As we continue through Broken Heroes, we’re spending some time looking at Deborah and how God rewards those who are willing to be used by Him in His plans and purposes.

Read Judges 4.1–15.

One point that comes up over and over again in the book of Judges, and in the Bible as a whole, is that it’s always God’s plan that drives action. As much as we may focus on human actors, God’s plan and purposes drive history. We see this in the story of Deborah: God sells Israel to Jabin, He raises Deborah up to deliver Israel, and God gives victory to Barak’s army.

This is crucial for us to remember, even when it feels like history is random or cyclical. History may seem confusing or random to us, but that is because we don’t have the perspective to see how it all comes together in God’s great plan and purpose for the world. As our lives are more aligned with God’s plan, we will have greater degrees of purpose in our lives.

If we live our lives outside of God’s purpose, we may create lives that are comfortable and successful by the standards of our world. But they won’t fit into the greater purposes that God has for us, and they won’t be lived to their full potential. If we connect our lives with God’s plan, we’re able to live with purpose because we’re investing in something that will last for eternity.

It’s God’s plans that drive history, but it’s important to look at who he uses to carry His purposes out. One of the more obvious points of the text in Judges is that Deborah is a woman. Although God has a long history of calling women to do incredible things for His plans, women were still considered to be inherently weaker than and unequal to men during this time in history. The fact that God raised Deborah up to lead Israel shows that any person who is willing to put their faith and trust in God can be used to advance His plan in significant ways.

We need to ask ourselves if we are willing to use our faith to trust that God will use us for His plans. Do we have faith to believe that He will use us in big ways, and do we have faith to do the small things diligently?

Finally, it’s important that we look at the rewards of faithfulness. In verse 9, Deborah tells Barak that she will go into battle with him but that he won’t receive the honor for the victory. In other words, she’s saying that because he didn’t trust God’s plan and have the faith to follow it wholeheartedly, he won’t receive the honor that faithfulness yields.

Barak’s story is a reminder of the fact that God loves to reward and honor those who engage in faith-filled mission. When we one day stand before God, He will look at our lives and see if we lived with our own comfort in mind, or if we lived with an eternal perspective and faithfully followed His plans.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How have you seen God work through something that at one time seemed random or confusing? How can you remind yourself of these times when you’re tempted to believe that history isn’t driven by God?
  2. Have you spent time discerning how God might be calling you into His plan? If you have, are you actively pursuing that plan? If not, what’s holding you back?
  3. If you haven’t spent time discerning how God wants to use you, spend some time this week in prayer and ask Him to make it clear to you.
  4. Is there a time in your life when you stepped out in faith and took a risk for the sake of God’s plan? How did you see that risk and faith rewarded?