In the last few days, I spent several hours studying the book of Judges. Though some dub this to be a tough book of the Bible, I am often fascinated by the story of Deborah and Barak (Judges: 4).
Based on many Bible studies and discussions focused on this chapter, I am led to believe that most people do not think well of Barak. I have heard him called a coward who depended on Deborah, a weasel, a man without faith…and, etc. Yet, it has always been very difficult for me to hold these perceptions of Barak. I simple see him as a man of valor (Hebrews 11:32) , who humbly knew that Deborah was led by the direction, confidence, and protection of God. This acceptance and knowledge led him to surely know that without God’s guidance, his attempt to win this battle on his own would have been futile.
As a mother coupled with business owner, and as I continued to read this chapter, the thought of how Deborah balanced her responsibilities, was placed on my heart. Yet, nothing about her personal life was mentioned. All we know is that God chose her to fulfill this mission of saving his people from Sisera.
Deborah and Barak, despite their gender differences, worked as a team to carry out the task that God placed before them. They were not caught up with who is better. Barak acknowledged that he must wait for Deborah, and Deborah knew of her significant role in the process. She knew this, because she listened to God.
Consistent service to God’s kingdom does not seldom place emphasis on the task or how well it is done; its only reliance is on our attitude toward the mission. Deborah won, but instead of praising herself, she sung a praise to the Most High! Our God! When our only focus is on the work and our performance, burnout is often the tail.
My advice to you is that when you believe that God has given you a new project, it is important to simply listen, while continuing to lay focus only on Him. With this discipline there’s less of a chance for incompleteness and ineffectiveness. Always, keep your eyes only on Him! He is the Prize!
Rev. M. Charlotte Oliver