And so it was, in the land of Israel, that the great leader Barak heeded the call of the prophetess Deborah, who spoke words of wisdom and truth from the mouth of the almighty God. The Canaanite army, led by the fierce and ruthless commander Sisera, had brought great turmoil upon the Israelites, and it was time for a hero to rise and lead his people to victory.
This was at a time when the most prevailing technology of the time was iron, and Sisera had 900 iron chariots with which he had oppressed the land of Israel for 20 years under the command of his king, Jabin.
Barak, first reluctant to go unaccompanied, but eventually, with a heart full of courage and a mindset of righteousness, agreed to take up arms and march to war. And Deborah, a woman of great power and insight, vowed to stand by his side, for she knew God’s hand was upon them both. Without the God factor, this was going to be mass suicide.
So they set out, Barak and his army of brave but weaponless Israelites, to face the might of Sisera and his horde of warriors. The odds were stacked against them, for Sisera’s army was vast and fierce, and they were aided by the most advanced of technologies, but Barak and his men were filled with a burning conviction, a conviction that they were fighting for something greater than themselves, the freedom and salvation of their people.
As they clashed upon the battlefield, the sky rumbled with what could easily be misinterpreted as the gods’ fury, and the earth shook beneath their feet. The river Kishon became animated and joined in the war against Sisera, and the Stars above caused the mountains beneath to quake. Angels were spotted. Nature was fighting in this war and was on the side of Israel. Swords clashed, and shields broke, but Barak and his men fought on, driven by the strength of their hearts and the will of the Lord.
And in the end, it was their faith and determination that proved victorious, for the Israelites emerged victorious, and Sisera, fleeing the battle, was hunted down and slain by the cunning and brave Jael – A housewife.
Thus the land of Israel was saved, and the name of Barak was forever etched into the annals of history as a hero and a savior. And Deborah, a woman of great power and insight, stood by his side, a testament to the strength and courage of her people, an icon showing that the role of women in National life is not new but as old as the time of the Judges.
May you be a fighter only in the battles God intends to win! Amen! The story above may not be very familiar to you, but it’s an interesting and exciting story you’ll find in the book of the Judges. I have retold it with a bit of glam and glitz, but it’s the same story. This story is written with prose and poetry, and like all Bible readings, you only see more profound and deeper the closer you relate to the source. If you take out time to study this story, you will see some exciting opportunities to trust God more.
1. This battle was not won by Barak and Deborah; this battle was fought and won by heavenly forces, who basically used a human cover for the battle. The Stars, mountains, rivers, and angelic beings were involved in this battle, God just wanted a human agent to be remembered for it. When God says, move! Better to plant in the field that God has blessed than invite God into your labor.
2. All Barak needed to do was show up and play his part. All the other parts were contingent on his showing up. His reluctance won someone else the glory of slaying the commander Sisera. Many times we overestimate our value or contribution. Many times, it’s not even the size of our faith that matters but the size of our supporters.
3. Jael got the glory for slaying the commander only because of Barak’s reluctance. If we are not careful, sometimes we may want to become authorities on what we don’t know anything about. What we only became beneficiaries of because of someone else’s complacency. If God gives you fame and fortune, celebrate God, and don’t make a system out of what you got into before you understood.
4. I want to talk about much more- the mountain, the victory, the initiative but maybe another day.
Are there areas of your life where you seem to be at war? Family? Business? Career? Polity? Wherever that area is, hear the word of the Lord this morning or a confirmation of the same. “Go forward in the power of your encounter with God, and prepare to show up in a battle that God is ensuring victory. Don’t consider what you have or what you don’t have, don’t consider the strength of your pedigree or history, God in the full assurance that when your strength fails, God’s strength will prevail.”
Take some time out to pray, share with friends, and empower someone today.