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Barak--Army Commander

Scripture reading: Judges 4:3-23

Barak, whose name means “Lightning,” was the commander of the Israelite army was persuaded by Deborah, the fourth Judge of Israel to attack the Canaanites who had been persecuting the Israelites’ and were about to attack them with chariots, the armored tank warfare of the day.

Barak, who through this victorious battle is listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrew 11:32 amongst great men of faith. This escapade is a classic study in the wisdom of a man’s acknowledgment of the potential power of a woman’s contribution to a goal. Many men are recorded in history claiming great achievements and accolades, yet if the full truth be known, it was often the women by their side that provided the wisdom to achieve the victory.

Because of Deborah’s godly and skillful leadership traits, Barak (as commander of Israel’s armies) would not go into this battle without her, even when told that he would not get full honor for the victory. Jud.4:8, 9 Barak’s hesitation to go to battle without Deborah showed a lack of trust in the Lord. Consequently, the honor of victory over Sisera, according to Deborah’s prophetic word, would go to a woman who killed the enemy commander Sisera.

Was Barak cowardly or just in need of support? We don’t know Barak’s character, but we see the character of a great leader in Deborah, who took charge as God directed. Deborah told Barak that God would be with him in battle, but that was not enough for Barak. He wanted Deborah to go with him. Barak’s request shows that at heart he trusted human strength more than God’s promise. A person of real faith steps out at God’s command, even if he or she must do so alone. Judges 4:6 Nonetheless, Barak is mentioned as one of the heroes of faith Heb.11:32. Barak had faith in the prophet and asked her for support, she obliged and together the victory was realized, and God was given the glory.

Faith sees beyond trials and obstacles, knowing that God is sovereign over such and uses them to shape us and strengthen us for future battles. Faith also relies on an ever-present God to bring the necessary answer and supply the present need.

Pastor Greg Volich


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