Today’s Reading: Judges 4 – 5
Another shorter portion of Scripture, with the relief of being able to quietly think at a deeper level about the story without being worried that I still have 3 or 4 pages MORE to read! But then maybe you like the challenge of the bigger story! The song does take a little thinking about! Not sure if I’m in favour of such long worship songs, but there isn’t too much repetition in it! – But back to the story of today!
What intrigues me is that this is a story in which 2 women hold an important part of the story and its outcome is in their hands! Haven’t seen too many stories with women as the central figure, so far. There is no doubt that they have played an absolutely essential part, but sometimes they may get a little overlooked in the part they played!
Deborah was a prophetess. A prophet is someone who brings a message from God to a person or a group of people! It’s not about high education (nothing wrong with that, but that’s not how you get it!). In the New Testament, and I suppose in the Old Testament, it’s a spiritual GIFT from God. Not a natural talent, but a SPIRITUAL talent, so to speak. To be sure, anything improves as you practice it, but you have to have it first! (and each Christian has a spiritual gift in the body of Christ!). But Deborah has a message for Barak, which he was not looking for!
It’s interesting that Barak (a army general of all things!) refuses to go as God tells him, except if Deborah will go with him – rather a curious stance for him to take, or is it that he’s smart enough to know that to go is to be in for “the fight of his life”! I guess it would be if you were up against lots of enemy and 900 iron chariots to boot! But I relate to Barak, because there are some things in life which I would much rather detour around with the excuse that it’s not my cup of tea, not my talent, don’t have time for it, don’t have money – you should see all the excuses I can come with (especially when I’m scared!). And this life can be challenging indeed, especially if we want to be working for God, which in fact is going against Satan, our great enemy and he has his “iron chariots”, which scare the daylights out of me when I forget about my loving able Father!
But the beautiful part is that Deborah is willing to play “second fiddle” and to back up Barak. That’s not an easy call when some of us get used to ordering people around as either head of the family, husband, elder or whatever position we hold! But when I do humbly graciously and encouragingly back up those around me, there’s something strangely like our Lord Jesus, the great servant, which begins to appear in my character, destroying my natural selfish harsh part of my character!
People are called to war and the battle is won, but as Deborah has said, the honour is not to Barak, but to two women, who at personal cost to themselves, did what it took, to take care of sending Barak into battle and in the end driving a tent peg through Sisera’s skull – a rather insulting thing to do to a warrior like Sisera, but since he’s dead, we won’t tell him! But like the reading said – it took courage to get that close to the mighty warrior (what would happen if he woke up!?) and do the gruesome deed (maybe the only one chance to do it and she better not miss!). So there are things in life sometimes, that take real courage to do (maybe as simple and hard to do as to be willing to change and become the person that HE wants me to be). But hats off to the person who can be willing to become the person the Lord wants them to be and maybe like Deborah, it’s as simple (or not so simple to do!) as encouraging (with timely wisdom in humility) and backing up our brothers and sisters. Yes, a deeply satisfying story of people committed to seeing God’s will done and probably people stepping outside of their own environment WHEN CALLED OF GOD to get the job done!
And the story ends with a worship song (like our Steve likes to encourage us to do in singing (and others too!)). But a feeling of sadness for those who were too busy in their own lives – Rueben, Gilead, Dan, Asher etc., but high praise for those who risked their very lives – on the heights of the field and also for those nameless people who were called “the willing volunteers among the people!” And as some people say, “And all the people said? – Amen!” or in this case – “Praise the Lord!”
Please Lord, give me this day not only my daily bread, but a willing heart to be a willing volunteer and in actual fact to be a “fellow-worker\with you.”!