We join our heroine in progress: Deborah gives the military commander, Barak, the word of the Lord: Prepare for battle, take 10,000 men and He will give you the win. Now, this battle is a head-to-head with Sisera and his 900 chariots. It’s a battle with the people of Canaan and their leader – Jabin – who has cruelly oppressed Israel for 20 years (Judges 4:3). You know WHY the oppression has been going on for two decades? Because the soldiers and the leaders are scared spitless of conflict. We’ll talk in a day or so about their shockingly spineless condition and their refusal to ever under any circumstances, you know, fight – but for today, just trust me: their courage shook like a bowl full of jelly.
Barak immediately says to Deborah, “Ten thousand men, huh? Great, but I’m not going unless YOU go!” Now either Barak really is a fraidy cat of epic proportions, or this is a “put up or shut up” kind of challenge he’s issued. “God spoke, huh? Okaaaay, how bout you go first, D?” I’m sure he also wanted the assurance of having the prophet and judge along for the ride, but I suspect something else is going on under the surface. And, oh man, how I love dear Deborah’s response here: “She said, ‘Of course I’ll go with you. But understand with an attitude like that, there’ll be no glory in it for you. God will use a woman’s hand to take care of Sisera.” (verse 9-10) No hesitation, no stop-and-pray, no shaking or quaking in her sandals…this woman is ready to see the heat of battle. She’s built a great office under that palm tree – but something tells me she’s been longing to see God in action and she knows that His real power is shown in places that aren’t nearly as safe as the the sweet spot beneath the cool tree. I love her immediate YES. I love her willingness to leave a great gig for one that is going to be tense and bloody. Brilliant.
In the movie, Beauty and the Beast, the crowd of villagers gathers to go after the Beast and their fearless leader, Gaston, utters one of my all-time favorite cinematic lines: “Light your torch, mount your horse, screw your courage to the sticking place….”
Maybe it’s time I find my courage and introduce it firmly to the sticking place. Maybe it’s time I listen to God and believe Him….believe that if He’s promised the battle, then it’s already mine. Maybe it’s time to show up.
Praise the Lord and here we go,