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Posts tagged ‘Barak’

Even the Weakest Can Still Build for Eternity.


But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . Matthew 6:20

Even the weakest Christian can build a lasting superstructure. You may say, “Well now, look here, I am not able to do this or that, and I just feel I must be the weakest Christian that ever lived.” It is worth remembering the Old Testament character Barak.

Barak was the equivalent of an Israeli general in the days of Judges. Deborah, a judge in Israel during that period, was told by the Lord that the time had come to defeat the enemy. So she turned to Barak and said, “Take ten thousand of your men and meet on Mount Nebo, and the Lord is going to deliver the enemy into your hand.”

Barak said, “No, I just do not think I want to do that. I’m not ready.” But then he said, “Deborah, if you’ll go with me, I’ll go.”

She said, “Well, now, just a minute; if I go, you are not going to get any glory; it will go to a woman.”

He said, “It’s all right.”

Now why did Barak do that? He did that because he wanted to see Israel win, but he was afraid they would not win by himself, and he asked for Deborah to go with him. And a woman, Jael, in fact, got the glory, and we have the song of Deborah in Judges 5:24; it is not about Barak. He felt like he was a nobody; nevertheless, in Hebrews 11, when the writer comes down the Old Testament, whom does he choose to mention as having faith? Barak. And I find that so encouraging—that the weakest Christian can do it. The reason Barak was given that glory was that he did not want the glory then.

Excerpted from When God Says “Well Done!” (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).

By R. T. KENDALL.

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GAME CHANGER! Hizballah Gets Hands On Syria’s Chemical Weapons.


Major threat to Israel

For the first time in many years, voices in the US administration were criticizing the Israeli defense forces for under-reacting and, in this case, also underestimating the chemical weapons threat emanating from Syria and neglecting to pursue counter-measures. This is what visiting Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak heard when he met US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon Tuesday, March 5, as the new defense secretary’s first foreign visitor.

hizballah-gets-hands-on-syrias-chemical-weapons-threatens-israel

Debkafile’s military and Washington sources disclose that Barak was berated for “inadequate and cursory” military preparations which failed to take into account that a chemical attack on Israel would make it necessary for the IDF to enter Syria – most likely for an offensive operation coordinated against the common threat with the Turkish and Jordanian armies.

Present at the meeting between Hagel and Barak were also Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff and Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. Our sources add that the conversation ranged over the Syrian crisis with no reference to a nuclear Iran.

From the defense secretary, Barak heard intelligence estimates confirmed for the first time by an American official that Hizballah has been able to procure a quantity of chemical weapons from Syria – a development which Israel’s leaders have vowed to prevent.

The proliferation of chemical weapons to HIzballah and other armed bands on Israel’s borders was apparently in the mind of Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, UN Security Council president for March, when he cautioned Monday that trouble was building up between Israel and Syria. source – DEBKA

by NTEB News Desk

In Shocker, Israel’s Barak Quits Politics.


Ehud Barak
Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Reuters/Nir Elias) (Reuters/Nir Elias)

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday abruptly announced he was quitting politics, injecting new turmoil into the Israeli political system weeks ahead of general elections.

Barak, Israel’s most-decorated soldier and one-time prime minister, said he would stay on in his current post until a new government is formed following the Jan. 22 balloting.

His resignation could mean the departure of the most moderating influence on hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who holds a wide lead in polls and is expected to easily win re-election. Barak, who heads a small centrist faction in parliament, often served as Netanyahu’s unofficial envoy to Washington to smooth over differences with the Obama White House.

His impending departure comes at a key time for Israel, as the nation struggles to find its way in a region where the old order of Arab autocrats has been swept aside by the Arab Spring and the rise of Islamist political parties. Israel also faces a looming decision on whether to attack Iran’s nuclear program, which the Jewish state fears is designed to develop atomic weapons—a charge Tehran denies.

Less than a week ago, Barak led an eight-day military offensive against the Hamas militant group that rules the Gaza Strip. The fighting, aimed at ending rocket fire from the Palestinian territory, ended in a fragile truce.

“I didn’t make this decision (to leave politics) without hesitating, but I made it wholeheartedly,” he told a hastily arranged news conference, saying he had been wrestling with the decision for weeks.

He evaded repeated questions about whether he might agree to serve as a Cabinet minister in an upcoming government, leaving open the possibility that he might still retain an impact on Israeli politics. While most Cabinet ministers also hold parliamentary seats, they do not have to be elected lawmakers, and such appointments have been made in the past.

