Deborah: Power to act

Deborah: Power to act

The story of Deborah – prophetess and judge in Israel – is a powerful example of how faith in action works!

4 min ·

Have you ever found yourself in a daunting situation? Maybe you knew that you had to say or do something that wasn’t so easy? Often, we can freeze at times like these. A whole slew of things can be holding us back: thoughts of inferiority, fear of what others think of us, doubt, pride, laziness, even stubborn unwillingness. Our initial reaction is most often to “shrink back” or find a “way out.”

But, God has a much better plan and hope for us! Just consider the story of Barak and Deborah:

A command from the Lord

Deborah was a leader, a judge, and a prophetess in Israel – one to whom God could reveal His secrets. (Amos 3:7) God used her to communicate His will to the people of Israel. You can read the full story about her in Judges 4-5.

When Deborah received instruction from God, she moved to act on it. She didn’t sit weighing the pros and cons, thinking of all the things that could go wrong, or doubting her ability to do what He said. If God said it needed to be done, that was enough for her. Her faith in Him gave her the power to act. Everything that was necessary to accomplish His will she would receive from Him.

One day, Deborah received clear directions from the Lord. She was to send for a man named Barak, and tell him that the Lord God commanded him to take 10,000 men and go up to Mount Tabor. There, God would help Barak and the Israelites defeat Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army who had been oppressing Israel for years. Because of his relentless oppression, the Israelites had cried out to God for help, and this was God’s plan to defeat him, once and for all.

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The Lord is with you: Are you willing?

The fact that Sisera had 900 chariots, each fitted with iron, meant nothing to God. He was ready and willing to give Israel the upper hand against the commander and his armies. But, Barak was less than willing to lead the army of Israel on his own. He replied to Deborah, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

Of course Deborah went. She was zealous to do as the Lord commanded! On the day of the battle she said, “This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” 

Imagine an attitude of mind like that! Whereas Barak was too afraid to go to battle without her, Deborah was full of faith that God would give Israel the victory. She believed God’s Word, and acted according to what He had spoken.

Faith leads to crushing victory!

Israel won a crushing victory against their enemies that day. Then there was peace in Israel for 40 years. How different things might have been if Deborah was not willing to go into battle! Because of her faithfulness and zeal – her power to act – God’s will was accomplished and Israel was liberated.

The battle today

It is entirely possible for us to have the same spirit that Deborah had – to be full of faith and zeal in God! All those “iron chariots” that hold us back from action – thoughts of inferiority, fear of what others think of us, doubt, pride, laziness, even stubborn unwillingness, etc. – they are nothing to God! Do we take God at His Word and storm against the enemies we see in our lives? These enemies aren’t ruthless commanders; God is trying to free us out from something quite different in our time: things like envy, sluggishness, doubt, pride, and impurity. God wants to free us out from sin!

Also read: Can we really become free from sin?

Let’s have the spirit of Deborah when we see what needs to be done in our lives! Let’s not draw back when we see these enemies, or when we come into a difficult situation! Let’s fill ourselves with the spirit of faith that can be found in God’s Word. Let’s be quick to carry out what God’s Word says and what His Spirit works in us. Then we too will be victorious.

“For we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:39

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.