Judges 4:8-9 “Then Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.’ She said, ‘I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.”

Observation: Israel was in captivity due to disobedience, and Deborah, the nation’s prophetess, told Barak, an Israelite military commander, that if he would lead the army against the enemy, God would deliver the enemy into Barak’s hands. But Barak was fearful, and agreed to obey only if Deborah would go along. She immediately said that she would go, but that in doing so, a woman, rather than Barak, would get credit for the victory.

Application: As parents, we begin early to instill confidence in our children to respond positively and instantly to instruction. We speak encouragement to them, hoping to teach them to do more than they believe possible. In the instant we take our hands off the bicycle seat so the child will realize his abilities are greater than he thought, fear strikes his heart. But such fear is a passing thing; it is founded on the simple need for greater skill development, which comes quickly as forward momentum carries him along.

Fear misapplied is an awful thing. Barak’s fear, for example, revealed lack of confidence in his leader. He allowed the enemy to loom too large as he considered all that might go wrong. How many times have I been confident in knowing God’s instruction, yet fearful in its execution?  Once such fear has become rooted in the mind, it then moves to the heart, paralyzing any desire to do right. Finally, it takes over the will and derails any intention of obedience.

Fear’s opposite is faith—faith to obey God’s instruction and then to trust that any result is something He can use for good, either in my life or in the person or situation I am dealing with.

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for those times when I have known what You wanted me to do or to say, yet failed to act because of fear. I ask You to so bind me to Your purposes for my life that I would never again permit fear to govern my words or actions.