicated with pride, and others poisoned with heresy, numbed with doubt, and wild with the delirium of controversy. So that the Church is bordering on lifelessness, its strength low, its energies exhausted, its influence and glory almost gone. The few in her that have not defiled their garments nor indulged in worldly ease, who are true and loyal, and steadfast and earnest, tremble for the "ark of God," and grieve to see it drifting to the fatal rocks; and in agony of soul cry, "Why is His chariot so long in coming to our help?" Hold on faith, hold on patience, hold on pleading — loosen not your grasp of Omnipotence, your Jacob-like grip on God — cease not to ask, to seek, to knock, to wait: in Jehovah's own time the golden gates will open, the flaming steed will rush out. He who speeds His way through a wilderness of worlds, through untraversed solitudes of space, will steer His glad "chariot" to your sanctuary and in the midst of the Church, and scatter the gifts of His grace and the benedictions of His love.
III. Look at this text as the language of the PENITENT SINNER SEEKING AND DESIRING CHRIST. A penitent soul is one of earth's grandest pictures. When the obdurate heart melts and weeps, and the unwilling knees bend in lowly submission, and the prayer uprises to heaven, "What must I do to be saved?" and the poor sinner is passing through the sharp ordeal of repentance, then it is we read in the mystic language of tears and sighs the plaintive words of my text, "Why is His chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of His chariot?" Should there be one such penitent soul waiting for the coming of Jesus, listening for the rumbling of His chariot wheels to give him "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," tarry on your knees, tighten your grip of faith, wait! and He that will come shall come; and His arrival shall be all the more welcome and blissful for the delay and the waiting.
IV. Again, we may regard the text as THE LANGUAGE OF THE CONSECRATED BUT CLOUDED CHILD OF GOD, MOURNING PROTRACTED DELAY OF CONSCIOUS COMMUNION. For a time God has seemed to depart: He has withdrawn His light, His conscious presence. No voice speaks, no face beams, no hands leads, no presence remains; the soul presses, as it thinks, near to Him, but lie is not there; it speaks, but there is no response; it gropes in the distressing darkness, but finds Him not. We should, however, never forget that the halting of Jehovah is not to tantalise, but to test; not to inflict unneeded pain, but to produce great spiritual profit. The hiding of His face is simply for the multiplying of His grace. Suspended communion is intended to do for us what the storm does for the tree, what the fire does for the silver and gold, what the lapidary's wheel does for the jewel. Such absence only makes the heart grow fonder. The longing desire for repossession and renewed fellowship is a pledge of a consecrated heart, and a prophecy that sooner or later He will return.
V. Again, look at this text as the language of GOD'S AFFLICTED CHILD DAILY EXPECTING HIS CHARIOT TO TAKE HIM HOME. Home, sweet home! what a precious monosyllable! God sometimes keeps His chosen ones a long time in the final fires, in the finishing process — a long time lingering between the two worlds — suffering, dying. With what a "spirit of expectant hope" and holy calm did Francis Ridley Havergal contemplate and wait for death. There was acute and continued suffering — at times most severe; but the presence of "the King" was fully realised, and His grace was sufficient for her. She startled her medical adviser on one of his early visits by the emphatic inquiry, "Now tell me, doctor, candidly, is there any chance of my seeing Him?" Later on she said, "Not one thing hath failed, tell them all round: trust Jesus: it is simply trusting Jesus." "Spite of the breakers, not a fear." "I am just waiting for Jesus to take me in." "I thought He would have left me here awhile, but He is so good to take me so soon." "I have such an intense craving for the music of heaven." Then, as if "longing to depart and be with Christ, which is far better," she said, "Why tarrieth His chariot?"
(J. O. Keen, D. D.)
PeopleAbinoam, Amalek, Anath, Asher, Barak, Benjamin, Dan, Deborah, Heber, Issachar, Jael, Machir, Naphtali, Reuben, Seir, Shamgar, Sisera, Zebulun
PlacesCanaan, Edom, Gilead, Jordan River, Kishon River, Megiddo, Meroz, Seir, Sinai, Taanach
TopicsAttention, Ear, I-to, Kings, Listen, Melody, Music, O, Praise, Princes, Rulers, Sing, Song
Outline1. The Song of Deborah and Barak
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJudges 5:1-3
Why satest then among the sheepfolds, to hear the pipings for the flocks? At the watercourses of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.'--JUDGES v. 16 (R.V.). I. The fight. The warfare is ever repeated, though in new forms. In the highest form it is Christ versus the World, And that conflict must be fought out in our own souls first. Our religion should lead not only to accept and rely on what Christ does for us, but to do and dare for Christ. He has given Himself for us, and has thereby …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
'All Things are Yours'
Love Makes Suns
Songs of Deliverance
Whether the Orders Will Outlast the Day of Judgment?
Why is it that Our Lord Has Tarried Till Now? Why Has not the Redeemer Returned Long Ere This?
Hindrances to Revivals.
The Publication of the Gospel
Salvation Published from the Mountains
The Sovereignty of God in Operation
Appendix ix. List of Old Testament Passages Messianically Applied in Ancient Rabbinic Writings
The Hebrews and the Philistines --Damascus
LinksJudges 5:3 NIV
Judges 5:3 NLT
Judges 5:3 ESV
Judges 5:3 NASB
Judges 5:3 KJV
Judges 5:3 Bible Apps
Judges 5:3 Parallel
Judges 5:3 Biblia Paralela
Judges 5:3 Chinese Bible
Judges 5:3 French Bible
Judges 5:3 German Bible
Judges 5:3 Commentaries