Deborah Part 7: A Supernatural Ministry
This article explains how the battlefield of our mind can be turned into a beautiful garden of peace and rest. This will happen as we go through a process in which our mind is renewed, a process requiring our cooperation and obedience to God’s ways. Only when our mind is renewed will God open to us a heavenly realm of power and the miraculous reserved for His end-time church.
And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go (Judges 4:6-8).
These verses will give us some specific insights into the way Deborah and Barak approached this great battle that was to bring a complete and lasting victory to the Israelites. We too are seeking victory over all the sin and defeat of our own lives as we battle the complexities of our own carnal nature and natural mind. Our mind is a battleground that God wants to turn into a beautiful garden of rest and peace. All of us must “be renewed in the spirit of our mind,” a process that occurs as we face life’s perplexities by making decisions based on the truth of Scripture rather than our own feelings or the dictates of society.
Renewing our mind requires obedience to God’s commands which can only be accomplished by faith and cessation of our old ways of thinking and acting.
My husband and I have always gone where God has called us to go and done as faithfully as we could the work he called us to, yet in 1985 we were faced with a situation where we were beginning to doubt God’s provision for us. We had accepted the call to pastor a tiny church in Newark, OH that met in a room of the local school. We were renting a double-wide on a 200 acre farm. The cold of winter had set in and we had no money to pay for a delivery of propane gas to fuel our furnace. We owned a kerosene heater that we put in the living room around which we and our two teenaged daughters huddled for warmth. All the other rooms were cold and the situation was getting unbearable.
In addition to this, we had discovered that the crawl space under the modular home was infested with rats. We would lie in bed at night under piles of blankets listening to rats trying to gnaw their way into our house.
One evening after a few weeks of enduring this situation, my husband made a decision. He said, “Pat, God doesn’t intend for us to live like this. I’m going to call the gas company tomorrow and have them come fill this tank. We came here in faith to serve this church and I know God will come through for us.”
The next day after the gas tank was filled, we found a letter in our mailbox from an old friend in Indiana with a check in it for the exact amount of the gas bill along with a note saying, “God told me to send this to you.” We had not voiced our need to anyone but God!
In addition to this, it turned out that a woman in our church worked for an exterminator. Upon hearing about our rat problem, she came out to the house one day and tossed four kinds of rat poison into the crawl space, and that was the end of the rats!
It is through trials such as this that our mind is renewed. We learn that God is with us in our tribulations and He will provide. This transformation of our mind is a slow process that transpires over time through the experiences of everyday living.
Deborah is one whose natural mind has achieved a high level of renewal as we saw in our previous articles. This will also be examined further on in our study when we explain why “there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite” (v. 17) with Jabin being the natural mind (as established in a previous article) and Heber our spiritual mind (as will be explained in a future article). There comes a time in our spiritual development when our natural mind no longer balks at God’s ways, yet it has not the capacity to perceive the deeper more supernatural existence God wants to bring us into. This is when the spiritual mind, that has developed over time as a result of our daily faithful responses to life’s challenges, needs to take over. God will bring us to a place in the end times where our natural thinking will be over and done with, but this will only occur after Sisera, our flesh, is defeated.
Society and life as we understand them are going to come apart at the seams. God said He would shake everything that can be shaken and that nothing would remain except that which is rooted and established in Him (Heb 12:26, 27). Is our government rooted in Jesus Christ? No! Is any other world government rooted in Him? Absolutely not! How is humanity to survive when everything crumbles? By pressing into God, dying to all this world can offer us and entering into a new level of supernatural living where miracles become commonplace.
When we had no propane to heat our house, we had a friend whom God called upon for our aid. But what if everyone we knew was poverty stricken? What if there was no more propane to fill anyone’s tank? What if there was no kerosene to fill our heater? How would we live?
Beloved, this is where our world is headed. How many disaster relief programs can the U.S. government sustain? How many can other governments sustain? People gave to aid the survivors of the tsunami of Dec. 2004. People have given to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, and to help the Pakistanis recover from their great earthquake of 2005. We will come to a time when there is nothing left to give, but natural disasters and manmade disasters will continue. What will people do?
