Bible Society of South Africa
Carina Francke

Relationships – Day 8

People you need in your life: Deborah, who has your back

Bible text(s)

8Then Barak replied, “I will go if you go with me, but if you don't go with me, I won't go either.”

Judges 4:8GNBOpen in Bible reader

9My heart is with the commanders of Israel,

with the people who gladly volunteered.

Praise the LORD!

Judges 5:9GNBOpen in Bible reader

4And look out for one another's interests, not just for your own.

Philippians 2:4GNBOpen in Bible reader

Due to a lack of male leaders in Israel (Judges 5:7), Deborah acted as judge and prophetess for her people. God commanded her to send Barak to save Israel from their oppressors, the Canaanites. With a simple strategy from God and His promise that He will give the enemy in Barak’s hands, she calls on Barak to go to war. However, this is not assurance enough for Barak — he requests Deborah’s presence to go into battle: “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!” (Judges 4:8). Maybe this request had something to do with her attitude towards people: “My heart is with the rulers of Israel who offered them willingly with the people” (Judges 5:9).

Taking into account the minor role women played in ancient society, Deborah’s relationship with God and her strong spiritual leadership must have impressed Barak tremendously. He felt safe with her. In modern terminology, we will say that Barak called on her to have his back — a person who is always ready to support or defend someone.

Martin Luther had someone like that when he nailed his 95 Theses on the church door of Wittenberg. When the religious leaders lashed back at him, Friedrich, the elector of Saxony, called him aside and said: “Marty, I’ve got your back.”

Is it then only people who have the ability to do great things or perhaps facilitate radical changes, that need someone to have their back? No! Everyone needs a human shield for his back; someone who walks beside you and pray for you, because on life’s journey there might be someone waiting to stab you in the back, trying to ruin either your integrity, spirit, calling, or God’s dream for your life. Baseless gossip and criticism is very often that person’s way of hurting people.

Back shields are people who cover you with their prayers, words of encouragement and sincerity. They are sensitive to not being disrespectful or subversive and willingly intervene when bullets start flying around. They take the back seat to be your strength and never hesitates to play a supporting role even if you are going to be the hero of the story.

Nevertheless, life is not all about someone having your back, but also about you having the back of someone else. Be a Deborah — not only for your contemporaries or friends, but also for the leaders and reformers of tomorrow: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others” (Philippians 2:4).

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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