Barak and Deborah led the Israelites into battle against a powerful Canaanite force that was armed and ready! The Canaanites’ main source of power were the 900 chariots, a squadron led by two warriors, an archer and a driver, and drawn by horses. The chariots were covered with armor and heavy metal, seemingly impenetrable. The Israelite army, on the other hand, was composed of individual tribes, not trained in battle, limited to the young warriors. At best they were a weakly fortified infantry. Looking at his opponent, General Sisera was probably emboldened. He might have laughed. 😄 But Deborah was patient. She waited.
God had told Barak, “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.” (1) What Deborah knew was that the Kishon River, although generally dry in the summer, during the rainy season, became a mighty rushing flood that would sweep away everything in its path. So, Deborah just waited for the rain to come. And it did: “the earth trembled and the heavens dropped, yes, the clouds dropped water.” (2) And “the torrent Kishon swept them away, the ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon.” (3)
Imagine the scene: Chariots were enveloped in mud. Skittish horses panicked against the rain and the rising river. Soldiers were thrown from the buggies. Chaos ensued. Those who did not drown were met with the Israelites’ swords. Deborah waited for that moment, turned to Barak, smiled, and nodded. With Deborah by his side, “Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.” (4) Not a man! General Sisera’s army had more fire power, more men, more training, and more experience. They should have won. Easily. 😯
And that’s exactly the kind of fight God loves to be engaged in—where we are clearly the underdog. As we face our own battles, we need to remember “The Lord himself goes before you.” (5) It was no coincidence that Sisera went to the river; God prompted him. (There are no coincidences in life for God’s children!) As David perfectly penned: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (6)
The most important element in this battle? The timing—waiting on the rain. And the most important element in the battles in our lives? The timing—waiting on God. We are often impatient, rush ahead, or give up entirely. But trust develops while we wait. As a matter of fact, while we wait is the only place trust occurs “for who hopes for what he sees?” (7) So, as we face the day with all its hurdles, remember to “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (8) Deborah was patient. She waited. And won. 🙂
(1) Judges 4:7 (2) Judges 5:4 (3) Judges 5:21 (4) Judges 4:16 (5) Deuteronomy 31:8 (6) Psalm 20:7-8 ( 7) Romans 8:24 (8) Psalm 27:14)