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WEEK 3 May 15-21

LESSON 11

UNLIKELY HERO OF FAITH; BARAK THE FORGOTTEN MAN

LESSON TEXT:

JUDGES 4:4-17


MEMORY VERSE
And 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."  
(Judges 4:8 NKJV)

KEY TERMS
Forsake—To quit or leave entirely; to desert; to abandon; to depart from: to re­nounce; to reject.
Overlook—To fail to see or notice; to pay no attention to; to not consider (someone) for a job, position, promotion, etc.

Assurance-1. The state of being sure or certain about something. 2. A strong feel­ing of confidence about yourself or about being right.


SUGGESTED EMPHASIS

Have you ever been overwhelmed with a task that you thought was impossible? Have you ever felt that you were all alone and needed someone to make you feel more as­sured? Have you ever felt overlooked and disrespected? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then you can understand our next unlikely hero, Barak. Barak is not one of the most common individuals in the Bible. In fact, he was largely forgotten, even during his time, but God did not forget to mention him as one of the top people of faith. His unlikely rise will assist us as we seek to fulfill our purpose in God. There are three lessons that we can learn from Barak's life: (1) He did not believe the Word of God ( 2) He needed assurance from people and (3) he was overlooked. We read the sequential account of Barak's life in Judges 4. Let's explore:

Historically, during Barak's time, the people of God were suffering a great deal be­cause of their rejection of God. God was using the Canaanites to get the attention of His people. Their general Sisera was oppressing the people in many cruel ways. The judge who God placed over the nation was a woman named Deborah. She was a prophetess that spoke for God and judged the people in civil matters through the land. This woman was powerful and served the Lord's purpose beautifully. One day, the Lord spoke through Deborah and told her to summon Barak to her court. Deborah


stated prophetically, "Has not the LORD God of Israel commanded, 'Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand'" (Judges 4:6-7).

Barak was like many people today when they hear the Word of God—he simply could not believe it! We hear countless sermons, teachings, and encouragement but, believ­er, God must not be talking about us. It was easy for Barak not to believe because the task was impossible for him to accomplish. Even though he would take ten thousand men, Sisera's army was beyond number, and they had far superior equipment! This was an impossible situation. However, God often positions us in impossible situations so that He can get the glory. If it were easy strategically, then there would be doubt if God did it. He wants you and the world to see that only He can do it, such as when

He heals you after the doctor diagnoses you with a disease that is without a cure.
He wants to use you to bless the community even though you're not qual­ified.
He wants to give you a powerful ministry even though you have never been to Bible College.
He sustains you even though you are not making enough money to survive.
He promotes you on your job even though you are not the most qualified candidate.
He mends your marriage even after it seemed impossible to fix.

You see, God specializes in impossible situations that you cannot believe because He wants to show that He is God. Barak could not believe that God could do this thing. But he learned and we must remember that with God all things are possible!

Barak did not want to go alone. Since Deborah was the woman in charge of the coun­try, and she was speaking for God, Barak told her, "If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!" (Judges 4:8). I must admit that God never intended us to go about doing impossible ministry alone. This is why He placed us in the "body of believers." This is why it is important to be in a good church and run together with people of God that encourage you when you have impossible odds. We need a true church, not a political organization or a club. But we should be Bible-be­lieving people that are following Jesus Christ by faith and not by sight. However, we must remember something that Barak had forgotten. Even when it seems that no one else will go where God is sending us, God will always be with us. Even when people we love and trust seem to abandon us God says, "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me" (Psalm 27:10). Remember, He has promised to be with us always even to the end of the age! Barak needed Deborah, but God gave us Jesus to be with us through the seemingly impossible battles!

Finally, Barak has been forgotten largely because it was told to him by Prophetess Deborah, "There will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman" (Judges 4:9). There are times that you will do things for God and others will get the credit and the good name. People sang songs about Jael who killed the leader of the Canaanite Army, Sisera. People remember her and Deborah but rarely speak of Barak. However, God sees and knows what you have done that others have forgotten or do not appreciate. We do not work for the praise of people but for the glory of God. Barak has been mostly forgotten by man, but God listed him in the Hall of Faith! He may have hesitated, but God was pleased by his effort. Your appreciation comes from God. There are streets named after people who have been forgotten, but God never forgets! This is why God reminds us, "When you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly" (Matthew 6:3-4).

MISSIONS APPLICATION QUESTIONS

Barak is listed in Hebrews as a man of faith, but he did not believe the Word of God at one point. How do we overcome disbelief in God's Word?
Barak had an overreliance on others. How in your life have you had an overreliance on others?
How do you feel when you are overlooked?

WORLD MISSIONS PRAYER POINTS
Let us pray that in countries where Bibles are illegal, people will get the Word of God.
Let us pray for marriages around the world.
Let us pray that God will raise up men and women of God that will fight for Him.
Let us pray that our churches will have a spirit of cooperation and teamwork.