Our God is even now preparing for these times of total devastation. He is preparing a people—people who are willing to forsake all to follow Him—people who are willing to have their selfish sin nature completely burned up in God’s crucible of affliction. As they press into God, they will come forth in a ministry of supernatural power such as the world has never seen. These are ones to whom heaven will be opened. The hoards of hell will tremble and flee from their presence. They will go forth and minister in the church to bring others up to their level of faith and victory. The true church will be a glorious thing to behold. As the darkness of these last days increases, her light will shine as a beacon of hope to the world.
As our base of natural provision is shaken out of existence, we will emerge into a supernatural realm of provision. Heaven will be opened to us. Nothing will be impossible. God can only give this power to persons totally dead to self (Sisera annihilated) in whom the natural mind (Jabin) is destroyed.
On the surface it appears Deborah is in control, but actually she is merely repeating God’s command. She is asking Barak a question when she says, “Hath not God commanded…” We see Barak’s authority when he says, “If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.”
People have a tendency to read Barak’s response and think, What a wimp! He is afraid to go into battle without Deborah, a woman, going with him! However, as our spiritual eyes are opened to see God’s wonderful allegory, it is perfectly consistent with God’s ways. He isn’t going to change us without our cooperation! If we aren’t willing to put the Christian disciplines in place, seek His face and take up our cross, we will never be victorious over our sin nature. In other words, we have to go with Him. We cannot change our self, God has to do that, but He will only do it with our cooperation.
Verse six states that Deborah “sent and called” for Barak. She did not just send for him or just call for him, but she sent and called. The fact that two action verbs are used here indicates she was making sure this communication transpired; she wasn’t taking any chances.
The first thing we notice here is that the Hebrew word for “sent,” shalach, basically means “to send in the sense of to initiate and to see such movement occurs” and “to successfully conclude such an action.” Deborah took the initiative here in sending for Barak (a type of Christ). Many Christians are waiting for God to do something in their life when all along God is waiting for them to initiate the action through prayer, Bible study, cessation of sin, etc. If I did not initiate an action towards God every day by praying and studying the Word, I would have no web site, no books and no ministry.
There are certain “givens” clearly laid out for us in the Scriptures that many of us ignore. Jesus said, …pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:36).
When terrible things happen in life, we are tempted to blame God and say, “Why didn’t you protect me? This is your fault!” We often don’t stop to think, this calamity came upon me because I was prayerless. I was living my life without consulting God first with my decisions. I wasn’t giving him first place in my life. Often the calamity that befalls us is actually an idol in our life that is crashing down (i.e. our job, a loved one—someone or something we have placed as the center of our life over and above Jesus Christ).
Sometimes we initiate an action toward God but don’t follow it through to completion. How easy it is to begin praying for something and after a few weeks or months when it doesn’t come to pass, we give up. Perhaps we made a decision for daily Bible study, but distractions came along and it got pushed aside.
It is difficult for us to hang in there with God until something comes to completion when we fill our minds with movies and TV shows where every problem is solved in an hour or two. No wonder Jesus said, When the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on earth? (Luke18:8). The average American watches over four hours of television per day. This adds up to 60 24-hour days or two months per year! If we prayed for fifteen minutes every day it would only amount to 3.8 days per year. Perhaps this has something to do with the weakness and absence of miracles we see in the church of North America today.
God wants us to be like Jacob wrestling with the angel when he said “I won’t let go until you bless me.” God is looking for people who will grab hold of Him and hang on no matter what until that blessing comes. Sometimes the blessing isn’t what we expected. Surely that has happened to me. I’d be holding on to God for something I wanted to come to pass which never did, but what I got was more of God. I got something better! What happens in the process of holding on is more important than that for which we were holding on!
God said to Abram, I am your shield and your exceeding great reward. Truly there is no reward, no thing on this earth, which could possibly compare to having more of Jesus! But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (1 Cor 2:9). When Paul said this he was quoting Isaiah. If we look at this verse in context in Isa 64, we see it is speaking of the presence of God. Why did the early Christians risk torture and death to meet together? They weren’t risking their lives to gather someplace to go through a ritual. They came together to experience the presence of Jesus in their corporate meetings. They had something many of us have never experienced—the presence of Jesus in His glory and power coming upon them, filling them with indescribable peace, joy and rapture. That is what I want! Probably everyone reading this article wants that too, so why aren’t we experiencing it in our churches? I can only conclude we are too busy with other things. We have become like the soil that produced only thorns; the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches have choked the Word so that no fruitfulness can be in our lives.
