Trust comes hardest when we feel our lives or livelihood is threatened. I like to think I’m a risk taker, that I’d willingly go wherever and whenever God leads, but sometimes I struggle simply sharing my faith with a neighbor or friend or speaking truth when others oppose it.
Needless to say, if I’d been Barak, the Ancient Hebrew assigned to conquer the mighty nation that had been tormenting my people for two decades, I’d be nervous.
You may be familiar with the story. Barak lived during the time of judges. This was a dark period for the Israelites, characterized by rampant rebellion against God and His ways. The people followed a sadly predictable cycle. They’d rebel against God and would turn to idol worship and thus would step out from under His protective care. Vicious armies would attack and oppress them, sometimes to the point of starvation. They’d cry out to God for mercy, He’d hear and respond and would raise up a liberator to defeat their enemies and set them free.
When we reach Judges four, the chapter in which Barak’s story is found, the people had been “ruthlessly” oppressed by a Canaanite king for twenty years. Though Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly how the Israelites suffered, we know the Canaanites were powerful, cruel, and maintained a 900-iron-chariot army. Consider the psychological strain of living under such complete domination for twenty years. The Israelites had probably developed a victim’s mentality that led them to believe they were hopelessly defeated.
But when they cried out to God, He responded and commanded a man named Barak, God’s chosen warrior, to rise up in His people’s defense.
I’m not surprised Barak struggled to obey. We’re not told whether or not he had military training or experience. All we know is that God called him to lead His army against the pagan nation Barak and the other Israelites greatly feared.
Barak’s response, when Deborah, God’s prophet, told him his assignment: “Fine. I’ll go, but only if you go with me” (Judges 4:8, paraphrased). Some suggest he was merely looking for support, but God had already taken care of that. He wasn’t sending Barak to war alone; 10,000 men were to fight alongside him.
Barak wanted Deborah, Israel’s judge and a well-respected and trusted prophet, to go with him. Could it be that Barak’s trust rested more in Deborah, God’s prophet, than in the Almighty Himself?
Sometimes it’s easier to trust something tangible, like a person or our job, rather than an unseen God. When that happens, it’s time to pause and remember who God is—His power, love, and faithfulness. The same God that brought victory to Barak, Deborah, and their men will do the same for us. In Him, we can move from fear to faith.
Let’s talk about this! When have you found it most difficult to obey God? What’s helped you move forward in courage during those times? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or connect and engage with me on Facebook, because we can all learn from and encourage one another!
Every feel uncertain as to precisely what God is asking you to do? If so, then Susan Aken’s post on Wholly Loved’s website Monday and my video on our Facebook page yesterday may encourage you. You can find it HERE (scroll down a bit).
In Susan’s post, she stresses the importance, when discerning God’s will, of reading and meditating on Scripture. If that overwhelms you, I encourage you to read my latest Crosswalk article where I share 10 Steps to Interpreting Scripture.
And finally, be on the lookout for Wholly Loved’s FREE 7-week video titled Becoming His Princess, releasing this spring! With weekly video components, group discussion questions, and at-home lessons designed to help you walk in the confidence and freedom available in Christ. Sign up for Wholly Loved’s quarterly newsletter to receive news of our release, upcoming events, and more. You can do so HERE.