Barak, 70, made the surprise announcement even after polls showed his breakaway Independence Party gaining momentum after the Gaza campaign.

Despite the bump in the polls, Barak still could have found himself fighting for his political survival once election day rolls around. Surveys before the Gaza operation were unkind to his party, at times showing it polling too weakly to even send a single representative to parliament.

“I feel I have exhausted my political activity, which had never been an object of desire for me. There are many ways for me to serve the country, not just through politics,” he said, adding that his decision was spurred in part by his desire to spend more time with his family.

Possible replacements include Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon, a former military chief, and Shaul Mofaz, a former military chief and defense minister, who now serves as chairman of the opposition Kadima Party.

Barak’s political career was as turbulent as his 36-year military career was dazzling.

The former war hero and military chief of staff blazed into politics on the coattails of his mentor, Yitzhak Rabin, and had been viewed by many as his heir apparent. With a resume that includes commanding some of Israel’s most daring hostage rescue operations and raids, Barak was elected prime minister from the centrist Labor Party in 1999 — just four years after retiring from the military. Many Israelis hoped he would parlay what was seen as his sharp strategic mind and unorthodox methods on the battlefield into long-elusive accords with the Palestinians and Syria.

But the consensus-building so important in the political arena did not mesh well with the go-it-alone style that served him in the military. Political allies and foes alike considered Barak aloof and imperious, and others questioned whether he possessed the interpersonal skills necessary to negotiate elusive accords with Israel’s enemies.

Disappointed with his performance, Israeli voters booted Barak out of the premier’s office in record time — less than two years — after his government unraveled with the outbreak of a Palestinian uprising and the collapse of U.S.-sponsored peace talks.

Hard-liner Ariel Sharon trounced him in a 2001 election. Barak left behind a legacy of failed peacemaking with the Palestinians and Syria, despite unprecedented offers of sweeping territorial concessions, and a contentious decision to end Israel’s 18-year military occupation of south Lebanon overnight, which created a vacuum quickly filled by the anti-Israel Hezbollah guerrilla group.

For six years, the onetime Labor leader kept himself busy with lucrative speaking engagements and business consulting, reportedly amassing millions and cementing his image as a politician out of touch with his constituents.

But Barak returned to politics in 2007, handily recapturing the Labor leadership and replacing civilian Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who led a much-criticized war in Lebanon the previous summer.

But while Israelis liked Barak as defense minister, they didn’t want him as their prime minister, and his party, which had led Israel to independence and governed the nation for its first three decades, lost its public appeal. In the 2009 election that brought Netanyahu to power, Labor won an all-time low of 13 of parliament’s 120 seats.

Barak’s dovish base turned on him after he led Labor into Netanyahu’s conservative government, accusing Barak of betraying the party’s ideals by joining forces with a man who at the time did not even recognize the principle of a Palestinian state.

In January 2011, he bolted Labor to form a new party, Independence, which has largely failed to resonate with the public.

Israeli hard-liners disliked him, too, accusing him of undermining the West Bank settlement movement by holding up building approvals, clearing squatters from West Bank homes and encouraging Netanyahu to support a temporary settlement construction slowdown.

But if Barak was unpopular with the public, he retained his clout with Netanyahu, whom he commanded in an elite special operations unit. As the prime minister’s point man with the United States, Barak was welcomed in Washington as a moderating influence on Netanyahu’s hard line policies toward the Arab world and Iran’s nuclear program.

That alliance saw some rocky times recently with reports the prime minister objected to Barak’s newly moderate tone that Israel should defer to the U.S. in deciding whether to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

But the two seemed to have patched up things, appearing to work harmoniously on the recent Gaza campaign.

In a statement Monday, Netanyahu said he “respected” Barak’s decision.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

AMY TEIBEL/AP

10 things you need to know today: November 26, 2012.


Israel's defense Minister Ehud Barak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in August in Kerem Shalom, Israel. Barak announced Monday that he would step down in January.

