Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why Wait Twenty Years?

Why Wait Twenty Years?

by Susan Barnes

Deborah, the prophetess, wrote a song after she and Barak had defeated Jabin and his Canaanite army which concluded with these words. "So may all your enemies perish, O Lord! But may they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength" (Judges 5:31). Deborah pictures God's people as being like the sun whose heat grows stronger as the day progresses.

Perhaps this imagery appealed to Deborah because it reflected her own life's experience. Under Ehud the land had known peace for eighty years but after his death, Jabin, the Canaanite king had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. Then one day Deborah called Barak because it was time to attack Jabin's army.

Why wait twenty years?

God waits for us to grow in faith. We have different expectations of fruit trees that have just been planted to fruit trees that are 20 years old. Likewise God often waits until we are more mature before He asks us to act in certain situations. For 80 years the Israelites had not needed to fight a battle. It would now take time for the people to become battle ready and for Deborah to learn to know God's voice. Deborah settled the disputes of her people (4:5) and no doubt it was during this time that she learnt to hear God's voice and trust His direction. When the time came to act she would need to know with certainty that God had indeed spoken to her.

If you have been a Christian for more than 20 years it is interesting to consider if over that time your faith has grown stronger like the rising sun. Do you trust God more now than you did when you first believed? Is it easier to hear and know God's voice?

Susan Barnes likes to think of herself as a writer who works part-time as a library technician. She has been writing devotional articles, book reviews and church news columns for over 15 years. She lives with her husband in a small town on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. She blogs at A Booklook.

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