Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah … and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin's army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?” Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.
Thought for Today
Deborah is a monumentally unique leader in world history. In 1100 B.C., a time when men ruled the world (for context Cleopatra does lead Egypt until 69 B.C.), Deborah was the recognized authority in Israel. She is also unique in that she is the only leader God raises up who appears to be a judge in both sense of the word: a leader of Israel in a time of crisis and one who adjudicates the disputes of her countrymen before there were TV contracts for that sort of thing.
When the Canaanites sent an invincible army with 900 chariots of iron, real military game-changers of the day, Deborah called on Israel’s military leader to raise 10,000 troops to follow God into combat. The general, Barak, is so afraid he refuses to go unless Deborah goes with him. He has learned his lesson well. He will only follow the woman who follows God. She warns him that if she goes he will lose face, but he decides life is more important than reputation and demands she go anyway. How gracious of God to work through him despite his fears. Barak would have the victory either whether Deborah went or not, because it was God who would fight the battle. It is a shame we don’t have more detail about this incredible battle, but the point is clearly made that it is only because God fights for His people.
From all this we learn that it is okay to be afraid when God calls you to act in a way that will display His glory. There may be a cost, but it will not be the battle. The battle belongs to the Lord.
Heavenly Father, help me to follow You with courage. And when my courage fails, help me to follow the one who follows You. Amen.
Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake. ― Victor Hugo
Quote of the Day
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. ― Lao Tzu