Whose glory? The story of Deborah and Barak
Today’s reading: Judges 3:31-6:40
My selection: Judges 4:7-9
7 And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?” 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.” 9 And she said, “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.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.
My reflections: This is a fascinating and, to me, humorous interchange between a prophetess and judge, Deborah, and her chosen military commander, Barak. There is also a surprise ending to the story.
Deborah asked Barak to lead the army of Israel against the latest oppressors, the Canaanites. He agreed to go on the condition that she would go along to the battle with him. Deborah agreed to accompany Barak but she warned him that, although he was the commander and there would be victory, it would not result in his glory. She went on to accurately prophesy that the enemy general would be captured by a woman. This all occurs in the subsequent rather gruesome account.
My challenge: Would you take a great risk knowing there was nothing in it for you? Do you serve God with no thought for your own glory?
Do not ask “what’s in it for me?” Serve God today seeking His glory alone.
PS. Here is the surprise ending to this story. Barak did eventually receive glory for his accomplishment, in that, he was remembered for his faith in Hebrews 11:32. Long after Barak’s death, God listed him among the faithful saints of old, despite Deborah’s prophecy that he would not be recognized. God has the last word on who gets glory. Faith is recognized and rewarded by the Lord, even if not during one’s own lifetime.
Tomorrow’s reading: Judges 7:1-8:35