Barak's Witness of FaithVolume 2, Number 22
Created Date: June 15, 2006
Posted Date: June 15, 2006
The faith of Barak:
The first 10 people mentioned by name in Hebrews 11 appear in the order in which they lived: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Rahab. However, the remaining six (6) men are reversed by pairs: Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David and Samuel,, that is, Barak actually lived before Gideon, Jephthae before Samson and Samuel before David. The Holy Spirit had a purpose in this order of listing when He inspired the writer of Hebrews, which we will attempt to discover. However, this study will proceed in the order in which they appear in the Old Testament and thus we examine Barak's witness of faith today.
First, Israel's status at the time of Barak: after Joshua and the leaders who served with him died the next generation of Israelites forsook God and followed after the idols of the former inhabitants of Canaan. Of course this displeased the Lord greatly and thus He left some of the former inhabitants in the land as a thorn in Israel's side to harass and intimidate them. Periodically thereafter, God raised up Judges under whose respective leadership the former inhabitants were subdued and their idols destroyed, thus bringing Israel back into proper fellowship with their Lord. However, after each of these judges died Israel reverted back into idol worship and of course fell out of favor with God. - Judges 2; 3:5 - 8. The first two (2), possibly three, judges mentioned are Othniel, Ehud and possibly Shamgar, who preceded the advent of Barak. Israel had peace for 40 years under the administration of Othniel and another 40 years under Ehud, but after their respective administrations, fell back into sin -.
Barak's account is chronicled in Judges 4 & 5. When he came on the scene Israel had been terrorized by King Jabon of Caanan and Sisera, the Captain of Jabon's army, for 20 years. The Lord raised up a prophetess named Deborah to judge Israel. She held court under a palm tree in Mount Ephraim where the Israelites came to seek her wisdom and settle matters in dispute -. The Lord used Deborah to summon Barak and tell him to call out an army of 10,000 Israelites with which he would be given victory over Sisera's powerful army - verses 6 & 7. Thus Deborah received God's Word and gave it to Barak who demonstrated faith therein by doing as told, but, he would not go without Deborah - verse 8. She willingly agreed to accompany him but prophesied that the glory of the victory over Sisera would go to a woman and not to Barak - verse 9.
On a day ordained by God Deborah told Barak it was time to attack, again, with assurance of victory. Barak and the Israelite army totally destroyed Sisera's army, including his formidable 900 chariots of iron. They killed everyone except Sisera himself who fled from his chariot and ran to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. -. Heber was of the children of Hobab, who had been the father in law of Moses. His people had accompanied the Children of Israel on their trip through the wilderness and settled around Jericho and then in the wilderness of Judah - Judges 4:11 & 1:16. Jael welcomed Sisera into her tent and covered him with a blanket or rug of some type. After a long day's battle and flight from the battle field he would have been hot, sweaty, tired and thirsty so he asked for water but Jael gave him milk to drink. Sisera told her to stay at the tent door and to tell anyone who inquired there was no man in her tent. After such physical exertion and comfortably ensconced with a belly full of warm milk Sisera naturally went to sleep. Jael then took a tent stake and drove it though Sisera's temple with a hammer, killing him. When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael showed him his dead body - . Judges 5 is a song by Deborah and Barak reviewing, among other things, the victory just won and praising the Lord for what He had done for His people. And the land had rest for 40 years - b.
Barak's witness of faith has much to teach, especially because his experience is inextricably connected with two women, Deborah and Jael. This is another example of how God uses the weak and frail to defeat the strong and powerful: "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;" - I Corinthians 1:27.
Eve, the first woman, was willingly deceived by Satan when her faith in God's Word failed and she ate of the forbidden fruit. She in turn influenced the first man to sin with her, which brought death to the human race, and as we will see gave the power thereof to the Devil. But even as Satan no doubt gloated over what he had done God predicted the final outcome, informing him: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." -.
The Prophetess Deborah was raised up to speak for and represent God to Israel. Unlike Eve, she accepted God's Word by faith and passed it on to Barak who by faith raised an army and while accompanied and encouraged by Deborah totally destroyed Sisera's powerful army. God then used another woman, Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, by whose hand the job was finished. Jael's motive for killing Sisera may well have been to save her honor because, according to the customs at the time, it was an unforgivable and unconscionable shame to have a man other than her husband in her private living quarters. There certainly is no record of God telling Jael to kill Sisera, however, whatever Jael's motive for doing so her actions worked out to God's purpose. This is confirmed by Deborah and Barak's song: "Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent." -.
Only two (2) women in the Bible are said to be "Blessed above women." The first one is Jael and her actions obviously point to the second, the virgin Mary: "And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." -(see also .) Jael drove a stake through the head of the powerful general of the enemy while the son of the Virgin Mary fulfilled God's Word in Genesis 3:15 when she bore a son that "bruised" Satan's head. Jesus Christ was the seed of the woman and by His life and death in perfect faith, He bruised (defeated) Satan for good. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he (Jesus Christ) also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." - . Christ sealed Satan's sentence 2000 or so years ago (the bruising of Satan's head) and that sentence will be carried out: "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." - .
It was not in the power of or at Barak, Deborah or Jael's initiative, in and of themselves, that the enemy was defeated. Barak and Deborah demonstrated faith in God's Word while Jael showed coolness and determination in doing what needed to be done but it was God that ordained the circumstances and ultimately gave the victory: "So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. 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." -. God's work has always been and will always be accomplished according to His own will and by His power but his instruments to carry it out is through weak, frail human beings.
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." -. "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us," - . May we have faith in these, God's Words to us.