“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. – Judges 4:9 NIV
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Although the Bible is silent on how she became a judge over Israel, Deborah who was a prophetess and wife of Lappidoth was a leader and judge in Israel during a period when they, in their usual manner did evil in the eyes of the Almighty God and God sold them into the hands of Jabin, the king of Canaan. As it has become the cycle, the Israelites, after being under twenty years of cruel oppression by Sisera, the head of the army of Jabin, king of Canaan, cried to the Almighty God for help and He decided to deliver them – Judges 4:1-3.
He had instructions passed over to Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, through Prophetess Deborah, to gather his men as He, the Almighty God was going to deliver the Israelites from the oppression of Sisera. In order to do this, Barak was advised to mobilise ten thousand man troop from Naphtali and Zebulun and gather them at Mount Tabor while He, the Almighty God will lead Sisera and his troops against them in Kishon river where the Lord will eventually hand him over to Barak in a battle. Barak agreed to go on the mission but only on the condition that Deborah agrees to go with them, a request that Deborah granted. However, in the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional, she made it clear to him that with his request, he had lost the honour that should have been his, had he gone ahead with the plan of God and successfully executed it but the honour was now that of a woman – Judges 4:4-8. He eventually set out on the battle with all his men and in the company of Prophetess Deborah and the bible notes that at the advance of Barak, the Lord routed Sisera’s chariots and army by the sword such that not a single soldier remained. Sisera came down from his chariot and fled on foot and Barak followed him in pursuit – Judges 4:10-15. Sisera was to arrive at the residence of Jael, who was wife to Heber the Kenite and whose father was a descendant of Hobab, the brother in law of Moses. He had thought that with the treaty of peace between the Kenites and his king, he would be safe with Jael but that was not the case as Jael hammered a peg into his temple while he was asleep and killed him. Barak arrived the residence of Jael just when she had completed the task – Judges 4:16-22. Alas! The honour of the entire battle had escaped Barak and gone to Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, according to the words of the Lord through Prophetess Deborah the judge.
Christians need to be very careful with how they react to instructions from the Lord. It is always the expectation of the Almighty God that Christians will continue to trust in Him and all they need to do at all times is to confirm that He is behind the issued instruction. To not trust Him at any point by the Christian will always remain a sin and that was the pit that Barak fell into. Like Barak, many Christians lose full honour that should come to them due to lack of complete trust in His Words or instructions. Barak insisted that Prophetess Deborah would have to go with him if he was to yield to the instructions of the Lord. What a huge error statement. The implication of the statement is that Barak would rather trust in Deborah who is a tool in the hands of the Lord than trust the Lord who owns the tool and uses it to His glory. That may be understandable since Deborah can be seen but Barak is unable to see the Lord but it is still not acceptable and so will never be sufficient to justify his action of distrust for the Lord especially at the expense of his tool, after all, he expects the Christian to walk by faith and not by sight – 2Cor. 5:7. The same visible Deborah did go on that mission with them as requested but there was no record of her playing any role while the invisible God was the one that was routing the army of Sisera at every advance of this same faithless Barak and only for a woman who did not even know anything about the battle taking all the honour in the comfort of her home. It was an obvious case of the Lord giving the glory to her as evident from the course of events.
Many Christians today are still committing the error of Barak and so, are losing full glory that should have been rightfully theirs. They work hard but are deprived of the corresponding honour for bringing in a condition that indicates some level of distrust for the Almighty God. In moves similar to that of Barak, they place so much hope on men especially their spiritual leaders rather than the Almighty God and in so doing lose the honour that should be rightfully theirs for successfully implementing a divine task.
Your spiritual leader may have played some significant role in the course of that journey to greatness just as Deborah did in the case of Barak but it should never be forgotten that he/she remains only a tool in the hands of the Almighty God. Focus at all times must remain on the Almighty God so that the full honour of the battle may be received. May God grant us all the ability to retain trust in Him at all times and so not lose the honour that is rightfully ours in Jesus name. Amen.