Through Deborah the prophetess, the word of the Lord was given to Barak to assemble a relatively small army from only two tribes of Israel. With ten-thousand soldiers, Barak would go to battle against the mighty forces of Jabin, king of Canaan. It was meant to be a lopsided battle with Israel seriously outnumbered to show that God can deliver by many or by few.
The unusual twist in the narrative is when Barak refused to go through with the mission without the presence of Deborah. He said, “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) At first glance it appears to be a very unmanly thing to do. But could there be more to the story?
Barak’s demand that Deborah accompany him to battle has been interpreted by some as a sign of cowardice and weakness. But if that is true, how do we explain Barak’s appearance among the heroes of faith? Rather than cowardice and weakness, Barak’s ultimatum could have been a sign of great faith!
Deborah was the Lord's representative in Israel. In her office as prophetess, she represented the presence and power of God during that particular time. The fact that Barak refused to go to battle without Deborah indicates his complete trust in the Lord; that without God he would surely fail, but with God he would succeed (even with a seriously outnumbered army). By the way, Moses did the same thing in Exodus 33:15 when he refused to proceed in the journey to the Promised Land without the presence of God.
Rather than an indication of lack of faith, the demand for Deborah's presence could actually be seen as a great act of faith; enough to land him in the hall of fame of the heroes of faith. Refusing to go through life without the presence of God is not a sign of weakness. Wise is the person who relies daily on the Lord. