You'll also come across a character named Barak. Barak, to my limited knowledge, appeared to be a General of some kind. Only a military power would have the resources to be able to gather 10,000 men for battle.
Israel was also in need of some serious help. They had been oppressed cruelly for 20 years by a king named, Jabin. Verse 3 of chapter 4 says, they "cried out to the Lord for help..."
Deborah was also a woman sensitive to the Lord's voice. She instructed Barak to gather his men and go after Jabin. Psst...here's where the story starts to get interesting. Deborah continues to explain to Barak that "the road on which you are going will not lead you to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera (the kingdom of King Jabin) into the hand of a woman."
Let me sum up:
Barak is told to expend great energy, use up supplies, and go full force into battle
Maybe he thought...
...a woman? a woman will get all the glory for winning a man's battle?
...so, why am I doing this again?
...why am I about to waste my time?
Honestly, I don't really know what he thought. But I do know that he and Deborah rose up, collected the troops and began to advance the enemy.
The conclusion of this story is amazingly vivid and grotesque. King Jabin was brutally murdered by a housewife. In my opinion she should be the "poster-child" for a strong, powerful, and intelligent woman. (And you thought the Bible was boring and anti-feminist?)
So here's the thing:
there actually WAS great purpose in Barak's efforts!
"Michelle," Mrs. Learned, my student-teacher advisor in 2003 said to me one day, "everything I do, from where I place my chalk to how the desks are set up, are educationally purposeful for my students. So no matter what I do or say, my students will always 'run-into' learning. My actions are never wasted."
God works in a similar way.
Barak and his 10,000 men were needed so that Jabin would become frightened and flee...straight into the home of his soon-to-be murderer. Barak was just a pawn. A tool. In spite of the fact that he would not be the one to claim the victory.
...the next time you expend all your time, all your energy, (quite possibly) all your money...
...and you never get to experience "the glory" of your efforts
...and your tempted to say I did all that for nothing!?! What a waste of my time!
...it's not about you.It's about God's glory.
And your efforts were not wasted.But held great purpose.
For, you just may be the catalyst that sets Israel free.
Even if it wasn't you who got to hammer the tent peg into the temple of an unsuspecting king.
The providential hand of God
It's a wonderful thing.