If you held a contest to choose a cruel, mean, nasty king, Jabin, king of Canaan would win. He conquered our land and made us slaves.
Sure, we the people of Israel had disobeyed God big time and deserved to be slaves, but Jabin took his job too far. Jabin had nine hundred chariots made of strong iron and evil soldiers who loved to torture any Israelite at any time.
I want you to know God never left us. The Lord chose me to judge the people while He waited and waited for the Israelites to cry out for help.
Each day I sat under a palm tree in the mountains of Ephraim and answered questions, listened to problems, and made judgments for the people of Israel. God always told me what to say.
After twenty years of slavery, harsh work, beatings, lack of food or water the Israelites finally decided to ask God for help. I had no idea why we waited so long.
One morning, God said, "I will deliver the children of Israel from wicked King Jabin. Send for commander Barak from the tribe of Naphtali."
The next day Barak walked up the mountain path to meet me. "Deborah, do you have a message for me?"
"Yes, Barak. The Lord commands our army to go to Mount Tabor. Take ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and Zebulun with you. There you'll find Sisera, commander of Jabin's army. He'll have iron chariots and a great army down at the River Kishon. The Lord will help you conquer Sisera's army."
He looked at the ground and swooshed his foot in the dirt. Before King Jabin captured our people and forced us into slavery, Barak had been a great commander. He looked at me and shook his head. "I--"
Barak sighed. "Deborah, what you ask, what the Lord asks is great. If you'll go with me, then I will lead this battle." His shoulders drooped low.
Unbelievable. One of our best commanders didn't believe the Lord would help him slam our enemy. Didn't he remember the stories our father's told us, how God conquered Jericho by knocking down the city walls, how the Lord created the perfect sneak attack in the battle of Ai, and all the other great battles God won for us? What was the matter with him?
Barak pushed his fingers through his hair and looked over the mountainside at the valley below. "If you won't go with me, then I won't lead our men into a possible losing battle."
Losing battle? No way. God would be with him--how could Barak speak such words--he--he'd win this battle because God would fight for him!
I rolled my eyes and huffed. "Fine. I'll go. The Lord would have walked with you every step of the way and showed you His great power. But no. You want a woman to go with you."
Barak held his hands toward me as if pleading. "I--you must try to understand. I don't need a woman with me to fight the battle, I need you. God speaks to you. With a prophetess by my side, I'll know what to do against the mighty Sisera."
I rolled my eyes. "Face it, Barak. You made a big mistake. God led Joshua, Ehud, and countless other Israelites into battle and delivered the victory. You want God plus a prophetess."
He stood taller and looked into my eyes. "Will you go?"
"Yes. But know this, Barak, the Lord won't give you the victory. He'll give the conquest of Jabin's commander, Sisera, to a woman. Everyone will hear the words: 'A woman killed the mighty commander, Sisera.'"
I stood to walk with him down the mountain.
Disappointed in him.
Confident God would bring the victory anyway.
The battle against wicked kind Jabin continues next time.
1. What was Deborah's job?
2. Who was the wicked King Jabin?
3. Why were the Israelites his slaves?
4. Who was Sisera?
5. Why was commander Barak afraid to fight Sisera?
6. What did Barak ask Deborah to do?
7. Why was Deborah disappointed?