When Barak asked Deborah to assist him in leading the battle against General Sisera, she told him this: “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” (1) And the next thing we read is Barak calling for his men to follow Deborah and him into battle. Hmm. 🤔 This means that Barak was okay to share the glory. With a woman. 😮 Good for him!
Are we okay to share the glory as well? It’s hard sometimes. We love to take the credit, bask in the glory, receive the accolades, the compliments, the applause, the certificate of achievement, or perhaps even a medal! But as we are practicing our victory dances (think football 🏈), maybe we should consider all the people involved in the win. It is never one man’s (or woman’s) victory. Barak gathered his 10,000 men and stood ready to face General Sisera’s thousands along with his 900 chariots of iron! It must have been a daunting sight! But at just the right moment Deborah turned to Barak and said, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand.” (2) These are good words to live by: “Up! For this is the day.”
Our job when going into battle is to first, be prepared, and then second, to go when prompted. I wonder if Barak hesitated a bit because the next thing Deborah says is this: “Does not the Lord go out before you?” (2) Let’s pause, too. This is my favorite thing about God. (Is it alright to have favorite things about God?) He goes before us. He gets things ready for our arrival. I cannot quote Deuteronomy 31:8 enough: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (3) The verse covers everything we need for the battles we face in life. God is waiting for us as we enter battle. He will be with us in the battle. He will never leave us during the battle. He will never give up on us as we battle. There is nothing to fear. There is nothing to be discouraged about. God is with us. All. The. Time.
And . . . 😀 God is preparing a dinner in our honor: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” (4) Not only is victory promised, but a celebration is also being planned. I think what we need to do in times of battle is look forward to the after party! That’s why James confidently writes “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (5) The battles are tests but the reward is steadfastness—which will flesh itself out as patience, hopefulness, endurance, perseverance, and strength. But this will only happen if we “let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (6) The full effect of steadfastness is to feel strong after a big battle. Strong, rather than exhausted. Strong, rather than weary. Strong, rather than drained. The battles make us strong!
You know what I think? I think Deborah was excited about the battle! She told Barak “Up! For this is the day!” She “counted it all joy!” How can you not like Deborah? 😁
(1) Judges 4:9 (2) Judges 4:14 (3) Deuteronomy 31:8 (4) Psalm 23:5 (5) James 1:2-3 (6) James 1:4