King Jabin “had 900 chariots of iron and he oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for twenty years.” (1) Of course, it was the Israelites’ choice—to be under his rule. That is to say that even though once upon a time they said, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods,” (2) they did. I daresay that most of our trouble is self-inflicted. But that’s another lesson. Eventually the Israelites realized the error of their ways and “cried out to the Lord for help.” (1) Again. 🙄
Enter Deborah. I don’t know if this woman is really my namesake or not, but let’s just say she is. 😉 The facts are quite sparse. We know that Deborah was married to Lappidoth. We read that she was a prophetess, God’s spokesperson. This meant that she not only worshiped God but God used her to deliver his message. She also acted as a judge for the people. “She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment.” (3) I like her. She sounds steady and strong and wise.
God told her to summon a guy named Barak, a military man. She had a question for 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?’” (4) Hmm. 🤔 So, Barak had already heard from God about this mission. But had not done anything. I think that happens a lot. God tells us to go somewhere or to do something and we do not. Why? There are many reasons but mostly we do nothing because we fear we will fail. 😞
The ironic thing about fear of failure is that our fear causes us to fail because we are paralyzed to even attempt the thing. So failure is not the issue—the issue is our fear. And what does God have to say about fear? “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (5) Note he does not say, “Do not fail.” We are the ones who put the emphasis on succeeding. God does not command us to succeed. Instead, he repeatedly says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (6)
Where do we read, “Be successful in the Lord”? Nowhere! 😦 Joseph was a successful man. You know why? “The Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” (7) Joseph’s success was not dependent on Joseph; it was dependent on the Lord being with him. Our successes in life are due to the Lord. Not us.
God did not command Barak to succeed. He commanded Barak to “Go.” (8) I’m pretty sure that’s God’s message to us as well.
What are you waiting for? Go. 🙂
(1) Judges 4:3 (2) Joshua 24:16 (3) Judges 4:5 (4) Judges 4:6-7 (5) Deuteronomy 31:8 (6) Joshua 1:9 (7) Genesis 39:23 (8) Judges 4:6