Uncle Sam Wants You is among the most iconic of military recruiting posters. It dates back to the First World War. There have been many calls to arms throughout history. One occurred in the 12th Century B.C. during the the period known as Judges in the Bible. Barak called upon his countrymen to come and join the battle against their enemy. Some refused and some responded. The Song of Deborah recorded the battle with its heroes and zeroes.
The tribe Ruben refused the call. There was much second guessing in their ranks. They were victims of paralysis through analysis. Ruben was indecisive and did not share in the victory.
Gilead had chosen to remain on the other side of the Jordan when Joshua went in to take the country but they were required to help in the conquest on the other side of the Jordan (Joshua 1:12–15). The years had passed and because of the natural barrier between them, (the Jordan River) fellowship seemed to have grown cold. They refused the call.
Dan did not have the overcoming faith to take the land that God had promised. The Amorites had driven Dan into the mountain country. Their faith was weak and they missed the blessing.
Asher lived by the coast and worked with commerce, boats, trade. The enemies of Barak and Deborah were their customers. When God had called him to battle he stayed and did “business as usual.” They had no vision for the work of the Lord.
The harshest words were against Meroz: “'Curse Meroz,' said the angel of the LORD. 'Curse its people bitterly, because they did not come to help the LORD, to help the LORD against the mighty.'” (Judges 5:23)
Failure to participate is considered an abomination. God expects His people to become involved in his work. Non-involvement is unacceptable.
There is praise for those respond: “Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.” (Judges 5:2)
An important theme in Deborah's song of Victory is the willingness of the leaders and people. They did not hesitate as the others did. Zebulun and Napthali will always be remembered as the tribes that risked their lives for God.
God uses those who respond. God will only use a person to the extent of their surrender but God will get his work accomplished.
Are you a refuser or a responder? Will you be indecisive? Uncaring? Unfaithful? Too busy? Will the kingdom advance in your presence while you miss the blessing?
When the princes in Israel take the lead,
when the people willingly offer themselves
praise the LORD!