Judges is one of my favorite books in the Old Testament. It is a continuation of the story of Israel’s formation as a nation and people in the promised land. There is a cycle of events that starts out this way… “Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” over and over and over again this is the way the stories go. They suffer because of it and over and over and over again the Lord sends a righteous Judge to deliver the people.
Some of the stories are tragic, others heroic, and still others have no small amount of humor or irony. One of these stories is about the Judge Deborah. You got it, one of the greatest hero’s of Israel’s earliest days is a woman. Deborah if I remember right means bumblebee, and bumblebee’s if I have my biology right, primary job is to spread pollen. Deborah’s job is to spread God’s word to enable the growth of his people.
In todays story Barak, (means lighting I think) is not so bold as the bumblebee. He is called to lead the army agains the Canaanites, but he won’t go unless Deborah goes with him!
The job gets done, not because of the flash and brash of Barak, but because a fuzzy bumblebee trusts in God’s promise. Over and over again the best, boldest and brightest are not the ones who shine as examples of faith, the hero’s of scripture most often are not the ones we would imagine. God uses the soft and the fuzzy where the bold and daring fear to tread. Over and over and over again, I have seen this in action in the church and in the world. The hero’s are very often not those we would most often expect and the heroic is often done is subtle ways, and in small acts that often get overlooked much as a bumblebee dancing from one flower to the next ensure that there will be flowers next year.