Israel’s defense Minister Ehud Barak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in August in Kerem Shalom, Israel. Barak announced Monday that he would step down in January. Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Israel’s defense minister will step down, Cyber Monday hits as online sales rise, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

1. EGYPT’S MORSI TRIES TO CALM PROTESTS
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is scheduled to meet with the Supreme Judicial Council on Monday as protests escalate over Morsi’s claim of sweeping new powers last week. Most of Morsi’s edict was aimed at the judiciary, including a clause that granted him the right to shield his decrees from judicial review. Protesters and judges nationwide say that amounts to seizing dictatorial powers, and the unrest sent Egypt’s stock market down nearly 10 percent on Sunday. Morsi says his new powers are only temporary, but the meeting with the judicial council is the latest sign he might be considering scaling back his order. [Voice of America]
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2. ONLINE RETAILERS BRACE FOR CYBER MONDAY
Retail analysts expect Americans to spend $1.5 billion online on Cyber Monday, the biggest internet shopping day of the year. A record number of shoppers hit stores over the long Thanksgiving weekend, which kicks off the holiday shopping season. Still, sales at stores were down by 1.8 percent. Sales online, however, shot up by 28 percent on Black Friday, exceeding $1 billion for the first time. The projections for Cyber Monday amount to a 20 percent jump over the Monday after Thanksgiving last year. “Online has been around 9 percent of total holiday sales, but it could breach 10 percent for the first time this season,” said Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor, which helps merchants sell more on Amazon, eBay, and other websites. [MarketWatch]
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3. CONGRESS READIES FOR MORE FISCAL CLIFF TALKS
More Republicans are backing away from a promise against raising taxes as lawmakers from both parties signal a willingness to compromise to avoid the “fiscal cliff” looming at the end of the year. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) became the latest GOP politician to break away from conservative activist Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, saying on Sunday that he would be willing to “violate” the pledge to reach a deficit-reduction deal “for the good of the country.” Lawmakers this week are expected to plunge back into talks on how to prevent the potentially devastating automatic spending cuts and tax hikes due to hit Jan. 1. [The Hill]
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4. ISRAEL’S DEFENSE MINISTER RETIRES
Ehud Barak, Israel‘s defense minister and a former prime minister, abruptly announced Monday that he is stepping down after January elections. “I feel I have exhausted dealing with political life, which has never been a passion of mine,” he told reporters. Barak, a highly decorated former army chief of staff, led the opposition Labor Party until 2009, when it had a disastrous showing at the polls. He then joined the conservative Likud-led government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Barak’s popularity was on the rise in Israel after the suspended offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. [The Telegraph]
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5. BANGLADESHI WORKERS PROTEST DEADLY FIRE
Thousands of Bangladeshi workers threw stones at factories and blocked streets in a Dhaka suburb on Monday to protest a garment-factory fire that killed 112 people over the weekend. An estimated 200 factories shut down for the day after the demonstrations erupted, and the government has declared a national day of mourning on Tuesday. The tragedy spurred renewed criticism over unsafe conditions in the factories that produce clothing and other export products, which are a linchpin of Bangladesh’s economy. [Associated Press]
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6. GREECE AWAITS BAILOUT DECISION
Eurozone finance ministers are meeting on Monday in a third attempt to reach an agreement on releasing the latest chunk of bailout money Greece needs to stay afloat. Greece says it has held up its end of the bargain by enacting painful spending cuts and other austerity measures demanded by European leaders and the International Monetary Fund. “I’m certain we will find a mutually beneficial solution today,” Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said ahead of what is expected to be the latest in a series of long, contentious meetings. [Reuters]
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7. 10 SYRIAN CHILDREN KILLED
Syrian opposition groups posted video online showing the bodies of 10 children, with their mothers grieving over them, who were allegedly killed Sunday when government MiG fighter jets destroyed a playground with a cluster bomb. Rebel leaders said the attack hit the village of Deir al-Asafir, east of Damascus and far from any opposition military targets, proving President Bashar al-Assad‘s military was bombing indiscriminately in civilian areas outside its control. “None of those killed was older than 15 years old,” Abu Kassem, an activist in Deir al-Asafir told Reuters. The Syrian government says it doesn’t even have cluster bombs, and said its weekend operations focused on stopping al Qaeda-linked terrorists from “killing and looting.” [BBC]
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8. CATALAN VOTE DIVIDES SEPARATISTS
In Spain’s wealthy Catalonia region, separatist parties won a majority of seats in the 135-seat local parliament, but the party of Catalan President Artur Mas took a drubbing. Mas, who has imposed unpopular spending cuts, called the early election to demonstrate support for his proposal to hold a referendum on independence from Spain’s national government. His party won just 50 seats — down from 62 — signaling that although voters like the idea of independence, Mas is unlikely to be able to lead a united drive to defy Spain’s constitution and break away from Madrid. [Reuters]
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9. NOKIA UNVEILS ‘FACEBOOK’ PHONE
Struggling Finnish cell phone maker Nokia is unveiling two new handsets, the Asha 205 and the brightly colored Nokia 206, in a bid to win over budget-conscious social media lovers. The Asha 205 has a full QWERTY keyboard and a dedicated Facebook button, and both boast a new “Slam” feature that uses a Bluetooth connection to automatically select the nearest phone for easy sharing of photos, music, or other transfers. Both are priced at $62, before mobile carrier subsidies, but lack high-speed 3G capabilities. [SlashGear]
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10. CHRISTIE’S POPULARITY SOARS AFTER STORM
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s handling of Hurricane Sandy sent his approval ratings skyrocketing, according to a poll released Monday. Only 56 percent of the Garden State’s residents gave the pugnacious Republican top marks before his high-profile response to the superstorm that slammed into the Jersey Shore; now 77 percent approve of Christie’s performance. Even 67 percent of Democrats now say Christie is doing a good job, up from 26 percent in October. [Wall Street Journal]

