by Deborah Horscroft
From Joseph’s line came Deborah, the only female Judge over Israel. She brought the word of the Lord to the commander of Israel’s army, Barak. God promised them victory and gave them an unusual battle plan against a stronger foe that had iron chariots. Barak had faith in God’s promise, but asked Deborah to accompany him – just in case.
Like us, many of those we read about in the early years of Israel’s history had an imperfect faith in God’s promises, yet God was faithful to them. He honoured their struggles to uphold their responsibilities, even when those around them were turning from God. In His mercy He forgave their sins when they were repentant.
Hebrews 11 provides a tribute to many of the faithful, including some from the time of the Judges. It also reminds us what it means to have faith while we await the time when we shall be perfect.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for… And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; … whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. – the world was not worthy of them. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11: 1-2, 32-33, 38-40)