Jerry S. Maneker

“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?” (Judges
4:14)  “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose
his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luke 9:24) (See also Matthew
10:39; Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35.)

Deborah was a prophetess, judge, and esteemed warrior in ancient Israel!  In my
estimation, she was transgender, as she certainly didn’t adhere to the typical
role of “woman” in that society, but for purposes of this article I won’t go
there.  Suffice it to say, she was no one’s property, no shrinking violet!  She
was so esteemed as a warrior, that she not only exhorted Barak to fight against
the king of Canaan, whose captain was the feared Sisera, but reminded Barak of
the Word of the Lord that he was commanded to fight against Sisera with ten
thousand men; God promised that He would enable Barak to prevail in this

“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.” (Judges 4:8)  Deborah shows her
contempt for the cowardice of Barak when she replies, “…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….” (Judges 4:9)

Well, Barak, with the encouragement and complicity of Deborah, did prevail over
Sisera (who, through treachery, was killed by another woman, Jael).  Barak was
fearful and didn’t trust God’s word that God would be at the forefront of his
life and enable him to prevail; Deborah, on the other hand, trusted God and His
word and acted on her faith, putting her whole trust in God.  She valued God’s
Word over and above her own safety, her own life, and that is what makes her a
hero of faith.

What’s interesting in this connection is that in the only chapter in the Bible
that extols heroes of faith, Hebrews 11, Barak is mentioned by name and
Deborah’s name is omitted.  This fact shows that many times heroism, for
whatever reason, goes unnoticed by mere human beings.  But God knows those who
give over their lives to Him, and that is all that is really important.

As all Christians are exhorted to do, Deborah sold out to God and not to her
fears and uncertainties, which as a human being she certainly must have had.  
This fact is what makes her not merely a hero, but a very dangerous person, as
she put her self-interests and survival instincts on the back burner and did as
God directed, regardless of what consequences might ensue.

This is what Jesus undoubtedly means when He says that we are to not seek to
protect ourselves, be in any way defensive, nor seek to “save our lives,” but,
rather, lose our lives in Him by trusting Him over and above seen circumstances,
over and above our fears and uncertainties, over and above what mere human
beings think and/or say.  We are to follow His directions for our lives, all the
while recognizing that each of us has a unique calling and ministry, and that,
as in life, in the Christian life one size doesn’t fit all.

We are to lose ourselves in Jesus!  This does not mean that we are to be
oblivious to the needs of this world!  Quite the contrary!  It means that we are
to discern the needs of this world and have God choose which one(s) we are to
address in articulating and fulfilling our God-ordained ministries.  And we are
to make no mistake: every single Christian has a God-ordained ministry!  No mere
human being can tell you what is your ministry, your calling, from God.  Each of
us has to discern that ministry!

Barak was called by God to prevail over the king of Canaan!  Ultimately he did
so, but not without a great deal of prodding and action on the part of Deborah,
a fearsome woman!  She was fearsome not merely because she participated in the
battle!  She was fearsome because she listened and obeyed the Word of God,
despite overwhelming odds, and undoubtedly despite hers and others’ fears and
desire for self-protection.

This fact is what made Deborah a very dangerous person!  Indeed, the same can be
said of all the prophets, of all the named and unnamed heroes of faith in
Hebrews 11, of all people who obey God’s call on their lives, even if that call
provokes danger and retribution from others.  When one speaks or acts in such a
way that others’ comfort zones are in any way invaded, or when others perceive
their worlds to be rocked in any way, that person, if he or she is following
God’s directives, is not only a hero, be he/she recognized for that fact or not,
but he/she becomes a very dangerous person.

Let’s face it: as Christians we are called upon to be “dangerous people!”  If
we’re not, we’d better be, as the following truth stated by Jesus certainly
applies: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour,
wherewith shall it be salted?  it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be
cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:13)

So, let’s be dangerous people!  Let’s be Christians!

Home Page