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By THE WEEK.

Israel’s Barak, architect of Iran policy, quitting politics.


  • Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak addresses during a news conference at the 48th Paris Air Show at the Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 15, 2009. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

    Enlarge PhotoReuters/Reuters – Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak addresses during a news conference at the 48th Paris Air Show at the Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 15, 2009. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday he was quitting politics, a surprise decision that deepens uncertainty over how Israel will confront Iran’s nuclear program.

Barak’s political fortunes appeared to be on the rise after Israel’s eight-day offensive in the Gaza Strip ended in a truce, but polls predicted his centrist party, a junior partner in right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu‘s government, would win no more than four seats in Israel’s 120-member parliament.

A former head of the centre-left Labor Party, Barak has insisted he and Netanyahu have been united on policy toward Iran, an issue that has often put the prime minister at odds with U.S. President Barack Obama.

But as the only centrist member of the governing coalition of right-wing and pro-settler parties, Barak has frequently visited Washington for talks with top U.S. officials and had criticized Netanyahu for airing differences with the United States.

At a hastily-called news conference, he said he would not be a candidate in an election on January 22 that Netanyahu’s Likud party is forecast to win.

He said he would remain in his post until a new government was formed in about three months’ time, signaling his decision would have no immediate effect on Israel’s calculations on how best to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“The Iranian issue remains very important, even after I leave my position in three months. It will remain a central issue on the agenda,” he said.

The 70-year-old ex-general said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Politics, he said, “has never been a particular passion of mine, and I feel there is room to allow other people to serve in senior roles in Israel”.

He said he would be prepared to offer advice to the next prime minister, if asked.

Barak has been defense minister since 2007 and served as prime minister from 1999 to 2001, taking time out from politics after he lost the election to the Likud’s Ariel Sharon.

In a statement, Netanyahu said he “respects Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s decision and thanks him for his cooperation in the government and highly appreciates his long-standing contribution to the security of the state”.

The Hamas movement ruling Gaza saw Barak’s decision to quit as proof that this month’s Israeli assault on the enclave was a disaster.

“This is evidence of the political and military failure that the government of Netanyahu and his defense minister suffered,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

Israel has called its offensive a success, saying it destroyed most of Hamas’s long-range rocket arsenal and killed the Islamist group’s top militants.

IRAN STRIKE

A former commander in an elite commando unit, Barak tried unsuccessfully to make peace with both the Palestinians and Syria during his time as prime minister.

He was at the forefront of Israel’s campaign for stronger international sanctions against Iran to halt what Israeli and Western leaders fear is a drive to produce nuclear weapons, allegations Tehran denies.

He has cautioned that Tehran was nearing a “zone of immunity” that would put deeply buried and fortified nuclear facilities out of reach of Israel’s military capabilities, stoking international concern it could opt to strike Iran.

But last month, Barak told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that an immediate crisis was avoided when Iran chose to use more than a third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes earlier this year.

He told the paper that the decision “allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by eight to ten months”.

Listing his achievements, Barak said he had led the defense establishment and the Israel Defense Forces through a rehabilitation after the second Lebanon war in 2006 and the building of capability to deal with the threat from Iran.

Barak’s decision to call a news conference, with only two hours’ notice, had touched off speculation he might announce the formation of a new centrist bloc to challenge Netanyahu’s frontrunning Likud in the upcoming ballot.

Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have been widely touted as possible candidates to lead such a bloc. Neither has announced their intentions, with only Livni widely expected to run.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell and Ari Rabinovitch, Editing by Crispian Balmer and Tom Pfeiffer)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Jeffrey Heller | Reuters

Deborah—Leadership Model.


[To learn more about the annual Evangelical Sunday School Lesson Commentary, visit www.pathwaybookstore.com.]

