Has Not the Lord Gone Before You?
Last week I had the privilege of leading devotions for our Leadership Development Community that we’re a part of with Leadership Network.
In my time with them, I shared the story of Deborah from Judges 4. God has been challenging me with this passage for quite some time and the more I study it the more I’m challenged by the leadership that Deborah displays.
Let me set the stage for you:
- Deborah is prophet, priest & Judge of Israel
- Israel has been oppressed by the Canaanites for 20 years; likely most of Deborah’s life
- In verse 4 Deborah is going about her business as judge settling disputes
- Somewhere between verse 5 & 6, God speaks to Deborah and in verse 6 she sends for Barak, the leader of the Israelite army and tells him that God commands him to go get 10,000 men and go to battled with the Canaanites
- The crazy part about that is that upon further study, historians believe that the Israelites had no weapons. The Canaanites had stripped them of all of their weapons, so this was a massive test of faith for Deborah, Barak & the army of 10,000. Essentially they had no resources with which to get the job done!
What strikes me about this story is how confident Deborah was in what God told her to do. Verse 6 says:
She sent for Barak song of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.'”
Even later as they are about to go to battle (v 14), she reminds Barak of what God promised by saying:
“Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone before you?”
I love that! Even in the heat of the moment. Even when doubt could have totally wrecked her, she reminds Barak (and herself) of God’s promise.
Here’s what I think makes Deborah’s story so powerful:
- She knew God’s voice so well that when she cast vision for what she believed God had commanded them to do, she didn’t show a hint of doubt or hesitation
- She was obedient to what God called her to do
I don’t know about you, but being confident that I have heard God’s voice – especially in the big decisions as a leader – is one of the most difficult things for me to discern with certainty. I tend to qualify my statements with things like, “I think God is telling me” or “I believe this is what God is asking”. But Deborah’s example is one of assurance and confidence.
Not only did God deliver Sisera and the Canaanites into the Israelites hands as He promised, but the Israelites experienced freedom for 40 years! It’s unlikely that Deborah had any idea of how significant her faith and obedience would be.
What is God calling you to lead through that scares the pants off of you? Are you shrinking back from uncertainty or are you boldly and confidently moving forward?
Has not the Lord gone before you?