Deborah | If You Go, I'll Go | Judges 4-5

Welcome to Real Life. If you go, I’ll go. Have you ever been afraid to walk into an unfamiliar situation alone?
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Under Joshua, Israel had conquered and occupied much of the Promised Land of Canaan … but, not all of it. Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites remained. After Joshua’s death, the Israelites intermarried with these foreigners. And, soon, the people of God were bowing to pagan idols. Because they had removed themselves from God and his protection, the Israelites were conquered and oppressed by one enemy after another. In their misery, they cried out to the Lord. He raised up judges[1] to lead his people back to physical and spiritual freedom.
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“I’ll only go, Deborah, if you go,” said Barack, the commander of Israel's army.

Israel was firmly held under the grip of Jabin, a Canannite king. Israel's judge, Deborah, had called for Barak and given him this order from God: Take 10,000 men to Mount Tabor. I (God) will lure Sisera (the commander of Jabin’s army) there and deliver him into your hands. 

Deborah, a married woman, was clearly an unconventional choice to lead Israel. Perhaps, God chose her because he could trust her. Deborah was a prophetess. She heard God’s voice and faithfully delivered his message to the people.
It’s those who spend the most time in God’s presence that God can use the most because they are people he can trust the most. –Mark Batterson[2]
Barak refused to go into battle without Deborah. He was a realist. He knew that apart from divine intervention, they could never conquer Jabin’s army—equipped with 900 iron chariots. Barack held no confidence that God was with him. But, he knew God was with Deborah. 

She agreed to go, with a caveat: If I go, the honor of this victory will be handed over to a woman.

As the Lord promised, Israel routed Jabin’s army. The enemy commander, Sisera, fled and hid in the tent of Jael, wife of Heber. Exhausted from the battle, Sisera fell asleep. When he did, Jael drove a tent peg straight through his temple and into the ground beneath him. Israel won a great victory that day. But, bragging rights went to a woman—Jael.

Am I confident that God is with me? Some days, I am. I feel invincible. Nothing can touch me without going through God first. Other days, I’m not so sure. I feel more like Barak—weak, far from God and his protection. The truth is that as a Christian, his Holy Spirit is always with me.[3] But, like Israel, I sometimes make sinful choices that grieve God and remove me from his protection. God’s still there. I’m the one who’s walked away. And, I’m the one who needs to return.

Lord, I want to be near you, safely under the shelter of your wings. 

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8a)

Take it further:

How good are you with a tent peg?


[1] Judges 2:16
[2] Draw the Circle, p. 167
[3] Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Image of Jael: Jael Smote Sisera, and Slew Him, circa 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902) Public Domain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yael#mediaviewer/File:Tissot_Jael_Smote_Sisera,_and_Slew_Him.jpg 

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