Calling Barak

If the book of Judges were rendered as a massive mural, the careful observer would find it strangely incomplete. Two elements that should have been prominent in the life of the Israelites are noticeably absent.
  • The Tabernacle so carefully constructed during the dessert wanderings is totally missing. This, despite that fact that prior to entering the promised land, it was the constant center of the Israelite religious and social existence.
  • The Priesthood established to teach and interpret the law for the spiritual and social good of the people is almost unmentioned. The priests were specifically tasked as arbiters among the people.
These elements are missing by design of the author. They were so neglected in the life of the Israelites that they had become invisible in daily life. Their absence proves the authors opening charge against God’s people. “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel … they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the Lord’s commands.” Judges 2:10 & 17
When we read in Judges 4 that “Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time … and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided,” it is further evidence that all was not spiritually right in Israel. This casts no shadow on Deborah. She was undoubtedly God’s messenger, doing God’s will and she proved a capable leader. It was just simply not the plan that God had laid down for his people.
God used Deborah to call Barak as Israel’s military deliverer. Despite a direct command from God, Barak refused to go to war unless Deborah accompanied him. Deborah’s response is telling,“I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman.”Judges 4:9
Women have proven themselves extraordinary leaders in all facets of life and should be recognized and rewarded accordingly. And yet … God still calls men to take the lead in the spiritual life of their homes and churches. (Ephesians 5:22-32; I Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:6-10, I Peter 5:1-3)