Judges 4

Matt Summerfield considers the importance of looking to God, rather than relying on your own strength.

Continued from page 1

In fact, first and foremost God looks for people who make themselves available, people who are simply willing to say "Here I am, send me."

We don't know much about the backstory of Deborah. We don't know what she might have wrestled with when God called her to step up as a judge, prophet and leader.

It couldn't have been easy. There must have been flack. There must have been opposition. There must have been moments when she doubted her call, because so many people were saying to her "Who do you think you are doing this as a woman?"

But by the time we get to this story, it's clear that Deborah is confident in who God has called her to be. She's listening to God and not the voices of negativity and opposition. She's embracing her calling, regardless of what others might say and she's now hugely respected as a woman of God.

Lesson 3: Learn to push-through opposition in order to break-through in to God's opportunities

Sometimes we have to push-through in order to break-through.

  • You don't get a butterfly without a struggle

  • You don't get a victory without a battle

  • You don't get a breakthrough without having pushed through

Jesus didn't promise us an easy life. He said that in this life we would have trouble, but He told us that He'd be with us. He told us He is for us. He told us that He'd get us through and so He encourages us to knock and keep on knocking, seek and keep on seeking, and to ask and keep on asking.

"One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam, who lived in Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. She said to him, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun at Mount Tabor. And I will call out Sisera, commander of Jabin's army, along with his chariots and warriors, to the Kishon River. There I will give you victory over him." Barak told her, "I will go, but only if you go with me." "Very well," she replied, "I will go with you. But you will receive no honour in this venture, for the Lord's victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman." So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh." (Judges 4:6-10)

Deborah prophesies a divine strategy to Barak that will assure them of victory and Barak says yes to it, but only with the proviso that Deborah goes with him.

Is this man a coward? I don't think so. He's about to go up against a vast army with 900 iron chariots. He is massively outgunned and he is prepared to go. He doesn't ask Deborah to go instead of him, he asks that she go with him.

I'd suggest that there a few things going on here.

Firstly, he recognises God's anointing on her and he wants that close to him. How awesome would it be if people wanted you with them because they recognised that you carried something of the power and the presence of God?

Secondly, perhaps there's a gentle challenge here, "Put your money where your mouth is Deborah." If you truly believe that God has spoken, then you step out in faith too. Put your faith in to action. After all James reminds us that faith without works is dead.

Thirdly, maybe Barak knows that there is simply something very powerful in unity. Standing shoulder to shoulder. It's what the Psalmist writes in Psalm 133, where there is unity the Lord commands a blessing, and of course in this story we see the blessings of great victory. CR

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