You can read Deborah’s story in Judges 4-5.
1. Are you a leader (Deborah), a follower (Barak), or a rebel (Jael)? How does God use all three types of people?
I see myself mostly as a leader, but I am often a follower, too. I am rarely ever a rebel, taking matters into my own hands. I feel like I have always taken on the responsibility of leading. I enjoy what I do, and I try to use the gifts God has blessed me with to lead his people well. However, there are plenty of times when I am happy to let others take the lead. I can relate to Barak quite a bit when he didn’t want to step out in faith without the presence of Deborah beside him. But I think that good leaders should also make good followers. We can’t be in control all the time. We need to delegate tasks, we need to be held accountable, and we need others to step up and take charge occasionally.
I think it’s quite clear that God uses all three types of people in his kingdom regularly. I think we are all called to be followers, but followers of Jesus are also supposed to lead others to him. In the kingdom it’s called servant leadership. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. Whoever wants to be great must become the servant of all. But…we also need rebels on occasion. We need those people like MLK, St. Francis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and even Paul, who are willing to go against the norms of society, even against the status quo of the church, and usher in real change and transformation.
2. Read Ephesians 6:12 & 1 Peter 5:8-9. Who are our enemies today? How are we supposed to fight against them?
The New Testament makes it clear that “our battle is not against flesh and blood.” In other words, if we encounter a living, breathing, human being – that person is not our enemy. The true enemy is evil itself – the devil, the corrupt powers and systems of oppression, the insidious ideas and rhetoric of hate and division. God’s people must fight against these enemies by standing firm in the faith, by loving radically, by self-sacrifice, by putting our trust in God and not the “lesser-evil” of systems.
3. What do you think Deborah would say to God’s people today?
I think she would tell us to stop focusing on things that don’t matter. We are in a war. Not culture wars, not worship wars, not mommy wars, but a war between the kingdom of God and the powers of darkness. Distraction is a tactic of the enemy. Fear, worry, complacency – these are his weapons. But God is on our side. He has gone out before us and guaranteed us the victory. The battle is not against flesh and blood, and it cannot be won by traditional weapons of war. We have the greatest weapon on our side – the unconditional, overwhelming love of God. The glory will not go to the mighty, to the swift, to the clever. The glory will go to the least of these, to the one who lays down his life for his friends, to the one who loves his enemy to the point that his enemy becomes his friend. Stop arguing with each other, stop obsessing over Twitter and Facebook. This is war, soldier. Get busy loving.