Terms of Engagement

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Hebrews 11:32-34

Barak was one of those “if-then” people. Truth be known, so am I. When asked by Deborah to take on Sisera with his 900 iron chariots, he said, ”I will if you go with me.” This position was understandable to me since Deborah was judging Israel at the time and was a prophetess. Some might say it wasn’t a good look. I think not. Since Sisera severely oppressed Israel for 20 years, it makes good sense that Barak wanted all hands on deck, especially someone with a direct pipeline to God.

The sons of Israel cried to the Lord; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years. Judges 4:3

Rarely do you find someone willing to do something without conditions. If certain terms are met, they’ll do it. Then after what is asked is accomplished, their job is done. So the decision to participate is both conditional and provisional. This to me is good. You know where you stand, if your volunteer has proven trustworthy.

Deborah agreed but warned Barak that he would not have the honor of taking out Sisera. A woman would deliver his head instead. He apparently didn’t care, as long as Deborah was with him. As far as can be seen in the account of Barak’s actions, he energetically and faithfully followed through (with the help of others) in his mission against Sisera.

Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up with him; Deborah also went up with him. Judges 4:1

And yes, Sisera singlehandedly fell to Jael, a woman, who hatched a shrewd plan and bravely carried it out.

“Most blessed of women is Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite;
Most blessed is she of women in the tent.
“He asked for water and she gave him milk;
In a magnificent bowl she brought him curds.
“She reached out her hand for the tent peg,
And her right hand for the workmen’s hammer.
Then she struck Sisera, she smashed his head;
And she shattered and pierced his temple.
Judges 5:24-25

From a leadership standpoint, you should appreciate faithful people who are willing to set the terms of engagement, and then act. On the other hand, there are those who talk a good game but never get into it, like the tribes of Reuben, Gilead, Dan and Asher. They verbalized ”great resolve” and ”searchings of heart“ but were no shows when the trumpet sounded.

Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great resolves of heart.
“Why did you sit among the sheepfolds,
To hear the piping for the flocks?
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great searchings of heart.
“Gilead remained across the Jordan;
And why did Dan stay in ships?
Asher sat at the seashore,
And remained by its landings.”
Judges 5:15-17

Barak made the Hall of Faith by faithfully keeping his commitment. He just wanted access to a word from the Lord and senior management. A shout out was enough, and he got it.

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. Been studying the Word for 40 years and counting.
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