My wife will tell you that because I’m very introverted, I want her to go with me on anything requiring interaction with people. It’s something I’ve worked on over the years but many times I feel more comfortable if she’s there. The more people or the more likely they are strangers and the more likely I will feel uncomfortable. The strange thing is that this isn’t the case with children. Throw me in the midst of a bunch of kids and I’m fine. Maybe it’s because I’m still a big kid at heart. However, it’s not always possible and sometimes it’s not a good idea for my wife to be with me. Painful or frightening as these situations may be, I still need to go.
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.” – Judges 4:8, ESV
Deborah called for Barak because the Lord told her to do so. When Barak showed up, Deborah gave him his marching orders: he was to lead the army against Sisera and free Israel from oppression. I don’t know if Barak was afraid of the Canaanite army or the prowess of General Sisera, but whatever the situation, he turned to Deborah and said, “I’ll go if you will go.” This is not what you want to hear from the one chosen to lead your forces in battle. Deborah then pronounced that she would go but because Barak couldn’t do it without her, he would be denied the glory and fame God intended for him. Felling the great Sisera would not be by his hands. He would not be the great, victorious war hero.
The point of Deborah’s rebuke is that Barak couldn’t trust in God alone. Barak didn’t just need God; he needed Deborah as well. How many times do we make the same mistake in our lives? We have a sense from God of what we’re supposed to do. However, we’re hesitant as we wait for more confirmation or until we can find someone who can come alongside of us. We don’t trust that God can handle His part. We may not say it like that, but that’s what it boils down to logically. This isn’t to say that when we’re supposed to do something as a part of the team known as the Church we go and be a maverick. I’m talking about when God gives us clear direction and we hesitate because we aren’t sure. If He asks us to wait or asks us to be part of a larger team, that’s what we do. That’s not what Barak was being asked to do. He was given orders to move out, form up Israel’s army, and march on the Canaanites. He didn’t. He was afraid.
We’ve talked about fear and how it affects our decisions. Here’s another example of how it can impact us. Fear can cause us to distrust our Creator, Almighty God. This is why we must fight back our fears. If there is anyone we can trust, He is the Most High God. In fact, we can trust Him always, even when we don’t understand what is going on. His perfection, holiness, and power form the foundation for that trust. If He’s asking us to do something right now, we can do it. We only need Him. We don’t need the Deborahs of our lives to come alongside. Even if you’re not interested in personal glory, still trust that He has everything in hand. That’s the real reason to do so: because of our love and reverence for Him. We only need God. Let us not forget.