The book of Judges describes a period in the life of the nation of Israel between the prophetic leadership of Moses and Joshua and the establishment of the monarchy. During this time period, there was a crisis of leadership and a crisis in Israel’s faithfulness to their covenant with the Lord.
Judges 5 pays tribute to those individuals and tribes who valiantly played their part and rebukes those who did not. The battle involved mainly the central and northern tribes. The main theme of the song is the righteous acts of the Lord himself who overwhelmed his enemies by unleashing the powers of heaven against them—As has been the pattern time and time again, God fought with them. A rain, a flood that took away their chariots and destroyed them there in the valley of Megiddo. In this it is very reminiscent of the song of Moses when the Lord fought for them against the Egyptians.
The climactic nature of this narrative is showcased in part by all of the “doubles” featured in this account. For example, there are two leaders (Deborah and Barak), two villains (Jabin and Sisera), two leading women (Deborah and Jael), and even two different accounts of deliverance: the first in narrative style in chapter 4 and the second in poetic song in chapter 5.
Most basically, this Spirit-inspired song shows a heart turned toward the Lord God and his purposes. Using imagery that recalls the exodus, Deborah sings glory to God for his deliverance of his people, including the destruction of their enemies. She praises him for accomplishing those purposes through ordinary people by the ways of ordinary means.
Prayer: Father God, thank you that you never give up on us, but you also always fight for us. Thank you for using ordinary people like myself to do extraordinary things. May we always be available and put our trust in you. In Jesus’ name, amen.