During the time of the judges, the Israelites were stuck in a cycle that went something like this: the Israelites served God, they fell into sin and idolatry, they were oppressed by their enemies, they cried out to God, God raised up a judge, the Israelites were delivered, and they went back to serving God. When the judged died, the cycle began again.
When the judge Ehud died, the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So God handed them over to Jabin, king of Canaan. Jabin oppressed the Israelites for 20 years, and they cried out to God.
The Israelites went to Deborah the prophetess for help. Deborah was the judge at that time. Deborah called for Barak and gave him a clear message from God. God said to take 10,000 men to fight the Canaanite army. “I will lure Sisera commander of Jabin’s forces … and his army … to fight you,” God said. “I will hand him over to you” (Judges 4:7, emphasis mine).
The situation seems like a no-brainer. God basically said, “Go fight this guy. You’ll win.” Did Barak really have anything to lose?
As you teach kids the story of “Deborah and Barak” during Unit 9, Session 2 of The Gospel Project for Kids, consider prompting older kids to dig deeper into Barak’s actions. Use these questions and prompts as a guide:
- What did Barak say when Deborah told him to go to battle? (“If you will go with me, I will go. But if you will not go with me, I will not go”; Judges 4:8)
- Did Barak trust God to do what He said He would do? (No.)
- Lead kids to discuss situations which might cause them to hesitate. Point out that we often hesitate when we aren’t sure of the outcome. (Example: Trying new things.)
- Talk about the word bold. What do kids think it means? The word bold means “fearless before danger; willing to take risks.”
- Invite kids to find the following verses in their Bible. Make an “I Will …” list of things Jesus said He will do:
- When God calls us to do something, should we hesitate or be bold? Why? (Be bold. All things work together for the good of those who love God; Rom. 8:28)
God is the hero of the story of Deborah and Barak. He used people in His plan, but ultimately He gets the credit for saving His people from their enemies. Judges 5 is Deborah’s song of praise to God. In the Old Testament, God’s acts of grace toward His people looked forward to the cross. God uses people and events to save us not only from our enemies, but to bring about our ultimate good: salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.