Judges 4 Commentary
It speaks of God’s generosity that Israel’s cry for help can be heard. We also know any such relief is short-lived as it functions like a bucket of water. It will not heal the leaky roof. The LORD does however help Israel and the human agent is the courageous leader in Deborah.
She is described as a prophet. The guess is that her influence was such that the military commander in Barak couldn’t do without her presence. She authoritatively delivers the word of the LORD to Barak. The instruction is to mobilize troops and march against a formidable opponent. Barak’s response is a combination of doubt and fear. Regardless of the negative environment, the LORD saves Israel.
Barak’s fear prevents him from the privilege of being the instrument of honor in the hands of the LORD. Accordingly, the enemy Sisera dies but not by the hand of Barak. The instrument used is another housewife with the courage that Barak lacked. This is for those who think muscles are an important armory in the battle of life. The LORD’s message to Joshua was simple: Be courageous, be strong, and don’t fear.
I can reflect on an opening that the LORD gave me to preach to a group of people a couple of weeks ago. Fear won the day. Sadness and a great sense of guilty still hang on my head. Barak isn’t alone.
The choice of Deborah as Israel’s fourth Judge and deliver is very interesting. Firstly, the physical battle is for men and not for women. It is a shame that men never came forward to do what men should do. Even when Barak was reminded of his duty, Deborah still provided the required courage and strength of character by her presence – the brains of the operation. Shame. Could it be that the cry for female leadership is in itself evidence of a vacuum that drunken and fearful men have created?
Secondly, and so far, Deborah’s revolution is the first by an officer of the Kingdom. Don’t be mistaken. The LORD may use elements and processes that are neither religious nor spiritual. The LORD may raise up ungodly political leaders to achieve His desired purposes. The first three Judges don’t appear to have thrown themselves on national duty by any direct word from the LORD, but it was there. The LORD is sovereign.
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