Judges 4:8 Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”
This verse brings to mind the scene from the 1997 Titanic movie where Rose exclaims to Jack – “If you jump, I jump!”, when the ship was sinking. But while the film was romanticised with these star-crossed lovers not being able to spend the rest of their lives together, this biblical story with Barak and Deborah is something else altogether.
Barak was tasked to take 10,000 men to fight Sisera. The divine instructions came through Deborah who was a prophetess and also the judge over Israel at that time. Instead of a clear “yes”, Barak peppered his statement with an “if-you-will-then-i-will” statement, to which Deborah replied, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.”
True enough, while God gave the enemy troops into Barak’s hands, the enemy’s chieftain Sisera was killed by a woman named Jael. She invited Sisera into her tent, let him rest and sleep, and then killed him by driving a peg into his temple.
What issue was God addressing through this story for our learning purpose?
Having a complete trust in God.
As a commander, Barak would have known by then, that if God gave the instructions, all he had to do was to follow through and victory would ensue. However, Barak’s point of getting Deborah into battle with him was not a “Titanic” moment for us to appreciate, but that of her being his “security blanket”. In his mind, God would protect Deborah as Israel’s judge at all costs and in so doing, extend that same divine protection to him and his army as well. In other words, trusting that God would secure the victory was all but lip-service served on a faithless platter of disguised dependence; Barak did not trust God for himself, he trusted Deborah’s presence.
The end result was that Jael, an unknown obscure woman, got the glory of the victory when she sealed Sisera’s fate through the peg in his temple. Barak may have routed the enemy army, but Jael was the one known throughout Israel to kill their general.
What or who is your security blanket? Is your trust vested in an individual, an institution, a movement, or is it in the living God? We need to revisit this important facet of our faith attribute our trust correctly.