We can learn a lot from the story we have been studying . . . we can learn from the children of Israel, and from Barak, and from Deborah.
Let's dive in!
Living according to what is right in our own eyes means that we will make loads more mistakes. Just like the children of Israel, who kept running after false gods and making poor decisions, we will end up in bondage. We may not have to worry about a general with nine hundred chariots, but we sure as the world will end up in bondage to our sins, and feeling miserable. We need to be quick to respond to God's discipline, and repent from our hearts.
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel
you with my loving eye on you. (Psalm 32:8)
The simple cry of desperation from a human soul (like when the children of Israel cried out to God) really grabs God's attention -- we need to remember when we have made some poor choices, or when we're just overwhelmed, we can humbly call out to Him. We can be in circumstances and situations that we seek deliverance from: our jobs, our financial worries, our health, or even people that are difficult to deal with. We should also daily cry out to Him for forgiveness and deliverance from our sins; whether they are destructive habits, bad attitudes, hurtful words we've sent flying, or ungodly behavior. He will hear our cry and deliver us.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17)God can use the most unlikely people to do His purposes; it may be that they are used to resist evil and to restore righteousness -- make certain that you are always available to Him. Barak wasn't even from the same area of the country that Deborah was residing in, but He chose him to do the job. He was reluctant and lacking in faith, but God still used Barak to accomplish His purpose. Just one person can inspire others to face their enemies and resist bondage, to own up to their sin and ask for deliverance.
God always has a specific plan for victory; it's up to us to listen carefully and follow with passion and determination. Oh, so often we think to ourselves that we have a better plan. Don't we? Yep, if we're honest about it, it's true. God's way may seem totally impossible. Totally illogical. But don't forget His words:
"My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)God was ready to empower Barak so that he could have won the battle on his own. He didn't really need Deborah; he only needed to trust the Lord, for He had promised victory. He wasn't hearing God clearly, as Deborah was. If he had trusted in God's strength . . . . but then we wouldn't have the story of Jael to study later, right? (Grin)
When God promises us, and when He goes with us, who can stand against us? No one!
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)Deborah and Barak set a wonderful example of how we can give praise to God when He delivers on His promises. The whole of chapter 5 of Judges rings with praise to Him. It's a great example of how we should celebrate and give thanks for the victories that God gives us. In our lives, today, He will give us the victory over sin and over our troubles:
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:57)Deborah heard God clearly -- this gave her confidence and peace, and these can be ours, too. When we ask the Spirit to help us, we can hear God's voice apart from the "background noise" of our lives. In our prayer times, we need to focus on Him. Yes, it's good to praise Him, and to ask Him for the desires of our hearts; but take time to "be still" and listen for Him.
When we follow these guidelines, we can experience victory!
Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will praise the LORD, the God of Israel, in song. (Judges 5:3)