Scripture Focus: Judges 5.1-2, 9
1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song: 
2 “When the princes in Israel take the lead, 
when the people willingly offer themselves— 
praise the Lord!

9 My heart is with Israel’s princes, 
with the willing volunteers among the people. 
Praise the Lord! 

Student Writers Month:
This month, The Park Forum welcomes college and seminary student writers pursuing ministry careers. For more info about our yearly Student Writer program, see our website.

Reflection: The Willing and the Waiting
By Carolyn Westendorf

There is wisdom in waiting. We wait for our food in restaurants. We wait to be married to the love of our life. We wait and watch our children grow up. But waiting is not always the right decision.

Deborah’s song begins with a verse praising the willingness of God’s people to offer themselves to His purpose (Judges 5:2). Deborah led her people like a mother (vv. 7). Barak commanded the soldiers and freed captives (vv. 12). Tribes like Zebulun and Naphtali risked their lives (vv. 18). Issachar was faithful to the call to arms, rushing at the heels of the enemy (vv. 15). Jael killed the enemy in her tent and was blessed (vv. 24-27). These people were called noble (vv. 13). They willingly offered themselves for the Lord’s purpose.

In contrast, verse 16 wonders why the tribe of Reuben remains among their sheep when there is a call to arms to help their brothers. They are described as having “great searchings of heart” (vv. 15, 16). The way Reuben is pictured implies they know what should be done. They search their hearts to convince themselves to go.  However, they never come to a resolute decision. They linger in the familiar, finding comfort. They hesitate, letting time pass and their inaction decide what part they will play.

The people of Reuben were not just unwilling to leave their sheep. They were unwilling to offer themselves for the liberation of their brothers and for the cause of the Lord.

There is wisdom in waiting. But when waiting turns into hesitancy, hesitation becomes the choice to not act.

What if Reuben stopped searching their hearts, and instead searched the heart of God? Perhaps they would have joined with their brothers and be remembered with honor. What if we searched the heart of God instead of tempting our hearts with hesitation? By drawing closer to God’s heart, our desire could be drawn to action for His purpose, not to inaction for our comfort.

Deborah’s song praises those willing to act. It is these volunteers who resemble the Lord, the first willing deliverer (vv. 4-5). It is these people who are willing to make sacrifices, think of others as more important than themselves, and offer their lives for God’s purposes. 

The sacrifice of the willing becomes their legacy. The waiting of the hesitant becomes their undoing.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
You, O Lord, shall give strength to your people; the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace. — Psalm 29.11

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Judges 5 (Listen – 4:36)
Acts 9 (Listen – 6:05)

Read More about Readers’ Choice 2021
It is time to hear from you about the posts from the past eleven months (September 2020 – July 2021) that have challenged, comforted, and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Read more about Invisible Status
Jesus gives strength to those we mock for being weak.
Jesus elevates the lowly from the valleys to the peaks.