INTRODUCTION

Deborah provides a picture of leadership that wasn’t normally seen in the society of her time. Very few women in Scripture rose to positions of national leadership. Deborah stands out due to both her spiritual and civil leadership. She was the only woman who served as a judge during those extended years of turmoil.

For the most part, the Book of Judges reflects a negative picture of God‘s people drifting away spiritually and then eventually experiencing God’s judgment. This comes through His allowing other nations to come in and dominate their existence. At times they pillaged Israel‘s crops, as seen in the account of Gideon and the Midianites. Other people, such as the neighboring Philistines, dominated the nearby areas of Israel. Each time the Israelites woke up spiritually and repented, God provided leaders who made a difference in their situation.

Apparently the oppression of the Israelites wasn’t always throughout the entire area of Canaan at the same time. Likewise, the reigns of the judges overlapped in time. For that reason, we should not add up the time periods of each judge and assume that number represents the entire era of the judges.

This lesson focusing on Deborah’s leadership is a contemporary topic. Our society is currently in a second cycle of leadership emphasis within about a 25-year period. Leadership first came to the forefront in the early ’80s. A number of books on leadership were written. Some Christian titles highlighted the leadership principles found in Nehemiah’s actions in building the walls of Jerusalem. The current emphasis on leadership often draws from secular sources drawing from business concepts and principles.

It is rare to hear anyone project Deborah as an example of spiritual and civil leadership to follow. However, as will be seen in the following pages, Deborah’s actions and attitude deserve careful attention.

I. WISE AND AVAILABLE (Judges 4:4-7)

A. Service as a Judge (vv. 4, 5)

4. And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

5. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Because of the sins of the people, they were under the oppression of Jabin. He ruled over the northern portion of Canaan with Hazor being his capital city. The name Jabin may be a title likeCaesarPharaoh, or the Philistine Abimelech. The military power of this enemy of Israel was significant. He had 900 iron chariots under the command of Sisera (v. 3). Such a force would be very difficult, if not impossible, to defeat under normal circumstances.

The domination over Israel may be seen in verse 2, where Sisera’s base of operation is noted.Harosheth means “woodcutting.” Some have surmised the possibility of Sisera’s forcing the inhabitants to serve as woodcutters. Regardless of the specifics, the length of time is definite. For 20 years God’s people bowed under Jabin’s oppression. Surely it must have appeared unending to them.

Then we read of Deborah’s coming to the position as a judge in Israel. As can be seen in verse 1, after the death of Ehud the people had drifted into sin with its resulting consequences. Deborah faces a difficult challenge. We have no record of the circumstances or scenario in which God brought her to the judgeship; this was a divine appointment. One can only wonder what her thoughts were when God initiated this action.

Let’s pause to look specifically at her task. In the Hebrew language the title judge indicates someone who will bring others into a right relationship. This points to the spiritual dimension even though the specific tasks were of a civil nature. The three basic functions were administration, the settlement of disputes, and military leadership. However, these tasks must not provide a picture of having sovereign authority over a geographical area. There appears to be a sense of limitation in terms of being like a king or governor.

The description of Deborah in verses 4 and 5 provides a brief picture of this, the only woman chosen to be a judge in Israel. It begins with her spiritual position as a prophetess. This distinguishes her from all the other judges. None of them were given this designation. It also speaks of her spiritual character. We also see she was a married woman with the responsibilities of being a wife. Since her age is not given, we cannot state what phase of family life she might have been experiencing.

Her location for fulfilling her duties as a judge is very specific. The cities of Ramah and Bethel were about four miles apart on a line north of Jerusalem. This is the same area where the prophet Samuel later judged Israel (1 Samuel 7:16). Deborah held court under a palm tree.

B. Messenger of the Lord (vv. 6, 7)

6. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?.

7. And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.

In these verses we see the prophetic ministry of Deborah operating within her position as a judge of the area. The directives and results did not originate from the sharp mind of a military or civil leader. They stemmed from the Lord himself speaking through the mouth of the prophetess.

We know little about Barak, but he was God’s chosen military leader for the task at hand. He lived in the city of Kedesh within the tribal lands of Naphtali. His father’s name is given. But other than that bit of information, we can only make assumptions. Some have suggested his abilities and reputations as a warrior/leader had traveled southward, thus making him known to Deborah. This may or may not be true. Keep in mind that God can simply direct us to the right person even though we have no prior knowledge.

Once Barak arrived, notice the specifics of Deborah’s message for him. There are no generalities which could lead to insecurity or to wrong actions. She lays out God’s plan for him. Victory is guaranteed. Barak simply needs to fulfill it.

