Success. We all want it. Nobody wants to lose, yet who do so few succeed? Deborah was a great leader of God’s people during a time when leadership was greatly lacking. In her successful victory over Sisera, Deborah composed and sang a song of success. Here are a few keys to success from Deborah’s song:
Lead. Leaders step out on a limb and try. Failure may happen, but at least you have tried. Nothing was going to change the downward spiral Israel was in unless someone did something. The people were living in fear (5:6, 7) until someone cared enough to overcome that fear and be willing to lead. People needed leaders to lead. Will you lead?
Unified Purpose. If we all move and work in different directions, we will not accomplish our goal. Imagine holding hands with someone. Next try running in different directions. You will make it to where you want to go, but not together. If both of you want to arrive together, you have to run together in the same direction. Deborah had to work with the leaders of the people (tribes) and then the leaders then had to work together with the people if any plan was going to succeed (5:9).
Willingness. Leaders and workers…both are needed. You can’t lead without people, and you can’t follow without a leader. Someone has to step up to lead, and someone has to be willing to follow. When leaders lead and followers follow, we can be successful and even be a blessing to the Lord (5:2, 9)!
Resolve. In order to accomplish the task ahead (in this case a military battle), then the people needed to work together with resolve. They needed commitment to the cause, not half-hearted involvement! One tribe, Issachar, was highlighted for supporting Barak. Notice they gained their encouragement from support they received from Deborah. Point: When we support others, we give courage that is relayed on down the line. However, courage isn’t enough…we still need “great resolves of heart” (5:15).
Risk. In any endeavor, there is risk. Deborah took a risk acting as judge for the people of Israel. But the risk was worth the effort because God was on her side. However, two tribes are criticized for being too cautious and staying at home: Dan and Asher. Dan stayed “on ships” or “at ease”, while Asher stayed home. They weren’t willing to risk the effort required to change and be blessed by God (5:17).
Another two tribes are praised for their “all-in” approach: Zebulun and Naphtali. Yes, there is always risk in battle. The people of Zebulun were putting their lives on the line, even risking death to accomplish the end goal (5:18). To them, the risk was worth the effort. To Dan and Asher, it wasn’t. If I want to be successful, I must face risk and have enough wisdom to know when it is worth it to dive “all-in” and when to be cautious and stay “at ease”.
Develop these qualities to gain success in your life. Do they work for you? What other qualities would you suggest?
Aaron Baker works with the fun church family at Foristell.