The Bible gives many lessons to us through the lives of the people recorded in its pages. All of them give us lessons on faith, on obedience to God, and on holding on to His promises. It will do us well to take a closer look at the lives of the men and women of God in the Bible.
For now, we will take a look at two figures in the book of Judges: Deborah the prophetess, and Barak. Their interactions with each other give to us very important lessons we can apply in our lives today as we follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
Deborah and Barak
Deborah and Barak are first seen in Judges 4. Deborah was the appointed judge over Israel when God sold the nation to Jabin, the king of Canaan, for doing evil in His sight. Israel was held under Jabin's oppression for twenty years by that time.
Barak, on the other hand, was a man whom God had commanded to lead an army against Sisera, Jabin's commander. Deborah called him to task, but his response revealed a man of weak character:
"...And Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!"" ((Judges 4:8)
To make the long story short, Deborah accommodated Barak's request but declared that the glory meant for him will be given to someone else - a woman. Soon enough, a woman named Jael will deliver the finishing blow to Sisera's head, after Barak successfully routs him.
Lessons to learn
So what are the things that we can learn from their account? For sake of brevity we will only tackle a few believed to be key.
1) Women can be in Godly leadership
So many Christians today debate the legitimacy of women in church leadership. Well, if God appointed Deborah, a woman, to judge Israel, who is there to say that God does not approve of women in leadership?
Deborah wasn't a backstage kind of leader. She was a married woman whom God raised up to be a prophet who would call out men such as Barak to stand up and take their place in God's plans. God used her as His very mouth for that period of time.
2) We can forfeit what God has prepared for us
Let's not make the wrong decision to ignore or reject what God wants us to do. Barak effectively forfeited the honor that God originally intended for him: the honor of leading the charge against Israel's oppressor. While he still gave some effort to it, Deborah was the one who led the charge.
Friends, let us do our very best to say "yes" to God's call with no wavering or doubting. Barak cowered from the responsibility, and so God gave the honor to someone else: Jael, Heber's wife.
3) Men and women can work together for God, regardless of roles
So many Christians make the wrong assumption that men will always be the ones on the pulpit, while the women will always be the ones on the kitchen. Seriously, that is so wrong.
In Judges 4 we see that Deborah was the prophet, Barak was the head of the troops, and Jael, who happened to be just at home when Sisera ran to her home, was the one who will deliver the finishing blow to his head.
From their experience we can see that God can assign roles according to His pleasure. We must not filter His plans and ways through a funnel called "human ideas." God Himself tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9,
""For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says 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."