Notice the specifics. Deborah begins by identifying the source of her message. It is not self-generated. These words come from the Lord God of Israel. The direction Barak is to take is toward Mount Tabor. This mountain is distinct because of its flat top with a circumference of nearly one mile. It could serve as a fortified stronghold or as an excellent lookout post. The instructions further state the size of the fighting force and from which tribes they are to come. Since the regions being oppressed are Naphtali and Zebulun, it’s only logical they should be the ones to participate in the deliverance.

In order for Barak to muster a force this size, it would appear he was known to the men of this region and trusted. After all, it would seem to be suicidal for a ground force to go against the mobilized chariots of Jabin. Of course, if Barak announced the promise of God in verse 7, the people would be foolish not to accept God’s wanting to work on their behalf.

Deborah gave the specific plan of the Lord. Sisera would be lured into a situation which would bring about his defeat. In order to attack Barak’s forces, the enemy chariots would need to cross the plain through which the river Kishon flowed. In the original language of these scriptures, the word for river literally means “torrent bed.” The Kishon would flow when flash flooding took place.

The message of the Lord clearly states this location to be where victory would take place. This victory would not be due to their superior forces. It would come from God’s giving Sisera and his mighty forces into Israel’s hands.

Think about putting yourself in Barak’s shoes. There is a double trust issue here. He had to trust Deborah to be a true prophetess. And he must believe God would fulfill His word regardless of how impossible the task might appear.

In this case, God gave very specific directions and the results that would follow. Most of us do not experience this type of guidance in our life decisions. Yet, God is still directing us. Our faith should be no less than if everything were spelled out.

II. SUBMISSION TO GOD’S PLAN (Judges 4:8-24)

A. Personal Availability (vv. 8-13)

8. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.

9. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding, the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

10. And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.

11. Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.

12. And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor.

13. And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.

Barak’s response to Deborah’s message indicates he accepted the plan. But he did not want to do it by himself. As we feel at times, he wanted the comfort of another human with him before fulfilling God’s guaranteed plan. Moses did the same thing when God appeared to him in the desert (Exodus 3-4). He came up with various excuses until God said Aaron, his brother, was on the way and would be his spokesperson. Though having been given verbal assurance and a miraculous demonstration, Moses resisted until he had a family member with him.

Barak made Deborah’s presence with him to be the deciding issue as to whether or not he would fulfill God’s plan. Without hesitation or rebuke of Barak, Deborah agreed to accompany him. She did, however, point out there would be no personal honor in the victory for him. In spite of his being the leader and gathering the forces, there would be no acclaiming his name after Sisera’s defeat. This did not seem to bother Barak. We can only speculate as to why he accepted this so readily. Probably the might of the enemy loomed before him. Or, it could be he valued the defeat of the enemy above his own personal acclaim.

In response to Barak’s call for a military force, 10,000 men joined him. The engagement was not long in coming. Hearing of the gathering of rebel forces, Sisera activated his chariots and soldiers.

Here the family of Heber the Kenite enters the narrative (v. 11). Normally the nomadic Kenites lived in the wilderness south of Judah. Heber, an independent person, moved his family to the north. They were camped in a plain near Kedesh. When Sisera and his forces came where the family camped, they showed him the path that Barak’s forces had taken up the mountain. Exactly as Deborah stated, Sisera moved his forces to the river of Kishon (v. 13).

B. Proper Timing (vv. 14-16)

14. And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.

15. And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.

16. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.

When God says “now,” timing is everything. In verse 14, Deborah gives the signal. Today is the day of deliverance. In complete obedience, Barak leads his force down the mountain to meet the enemy. Their victory is overwhelming. It’s not because of their tactics or fighting skill. Rather, God enters the battle and Sisera’s forces are utterly confused and destroyed. According to Judges 5:21, it appears God sends a flash flood which turns the plain into a muddy quagmire. The chariots are rendered useless.

Barak’s army kills all of Sisera’s forces. Only the leader escapes after abandoning his chariot. He literally runs for his life, hoping to find some shelter of escape. Deborah’s prophetic announcement to Barak is fulfilled exactly as stated.

C. Misplaced Trust (vv. 17-24)

(Judges 4:17-22 is not included in the printed text.)

23. So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.

24. And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

Looking for a safe haven, Sisera comes to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. She invites him to come in and find safety. To enable him to rest, Jael covers him with a quilt or rug and gives Sisera milk when he requests a drink of water. Assuming his hostess will redirect anyone looking for him, Sisera goes to sleep. He never wakes again due to Jael’s brutally killing him.

