Over the past weeks and months, we have been taking a look at the heroes of faith in Hebrews Chapter 11, and hopefully you have been inspired and encouraged by the men and women honored there. All of those listed in Hebrews 11 are there for one reason: their faith. Their lives were examples of faith that always chooses God, walks with God, trusts Him, obeys Him, overcomes fear, goes forward, keeps on believing, looks to the future, and never gives up. They are men and women who were saved by faith and experienced victory in their lives by faith.
It can be a little daunting to read through that Hall of Fame of the faithful, study the lives of those great Old Testament heroes, and then turn and take a look in the mirror at ourselves. Would our lives ever qualify us to be added to the list of Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab? There were many more too, and some are listed in Hebrews 11:32: Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. These were men who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to fight. And then, if we read and consider the whole Old Testament, many more names come to mind. One in particular comes to my mind, and that is Deborah. Deborah has been my hero since I was a young girl and first heard about her story. If it had not been for Deborah and her faith, the Israelites might have been decimated by the Canaanite armies.
Deborah was a prophetess from the tribe of Ephraim. She sat under a palm tree in her yard, and the people of Israel came to her for judgment. One day, perhaps as she sat under her palm tree, the Lord instructed her to call Barak, a military leader from the tribe of Naphtali, and give him the command to take 10,000 men and confront Sisera and the Canaanite army at Mount Tabor. God’s promise to Barak (through Deborah) was “I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and many troops to the river Kishon; and I will give him into your hand.” Barak agreed to go, but he had one condition. Deborah had to go with him. Graciously and with courage, Deborah agreed.
So Deborah, Barak, and the ten thousand men went up to Mount Tabor. When Sisera was informed, he gathered nine hundred iron chariots and all of his mighty armies and headed for the confrontation. On the Lord’s chosen day, the day He would lead the way and give victory, He gave Deborah the order to attack, and she relayed it to Barak. So Barak got up, summoned his men, and they went forward to fight. You can read the story of the miraculous battle and how God gave victory that day in Judges Chapter 5. Every single one of Sisera’s army was annihilated. And only Sisera escaped - on foot.
As he fled, Sisera came to the tent of Heber who was a Kenite, part a band of desert nomads descended from Moses’ father-in-law. Jael, Heber’s wife was home alone that day, and she came out of her tent and offered Sisera a cup of milk and a place to rest. He went in and received her hospitality. Then Jael took a tent peg and seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. (Hebrews 4:21). Later in the day, Barak came by in search of Sisera, and Jael showed him the dead body.
So the mighty Canaanite army was defeated that day, through faith. The faith actually began with Deborah who had the courage to summon Barak, a military commander, and give him an order in the name of the Lord. The faith that finished the day was the brave act of an itinerant desert woman, Jael. Barak received the recognition in the Book of Hebrews, for after all, he had the faith to follow and obey a woman, God’s prophetess, Deborah.
Deborah will always be the hero in my mind. She was a prophetess and a judge, but she was also a simple housewife who sat under a palm tree and dispensed wisdom to those who came to her. I grew up having the vision in my mind of myself sitting under a palm tree and sharing God’s Word with all who would come. It makes me smile to think that in a way I am doing that now, but in a very 21st century way. I live in Hawaii and palm trees grow around my home and I am blessed to sit here at my laptop, which I can take outside under the palms if I like, and share God’s Word with people by writing and by providing Bible study lessons with people all over the world through the ministry of Disciplers.
As far as I’m concerned, everything God does is a miracle. The fact that faith could even dwell in my heart, or in any of our hearts, is a miracle. And everything God accomplishes through any of our lives is a miracle of faith. If you haven’t read Hebrews Chapter 11, the Hall of Fame of the faithful, I would encourage you to do so. And dig deeper into God’s Word to find out more about those faithful people. Then be encouraged and find the courage to step out in faith wherever God is calling you. Don’t be afraid to dream big, no matter how young or old you are. We are all miracles of faith.
P.S. I would also encourage you to read the story of Deborah, Barak, and Jael in Judges 4. And then, go on and read Chapter 5, the song of victory that Deborah and Barak sang together. I know you will be blessed!
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.