I’m going through the Book of Judges for my daily quiet time. In this post, I’ll focus on Judges 4:8-9. Deborah is a prophetess, and she wants for Barak to wage war against the Canaanite king Jabin, who has been afflicting Israel. In Judges 4:8-9, we read the following exchange (in the King James Version):
“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. And she said, 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. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.”
Deborah tells Barak that he would not get the glory for Israel’s victory over Jabin, for God would deliver Sisera (the captain of Jabin’s army) into the hands of a woman. How would I feel if I were Barak? Part of me would probably be upset, for I’m the sort of person who likes to be credited and applauded for my work.
And yet, on the other hand, I think that two things would militate against me being overly upset. First of all, there’s the importance of my work: I’d be helping to deliver Israel from oppression, which is good for my fellow Israelites and also for myself. And, second, I would not be alone, for Deborah would be going with me. When I feel isolated, that especially is when I desire glory in the eyes of others and feel resentful when I do not have it, for I am looking for some way to feel good about myself. But when I feel loved and supported by others, then my hunger for glory is not as obsessive.
At church several years ago, the Sabbath school teacher asked how many servants of God there are whose names we do not know. Someone in the congregation replied, “Most”, meaning that we don’t know most of the names of God’s servants! I think that it’s good to acknowledge people and their contribution. Yet, hopefully, even those who serve God anonymously can feel good by remembering that their work is important—-that it’s making the lives of other people better. And it’s even better if those who serve God anonymously do so with the support of people who accept them.