Day 29

Deborah and Barak

Judges 4:1-24, Judges 5:1-31, Deuteronomy 20:1-4

BY Melanie Rainer

About ten years ago, my husband and I, newly married and eager to serve, volunteered to teach the preschoolers at our little church. Most Sundays were a blur of crayons and goldfish crackers, and our primary goal was for each child to take home a scribbled-on coloring sheet as proof that we tried to teach them something about Jesus.

But I remember one Sunday morning, we arrived to teach a lesson plan about Deborah, Barak, and Jael. I skimmed the story and shot a worried glance at my husband. We were supposed to teach this story? About a woman who drives a tent peg through the head of a military leader? To three-and-four-year olds? I had not had enough coffee for that.

I actually don’t remember what we did that day in class, but I don’t think we read the kids that part of the story. It’s the part of the story that most of us remember, because it’s wild and gruesome, though full of strong women. All of that is true, of course, but at its heart, the story of Deborah and Barak and Jael and Sisera is about God and having confidence in Him.

A lot can be said and unpacked about Barak and his trepidation, the seemingly impossible battle he faced, and how his attitude contrasted with Deborah’s, and later Jael’s. But this story offers us more than a study of human weakness overwhelmed by the glory and power of God; it offers us a picture of a woman, strong and wise, counted upon by the whole nation of Israel and chosen by God, who walked in obedience to Yahweh.

Deborah heard from God, shared His Word with Barak, and supported Barak as he reluctantly followed God’s order. Deborah rebuked him when necessary but still went with him into battle. And then, after the victory against Sisera’s army and Sisera’s gruesome death at the hands of Jael, Deborah and Barak sang of praise.

Their song is a rich poem, full of beauty and truth and focused on the glory of God—how He delivered His people and destroyed His enemies. Deborah was a woman inspired by God’s Word and His faithfulness to her people. She was unafraid because she knew that come what may, our God fights for those who trust in Him (Deuteronomy 20:3–4). May God’s Word so fuel us to stand for His truth, to support our brothers and sisters in faith, and to sing His glory for the rest of our earthly lives.

Post Comments (32)

32 thoughts on "Deborah and Barak"

  1. Angie says:

    I want to give Barak a little grace. God called him – God doesn’t make mistakes. Deborah, as a judge, was known for her wisdom. She was known for her faith. Barak seemed to need the assurance of Deborah to obey his call. Barak was the man God called to the job. Deborah was the woman He allowed to assure and guide him.

    My husband often does projects around the house. When we were first married, he did not have any confidence in himself or his ability to do what he does today. God uses us, as a team. I suggest something. He admits he thought the same but, was unsure. The seed of confidence is born and as time and experiences have gone by, he has grown.

    What if, ladies, in our own way we would be used by God to offer assurance or guidance to those who want to follow the call but are unsure or afraid? It might be a wife nurturing her husband’s faith to step out. It could be a mother to a child, or one woman to another. Our relationship with God must be the foundation. Never working out of any “strength” we perceive ourselves to have but always, only, according to His wisdom and grace. Jesus as our guide and friend, reaching out. So that all glory, honor, and praise are His.

    1. Jamie Chapman says:

      Love this Angie. What a new perspective

  2. Rachiel Soliz says:

    May I have the faith Deborah had!

  3. Roxane Richardson says:

    Deborah, was a judge during her time. She held a very influential position that only man could hold. It meant that man came to her whenever there was a problem. What an important role to hold as a woman and she did it with righteousness and excellence. When Barak did not want to do want he was commanded when he was asked to go to war with Sisera. Deborah said I will go with you. Not thinking of the ramifications, Deborah decided to stand by Barak`s side in battle. This also demonstrates her level of faith as well. As a woman we can only pray to have faith like Deborah,

  4. Karen Lockwood says:

    Kristen, I volunteer in a faith-based pregnancy center. We believe that it is our God-given responsibility to show the love of Jesus to each client who comes through our doors. Jesus loves the woman, not just her baby. We go through a publication that shows fetal development, and then describes what each type of abortion entails. Then we tell them about the option of making a plan of adoption. We do free pregnancy tests and also offer ultrasounds. The important thing here is to give her hope, not to scare her or intimidate her. These women who are considering abortion are in crisis & many times feel that is their only option. There is more that we offer to help them have support during the pregnancy and to get what they need for their baby. We also offer a program called “Forgiven and Set Free”, which is a Bible based small group study, led by women who have been trained, for women who have had abortions. We can help women choose life without intimidating them. I think that those who carry these signs to try to scare women into not having an abortion, or yell at them when they are going into a clinic, or worse, those who bomb abortion clinics are doing more harm than good. Are they really representing Jesus and what He teaches us?

  5. TM says:

    Janice, as an American expat who lived overseas for eight years, I empathize with your overwhelming circumstances. When I look back at those years (in three different countries), I am overwhelmed, but this time in the way God provided, protected, and proved His sovereignty in so many ways for each member of our family. And because I was so out of my element, I knew the only way to overcome my fears and uncertainties was to do a lot of praying—especially when I drove and had to adhere to so many unfamiliar cultural expectations. Also, the worship and worshippers in our international churches were extremely helpful and comforting to us. I pray God will provide equally rich experiences for you.

  6. Monica Davis says:

    I love this story of strong women in the Bible! Strong because they walked in God’s will beside the men. Not strong because they put men down! God is truly an equal opportunity god!

  7. Lauree A Kelly says:

    I have three daughters and a granddaughter. My prayer is that they are strong, confident, compassionate women that have a servants heart for God. My prayer is that they are independent and can take care of themselves, but that they always depend on God first as He is the one true love that will never leave them, will always defend them, will always steer them on the path they need to be on and will love them unconditionally. Today, this writing and the strength of the women is very important but, the most important lesson is that God will always defend us and He will always be there when we do His will. Blessed Assurance is one of my favorite hymns because we are praising our Savior all the day long, just as the women in today’s’ reading.

  8. Melissa Graves says:

    Deborah and Jael remind me of characters you might find in The Lord of the Rings or something comparable. They displayed incredible strength in the face of danger and overwhelming odds, but with a clear distinction…their strength was in the Lord and their trust was completely in Him and His faithfulness to His word.

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