Go! – Part 1
“Barak said to [Deborah], ‘If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.’” (Judges 4:8 NIV)
God’s people had been under the harsh rule of one of the Canaanite kings for twenty years, the people had cried out to God, and God had raised up a judge by the name of Deborah to lead the people. God’s Word came through Deborah, commissioning an Israelite by the name of Barak to lead ten thousand men out to battle, with the promise that God would rout the enemy before them. You would have thought that with this word of prophecy, Barak would have jumped at the chance to do this exploit for God and for his people, and that he would have said, “I’m ready! Let’s get on with this!” But, no! Instead, Barak said to Deborah, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” Now there’s a great man of faith, right? He had grown afraid and had gotten dependent on the leader. Sadly, she had become a crutch to him, and instead of trusting God, he was leaning on the arm of flesh.
That can happen to you and to me, when we say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13), but Brother So-and-So, you’ve got to come with me!” And the crutch doesn’t even have to be a person. In fact, there are all kinds of crutches. There’s the crutch of culture, the crutch of tradition, the crutch of politics, and the crutch of “how we used to do things when I was growing up,” to name a few. The bottom line is that instead of total trust, sometimes we have only half-trust—just like Barak.
Here’s the good news, though. Barak was a man of God, and God did end up using him, despite how weak and afraid he could be. Deborah could have said, “What? I just told you the word of the Lord, and you’re telling me that you won’t go unless I go? God, give me another name! I’ve got to choose someone else!” No, she didn’t do that. Instead, she said, “Certainly I will go with you.” That’s how merciful God is!
Now, there was loss that came through Barak’s unbelief, for Deborah told him that because of the course he was taking, the Lord would deliver the pagan king into her hands rather than into the hands of Barak. But the fact remains that Barak still had an opportunity to be used by God despite his lack of trust in God’s word.
So if you are someone who started out believing in God but you found yourself a little weak along the way, and you have stumbled as a result, this is a story to encourage you. Barak was just the way we are. Think of the negative episodes over the course of our lives—the struggles and the mistakes, to the point of our being totally off the wall at times; yet God doesn’t throw us away! Instead, God says to us, as Deborah said to Barak, “I’ll work with you!”
Let that be of encouragement to us today!
To be continued…
Read Judges 4:1-9.