What was Barak’s response to Deborah when she asked him why he had not responded to God’s command to fight Jabin’s army? “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” (1) He was afraid. (I knew it.😏) Wow. Really? 😟 However . . . I’m pretty sure I have said those words, too. Barak needed support. I get that. It is difficult for us to venture out on our own. Moses did not like the idea either. Back in his day, he pleaded with God to send someone else to rescue the Israelites, so finally God let his brother come along with him. Barak knew Jabin’s army was powerful. General Sisera was intimidating. Israel had been living under their oppression for 20 years. He did not want to tackle this mission by himself.
But. 🤨 But . . . God told Barak “I will give him into your hand.” (2) Did he not hear that part? Success was guaranteed! He would be an automatic hero! Why would he hesitate? Only one reason: he did not believe God. And this is the real issue—not fear, not failure, not fear of failure. He did not have faith in God. He did not believe that God really understood what was involved here.
And this is the recurring problem for all of us. God gives us a mission and we mistakenly believe that God might have erred. That he really does not know what he is talking about. And there are so many reasons to believe this: We are unqualified. We are weak. We are insecure. We will make mistakes. The enemy is stronger than we are. So when God persists—which he often does—we sometimes reluctantly comply with the condition that someone else come along with us. And I guess that’s okay. It is more fun with someone else on the journey—not to mention less scary. I think God understands our frailty. Barak solicited Deborah’s help.
Her response? “I will surely go with you.” (3) She is glad to help. Actually, I think she is psyched about it! Sure, I’ll go! 😀 Add to her list of accomplishments: Warrior. (I really like her.) Deborah seems to be fearless—which is what we are all supposed to be. She is heeding David’s advice: “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed.” (4)
Why can’t we? Be strong and courageous. We can. Really. It’s possible. But how does that happen? Simple. We trust in God, not ourselves. “Some men trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.” (5) We tend to overthink, to despair, to question, to hesitate, to ponder, to calculate. 😟 I think when it comes to our mission in life, we are simply to “rise and stand upright.” (6) God commanded Barak to “Go, gather your men.” (7) We need to do what David (and Nike😉) said: Just “do it.” (4) And have faith that God is who he says he is and will do what he says he will do.
(1) Judges 4:8 (2) Judges 4:7 (3) Judges 4:9 (4) 1 Chronicles 28:20 (5) Psalm 20:7-8 (6) Psalm 20:8 (7) Judges 4:6