Jael’s actions are debatable. On the one hand, Sisera knows the custom of never going into a woman’s tent without her husband being there. Anyone who does can be killed. On the other hand, Jael’s action of inviting him to come in without fear covers her intention. She doesn’t hesitate to commit cold-blooded murder after having offered hospitality, which always included protection.

The end of the story results in Jael’s receiving the honor of having overcome the enemy leader. “Though predicted by Deborah, the act was the result of divine foreknowledge, not of divine appointment or action” (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown). When Barak finally catches up with Sisera, it’s by Jael’s coming out to meet him and showing him the body.

III. HUMBLE AND GRATEFUL (Judges 5:1-31)

A. Song of Praise (vv. 1-5)

1. Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying,

2. Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.

3. Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.

4. Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water.

5. The mountains melted from before the Lord, even that Sinai from before the Lord God of Israel.

When reading through the Book of Judges, this is one chapter which we could easily bypass in favor of reading about the next judge. In doing so, we miss a poetic description of the preceding events as they recap God’s deliverance. Also, failure to spend some time in this chapter robs us of reading one of the masterpieces of Hebrew poetry.

The “Song of Deborah” begins with the historical past. She calls for a remembrance of God’s marvelous manifestations. It goes back to Mount Sinai where God demonstrated His power and spoke verbally to them. Then it covers the overall journey to Edom. This part of history includes God’s punishment for sin as well as His provision. It also points to God’s revelation of Himself.

It is easy to think of the specific events referred to here and miss the key point—praise. Deborah and Barak knew what their response needed to be. God deserved all the honor and glory. The tremendous victory over superior forces came through divine intervention. In themselves, Barak and his foot soldiers could never have accomplished such a feat.

B. Years of Peace (vv. 6-31)

(Judges 5:6-30 is not included in the printed text.)

31. So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.

To fully appreciate the present, it is important to review the past. As Deborah continues her song or war ballad, as some call it, she reviews selected events of the past. The dire conditions that brought about the need for deliverance arose from the people’s turning from God and selecting other gods (v. 8). Not only had they become defenseless spiritually, but also militarily. They had no weapons with which to defend themselves.

Hope came only when a new spirit gripped the people. They, the leaders and the people, turned to the Lord (v. 9). Though verse 7 speaks mainly of Deborah, it does emphasize the role that spiritual women play in bringing individuals, families, and even nations back to their rightful relationship with God.

Deborah’s song recounted how the forces of select Israel tribes were gathered and how the Lord came to fight their battle (vv. 13, 14, 18). Listed are the tribes who did not help their brothers in this encounter because they weren’t asked to participate (vv. 16, 17). She sang about the death of Sisera at the hand of Jael, recounting with specifics the manner of the death (vv. 24-27). Normally the Bedouin women pitched the family tent. Tent pegs and mallets would be familiar tools to Jael.

To emphasize the misery that came upon the Lord’s enemies, Deborah’s song includes a picture of Sisera’s mother anxiously awaiting the return of her son. Attempting to reassure, those women around her suggested the dividing of the plunder was the reason for the delayed return (vv. 28-30). But later we know she would find the true reason. Her anxiety then would turn into mourning.

Verse 31 provides a contrast between those who serve the Lord and those who are His enemies. While the enemies perish, His servants will live in strength. The key is loving God and Him alone. Though the enemies of the Lord and His people appear to be triumphant, it is only temporary. There comes a point when they will be destroyed. Sometimes we do not live to see it. Nevertheless, it will take place.

As a result of Israel’s turning back to God and following Him, they enjoyed an extended period of peace. We do not know how much of this Deborah saw, since her lifespan isn’t part of the narrative. Yet, it really doesn’t matter. Her leadership in a time of crisis benefited the people of the area for 40 years. What a legacy!

CONCLUSION

The distinctive of Deborah’s work as a judge stands firmly in the battle event. As a woman she would not be expected to be on the battlefield. However, she did not allow cultural norms to hinder her leadership and thereby enabled others to bring victory to God’s people.

GOLDEN TEXT CHALLENGE

“THEN SANG DEBORAH AND BARAK . . . PRAISE YE THE LORD FOR THE AVENGING OF ISRAEL, WHEN THE PEOPLE WILLINGLY OFFERED THEMSELVES” (Judges 5:1, 2).

Verse 2 calls for praise to be given to the Lord. Israel, especially the northern section, had been under severe oppression for 20 years. No doubt, the only songs the people could sing were filled with frustration and mourning. Now, however, they had cause for rejoicing in the Lord. In the same way, the first response of the believer when surveying the redemption and deliverance of God should be one of praise.

