Have you ever experienced this cycle? We sin, suffer, repent, and are reconciled, only to fall back into sin again. This pattern is played out again and again in the Old Testament.
In Judges 4:1–3 we learn how the sons of Israel did evil (again) in the sight of the Lord, and how He sold them into the hand of Jaban, king of Canaan. They called out for salvation and the answer to their cry was, in part, Deborah—a prophetess and spokesperson for God (v. 4). She was a wife to Lappidoth and a judge for the people, the only female to hold this title.
Immediately, Deborah took charge of the situation. Her level of authority over Barak is surprising for the time. Nevertheless, she summoned him, and God used her to deliver His call to Barak to lead the army of Israel into battle (v. 6).
Barak’s response in verse 8 reminds us of the way most of us navigated junior high social engagements. “I’ll go if you go.” He hardly sounds heroic. However, while many commentators see his reaction as cowardly, others see other motivations, besides fear, for him to ask for Deborah’s presence on the battle front. The Septuagint (Greek OT) includes this phrase: “For I [Barak] never know what day the angel of the Lord will give me success.” So perhaps Barak wanted Deborah to provide continued counsel. Others believe Deborah represented to Barak and the people the very presence of God.
We can’t know for certain Barak’s motivation, but we do see from Deborah’s reply that she wasn’t impressed (v. 9). There would be consequences for his dependence. The glory for this victory would go to a woman.
>> Like the people of Israel, we sometimes get stuck in a cycle of sin. We fall back into the same pattern, never fully moving out of the past and into what God is calling us to do next. Ask God to lead you out of sin’s trap and into the next season.
Some of us feel chained to a pattern of sin that we can’t shake. God, You have delivered us from sin and death. Free us from these clinging vestiges of our old, dead selves. Lead us forward in unhampered obedience.