Tuesday, 17 January 2017
This week I've been reading about Deborah and Barak in the book of Judges. I'm struck by how well they work as a team. They honour one another, and trust each other in their areas of expertise.
Deborah is a prophetess, she calls Barak, and commissions him according to what God has said to her.
Barak trusts her. He knows her reputation, understands what she is saying, and he does it. He invited Deborah to come with him into the battle he was called into. He knows God is with her, so If Deborah joins him in the battle, he knows God is with them. It will give the whole army confidence in the battle they are to face. They are but foot soldiers facing an enemy with 900 chariots. Not an easy task, but Barak trusts God, and Deborah.
Barak listens when Deborah tells them to go, and keeps fighting and pursuing until the not only the army leader was destroyed, but the king of the enemy was also destroyed. Once empowered to go, Barak gained momentum and persevered until the task was completed. He then continued to pursue the enemy as another army commander could rise up, but if the king of the enemy is destroyed, then the enemy is destroyed.
Both Barak and Deborah play to their strengths. Barak leads an army and destroys the enemy. Deborah speaks what she knows God is saying. They have different duties, different capabilities, but they work together for victory.
Neither tried to usurp the other's authority or try to be the ultimate leader. They worked to their own strengths. They recognised their need of each other. Deborah had a gift of hearing from God, Barak had the gift of leadership. He called 10,000 men to battle - not everyone could do that!
Barak asked Deborah to come with him to the battlefront. (What a brave woman who agreed!) When Deborah told Barak that she would go, but the glory would not belong to him, Barak doesn't seem to mind. He is a willing warrior, a commander, a gatherer of an army. He is willing and able to fight for the Israelites to be free, but he doesn't need the glory for it. It seems he is content to fulfil the purpose he is created for, he does not need public acclamation on top. He strives, not for fame and renown, but for the freedom of the people and that God's word might be fulfilled, what a quest!
Deborah, she is the judge of Israel at the time, the only woman that had that office. That shows strength in itself! She had authority and confidence to call Barak to war, and she agreed to go with him into battle. What a brave woman, confident in the word of God.
I love this story because here are two incredibly strong people, in different ways, but they work together to defeat the enemy. When people work together, no matter how different they are, what victory there is!
Truly working together is not about being the head of a team, or working the most or best, this about fulfilling the role only you can bring. Deborah and Barak are a great example of that. They listen to one another and work together. They even write a song of victory together.
Whatever you do in life, you will have to work as part of a team. Assess your attitude - what are you working for? Renown? Promotion? Recognition? Achievement? Success? None of these things are wrong, but what is your ultimate goal and how does it affect your effectiveness?
Who do you need to be working with this year? What challenges are you facing where you need someone with you, someone with different skills and abilities?
Are you facing a battle? Then make sure you have the word of God with you, and people with the ability to fight.