“And she (Deborah) said, ‘I will surely go with you….’”
“Ready When Called”
“In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian Sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow Thee.”
John Greenleaf Whittier
Have I heard and obeyed God’s call in my life?”
“Nothing is really lost by a life of sacrifice; everything is lost by failure to obey God’s call.”
Henry Parry Liddon
“No principle is more noble, and there is none more holy, than that of true obedience.”
Deborah, Israel’s judge, chosen by God to counsel and guide His children during a time of confusion and hopelessness, with a spirit of boldness proclaimed to Barak, Israel’s army warrior, “Has not God already delivered the enemy, Sisera, into your hands?” With this spirit of undaunting courage, Deborah not only reminded Barak and all the children of Israel that God was in charge, but her words of fearless bravery, underscored in her own mind, that God would prevail.
I think this is a critical point in our study about Deborah. For so often during tough times, we undermine our own spirit by dwelling on the negatives. With weariness on our lips we cry out, “Woe is me. There’s trouble everywhere.” Now I’m not going to judge you and say you have done this. Instead, I’ll admit, here and now, that I have more frequently than I’d like to admit, found myself reinforcing my negative thoughts by letting my heart and mind linger in the gloom of darkness.
This is not what Deborah did. First, she reminded Barak that God had promised deliverance. Victory was assured. Second, Barak said to Deborah, “I’ll go off to battle if you’ll go with me.” At this point, Deborah could really have chided Barak and told him to stand up against Sisera – this was a fight for the men.
But this wasn’t the spirit of Deborah. Instead, this valiant woman turned to Barak and said, “I will surely go with thee…and Deborah arose (Judges 4:9).
There are two critical words in this text for us today. Let’s begin by looking at the word, “surely.” Used in this context it means, “Let there be no doubt.” Deborah didn’t want Barak, or anyone else for that matter, to wonder about her devotion to God’s call and His cause. So she let Barak know, in no uncertain terms, that she was all in, body, heart and soul. Second, this text tells us, “Deborah arose.” The word “arose” doesn’t mean she stood up from sitting. It means she, “lifted up,” she “strengthened,” she “remained up.” If we look at the phrase, “Deborah arose, and went with Barak,” in my mind’s eye I imagine her standing tall by Barak’s side, providing strength and courage. Can’t you see the children of Israel watching as those two leaders for God walked together to Kedesh. In Judges 4:10 we are told, “Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with 10,000 men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.” Deborah endured all through this conflict. Called by God she surely, without a doubt, stood tall for the God who was leading her life.
There is a beautiful hymn, written by Cecil Frances Alexander, who was born in Dublin, Ireland. She was a poet and hymn writer who began writing verse as a child. Married to an Anglican clergyman, she dedicated much of her life, as well as the proceeds from her work, to charitable organizations which benefited deaf children. Her devoted life, following the call of God, may have been the impetus behind our “Affirmation” today which is the words she penned to the beautiful hymn, “Jesus Calls Us.”
Like Deborah, may you and I, when called of God say, “Surely I will go,” and may we immediately arise in strength, obedience and with endurance to face what God has planned for our lives.
“It is a vain thought to flee from the work that God appoints us, for the sake of finding a greater blessing, instead of seeking it where alone if is to be found-in loving obedience.”
“Jesus calls us; o’er the tumult of our life’s wild, restless sea,
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth, saying ‘Christian, follow me,’
Jesus calls us from the worship of the vain world’s golden store,
From each idol that would keep us, saying, ‘Christian, love Me more.’
“In our joys and in our sorrows,
Days of toil and hours of ease,
Still He calls, in cares and pleasures, ‘Christian, love Me more than these.’
Jesus calls us! By Thy mercies,
Saviour, may we hear Thy call,
Give our hearts to Thy obedience, serve and love
Thee best of all.”
Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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