Prophecy and Doubt
24 x 36
Gouache, pen, and pencil on canvas
The prophetess insists there will be victory. But how can the people look to God for divine deliverance when they have turned their back on him? Plus, the enemy is formidable and better armed.
Barak listens respectfully as Deborah waxes eloquent about the assured victory waiting for Israel; yet he struggles to share her confidence. An understanding of what was going on during this era of our forebears' journey with God may provide insight.
FIGHTING MORALE: CRUCIAL
TO WINNING THE BATTLE
Confidence and the sense of impending victory are critical for soldiers as they engage the enemy in a life or death clash. But the army Barak would have to assemble would enter the conflict from a negative perspective. This was because they all knew the real reason why this feared enemy was coming against them—and it was directly traceable to their own actions.
SELF DETERMINATION=SELF DESTRUCTION
THE PRICE OF HESITATION
Barak still lacked the confidence to lead the battle, so he told Deborah he wouldn't go unless she went with him. Deborah agreed to accompany him, but the trade off was that the journey he took would not be for his own honor, and God would sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.
GOD HELPS IN TIME OF CRISIS NOT BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN PERFECT, BUT BECAUSE OF HIS FAITHFULNESS, LOVE AND MERCY
The Judge and prophet(ess) function as the spiritual communication between Israel and God, and God's word to them is to prepare for battle. But there is still a terrifying army to contend with. They will definitely need supernatural help to face such immense danger.
The narrative refrain throughout the first half of the book of Judges is "Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord." The Israelites were in the state they were in because some of the tribes failed to drive out the inhabitants of the land deeded to their inheritance—as God had commanded. Israel became comfortable mingling with fertility cult worshipers, and ultimately adopted their idolatrous practices and lifestyles.