We have seen in the verb “sent” (shalach) that Deborah initiated and saw to a conclusion her communication with Barak. In addition to sending, she also “called” (qara), a Hebrew verb meaning “to call out loudly” and “sustained communication.” Can raising the level of our voice get God’s attention? Of course not! But I believe sustained communication is what God desires and answers. How can we maintain sustained communication? One way is by practicing the presence of the Lord. We can train our mind to think about Him in all our activities. (An excellent book on this is The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.)
My husband and I own a cabin in the mountains of New York surrounded by woods and farm fields. Our neighbors have invited us to ride our ATVs anywhere we want over an area of 1000 acres (300 of which comprise an ATV park). When I ride my ATV, I imagine Jesus sitting on the bike with me, and I talk to Him as I ride. He wants to be included in everything we do—even playtime—and healthy adults need to play!
I believe another form of sustained communication that calls out loudly to the Lord is seen in our daily living. God observes us as we go through the routines of life—going to work, taking care of children, interacting with neighbors or strangers—and how we act communicates to Him our desire for His presence. A life of obedience and surrender to the cross calls loudly to the Lord. One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Chron. 16:9, For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. I want to be one who gets His attention and His strong support!
Earlier we established Barak as Jesus, the Son of God, returning for His bride in the end times. He is called Barak, Son of Abinoam in our allegory. The name “Abinoam” is found nowhere else in Scripture but here. “Abinoam” means “father of pleasantness” from two Hebrew words, ab meaning “father,” and noam meaning “agreeableness, delight, splendor, grace and beauty.” These adjectives are all apt descriptions of God. So Barak, son of Abinoam is really Jesus, Son of God.
Deborah sends and calls for Jesus the Son of God and He comes to her out of Kedeshnaphtali. Keep in mind that all the action seen in the Deborah account is transpiring within us in our soul and spirit. Therefore, Kedeshnaphtali represents a place within us. Jesus dwells in our spirit, so Kedeshnaphtali must be in our spirit.
We can see this truth further illustrated in the New Testament. Keeping in mind the principle that outward things have spiritual inner counterparts, let’s look at a few facts about Jesus’ life on earth in human flesh.
He entered this world in a town called Bethlehem. Bethlehem means “house of bread,” and we know from Scripture that our bread is the Word of God. In order to believe in Jesus, we first have to receive the Word…someone testifies to us, we hear the Word preached or perhaps reading the Bible convicts us of the truth, but it is by the Word that the great event of Bethlehem happens in us as Jesus is born in our heart.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but He grew up in Galilee, and Galilee was “home base” for Him during His ministry years. Similarly we must have a place within that corresponds to Galilee. This is important to our understanding of our Judges Four study because Kedeshnaphtali was located in Galilee (Josh 21:32).
In Hebrew, Galilee means “a circle.” Strong’s concordance tells us the proper noun for Galilee, Galiyl, is the same as another word, galiyl, that means “a ring (as round).” A circle or a ring is something without beginning or end and has become a symbol of eternity. The eternal part of us is our spirit. So Jesus comes into our life via the Word (Bethlehem) and grows in us within our spirit (Galilee) as we mature in Him. This is not to say He comes as an infant. We are the infant, and as we mature in Christ, His attributes are manifested in our life in ever-increasing dimensions, and thus He is said to “grow in us.”
Galilee was the territory given to Naphtali and Zebulun when the Israelites took the land of Canaan, and these are the two tribes that participated with Deborah and Barak in the battle against Sisera and Jabin. Jesus came to the territories of Naphtali and Zebulun when he was on earth living and ministering in the area of Galilee. As Jesus approaches in His second coming we will be meeting with him in the spiritual counterparts of Naphtali and Zebulun. This is a deep subject and one I cannot fully address in the Deborah series. They represent parts of ourselves that are in our spirit (Galilee) and represent our spiritual mind (Naphtali) and spiritual body (Zebulun). These parts of us died or went into a deep sleep when Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden due to sin. The Lord will gradually awaken these parts of us as His second coming approaches. This is fully explained in my video series entitled The Second Coming of Christ Revealed in Jacob’s Twelve Sons available on this site.