The Call to Lead

Call To Lead

Read Judges 5: 1-31

This is a song about leadership and God’s hand in the present administration in many ways. It started by acknowledging that both Barak and Deborah were leading them and recognizing the people who willingly followed them.

“That the leaders took the lead in Israel,
    that the people offered themselves willingly,
    bless the Lord!

In verse 4, they acknowledged the Lord’s hand upon them. Without the Lord, freedom was not possible. So then, verses 6 to 9 showed how bleak life was during the captivity and disobedience of the nation. The roads were empty, and there was no laughter.

Lord, when you went out from Seir,
    when you marched from the region of Edom,
the earth trembled
    and the heavens dropped,
    yes, the clouds dropped water.
The mountains quaked before the Lord,
    even Sinai before the Lord,[a] the God of Israel.

“In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath,
    in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned,
    and travelers kept to the byways.

When Deborah and Barak chose to lead the way, the people were energized. Some of the tribes joined them in the fight, as mentioned in verses 13-15. Yet, you will also see later some who did not.

12 “Awake, awake, Deborah!
    Awake, awake, break out in a song!
Arise, Barak, lead away your captives,
    O son of Abinoam.
13 Then down marched the remnant of the noble;
    the people of the Lord marched down for me against the mighty.
14 From Ephraim their root they marched down into the valley,[d]
    following you, Benjamin, with your relatives;
from Machir marched down the commanders,
    and from Zebulun those who bear the lieutenant’s [e] staff;
15 the princes of Issachar came with Deborah,
    and Issachar faithful to Barak;
    into the valley, they rushed at his heels.

Four tribes that were mentioned that did not join were Reuben, Gilead, Dan, and Asher.

Among the clans of Reuben,
    there were great searchings of heart.
16 Why did you sit still among the sheepfolds,
    to hear the whistling for the flocks?
Among the clans of Reuben
    there were great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan;
    and Dan, why did he stay with the ships?
Asher sat still at the coast of the sea,
    staying by his landings.

“Curse Meroz, says the angel of the Lord,
    curse its inhabitants thoroughly,
because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
    to the help of the Lord against the mighty.

Keypoint #1: God will raise men and women who will lead the way to advance His cause and purposes.

Keypoint #2: In leadership, not everyone will follow your lead. As long as you know God called you to lead, lead with the best you can and depend on God’s power and wisdom.

Keypoint #3: God always wins amid impossible odds. The blessing is found in fighting for and with him.

Keypoint #4: For those who choose not to fight God’s battle, consequences await. It does not matter how valid your reason is for not fighting. When God calls us to fight, we should fight.

Keypoint #5: This is an account of the heroic acts of women. From Deborah, who led the charge, to women who were set free from Sisera’s sex slave trade, and to Jael, who killed the man responsible for all this injustice.

Note: As we read through Judges4 and 5, Tim Keller reminds us that we can, and we should, live our lives and order our memories historically and theologically – not simply recollecting what happened or what we did, but searching out what God was doing. This would keep us from over-honoring ourselves in the success or despairing in our struggles. (loc846)

Talk it over:

  1. What would have happened if Deborah and Barak had chosen to ignore the call to lead? Are there any instances in your life where you decided not to heed the call to lead?
  2. Are there any instances in your life where you responded to God’s call for leadership? What happened when you obeyed?
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