Have you ever been in a difficult situation where you knew that you had to say or do something, but it was just too difficult? Often, we just don’t seem to be able to do or say the right thing at times like these. There can be many things that are holding us back: feeling inferior, fear of what others might think of us, doubt, pride, laziness, even unwillingness. Our first reaction is often to look for an excuse or find a “way out” so that we don’t have to take action.
But that’s not how God wants us to be! Just look at the story of Barak and Deborah.
A command from the Lord
Deborah was a leader, a judge, and a prophetess in Israel – one to whom God could tell His secrets. (Amos 3:7.) God used her to make His will known to the people of Israel. You can read the full story about her in Judges 4 and 5.
When God told Deborah to do something, she immediately started doing it. She didn’t sit there, thinking of all the things that could go wrong or doubting if she could do what He said. If God said it had to be done, that was enough for her. Her faith in Him gave her the power to take action. She knew that He would give her everything that she needed to do His will.
One day, the Lord told Deborah to speak to a man named Barak and tell him that the Lord commanded him to take 10,000 men and go up to Mount Tabor. There God would help Barak and the Israelites to overcome Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army who had been oppressing Israel for years. Because of Sisera’s constant oppression, the Israelites had cried out to God for help, and this was God’s plan to defeat him, once and for all.
The Lord is with you: Are you willing?
The fact that Sisera had 900 strong chariots meant nothing to God. He was ready and willing to give Israel the victory against this commander and his armies. But Barak was not so willing to lead the army of Israel on his own. He said to Deborah, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”
Of course, Deborah went. She really wanted to do as the Lord commanded! On the day of the battle she said, “This is the day the LORD will give you victory over Sisera, for the LORD is marching ahead of you.” Judges 4:14 (NLT).
Just think to have an attitude of mind like that! Barak was too afraid to go to battle without her, but Deborah was full of faith that God would give Israel the victory. She believed God’s Word and did what He had said.
Israel won a complete victory over their enemies that day. Then there was peace in Israel for 40 years. How different things might have been if Deborah was not willing to go into battle! But because she was faithful and willing to do what God had said – she had power to take action. God’s will was done and Israel was set free.
The battle today
It’s completely possible for us to have the same spirit that Deborah had – to be full of faith in God and full of power to take action! All those “strong chariots” that hold us back from doing what God says – feeling inferior, fear of what others might think of us, doubt, pride, laziness, unwillingness, etc. – they are nothing to God!
Do we believe exactly what God says, and fight against these “enemies” we see in our lives? These enemies aren’t cruel commanders like in the time of Israel. God wants to free us out from different enemies in our time: things like jealousy, laziness, doubt, pride, and impurity. God wants to make us completely free from these sins!
Let’s pray for the spirit of Deborah when we see what needs to be done in our lives! Let’s not draw back when we see these “enemies”, or when we come into difficult situations! Let’s fill ourselves with the spirit of faith that can be found in God’s Word. Let’s be quick to do what God’s Word says and what His Spirit works in us. Then we too will overcome!
“But we are not among those who shrink back [turn back] and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.” Hebrews 10:39 (NRSV).