The reason for praise is given next. The Lord had avenged Israel. The Hebrew word for avenge in this verse actually meant “to break or set loose by delivering from oppression.” Deliverance from the oppression and bondage of the enemy is always cause for praise to the Lord.

The timing of their release is also given in verse 2. They were set free when they “willingly offered themselves.” There are a number of words in Hebrew translated offer, presenting varied insights into the concept of giving an offering. The particular Hebrew word used here for offeringemphasized the freewill nature of giving. In this verse it means the people “freely urged and gave themselves” to the Lord.

God responds to a freewill offering of ourselves. A child of God might be able to give many things to the Lord. However, God desires the believer to freely give himself or herself to the Lord. Faith brought on by manipulation and coercion is not a substitute for a genuine, voluntary giving of oneself.

To learn more about the annual Evangelical Sunday School Lesson Commentary, visitwww.pathwaybookstore.com.

By Jerald Daffe

Deborah – Israel’s Only Female Judge.


Deborah, Judge and Prophetess

Deborah prepares to go to war against Sisera and his army.

Photo: Getty Images

Profile of Deborah, Wise Woman of God

Deborah was both a prophetess and ruler of the people of ancient Israel, the only woman among the twelve judges. She held court under the Palm Tree of Deborah in the hill country of Ephraim, deciding the people’s disputes.All was not well, however. The Israelites had been disobeying God, so God allowed Jabin, a king of Canaan, to oppress them. Jabin’s general was named Sisera, and he intimidated the Hebrews with 900 iron chariots, powerful tools of war that struck terror into the hearts of foot soldiers.

Deborah, acting on guidance from God, sent for the warrior Barak, telling him the Lord had commanded Barak to gather 10,000 men from the tribes of Zebulun and Napthtali and lead them to Mount Tabor. Deborah promised to lure Sisera and his chariots into the Kishon Valley, where Barak would defeat them.

Instead of fully trusting God, Barak refused to go unless Deborah accompanied him to inspire the troops. She gave in but prophesied that the credit for the victory would go not to Barak but to a woman.

The two armies clashed at the foot of Mount Tabor. The Lord sent rain and the River Kishon swept away some of General Sisera’s men. His heavy iron chariots got bogged down in mud, rendering them ineffective. Barak chased the retreating enemy to Harosheth Haggoyim, where the Jews slaughtered them. Not a man of Jabin’s army was left alive.

In the confusion of the battle, Sisera had deserted his army and ran to the camp of Heber the Kenite, near Kedesh. Heber and King Jabin were allies. As Sisera staggered in, Heber’s wife,Jael, welcomed him into her tent.

The exhausted Sisera asked for water, but instead Jael gave him curdled milk, a drink that would make him drowsy. Sisera then asked Jael to stand guard at the tent’s door and turn away any pursuers.

When Sisera fell asleep, Jael sneaked in, carrying a long, sharp tent peg and a hammer. She drove the peg through the general’s temple into the ground, killing him. In a while, Barak arrived. Jael took him into the tent and showed him the body of Sisera.

After the victory, Barak and Deborah sang a hymn of praise to God found in Judges 5, called the Song of Deborah. From that point on, the Israelites grew stronger until they destroyed King Jabin. Thanks to Deborah’s faith, the land enjoyed peace for 40 years.

Accomplishments of Deborah:

Deborah served as a wise judge, obeying God’s commands. In a time of crisis, she trusted Jehovahand took steps to defeat King Jabin, Israel’s oppressor.

Strengths of Deborah:

She followed God faithfully, acting with integrity in her duties. Her boldness came from relying on God, not herself. In a male-dominated culture, Deborah did not let her power go to her head but exercised authority as God guided her.

Life Lessons:

Your strength comes from the Lord, not yourself. Like Deborah, you can have victory in life’s worst times if you cling tightly to God.

Hometown:

In Canaan, possibly near Ramah and Bethel.

Referenced in the Bible:

Judges 4 and 5.

Occupation:

Judge, prophetess.

Family Tree:

Husband – Lappidoth

Key Verses:

Judges 4:9
“Very well,” Deborah said, “I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman.” (NIV)

Judges 5:31
So may all your enemies perish, O LORD! But may they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.” Then the land had peace forty years. (NIV)

• Old Testament People of the Bible (Index)
• New Testament People of the Bible (Index)

By Jack Zavada.

Jack Zavada, a career writer and guest contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack’s Bio Page.

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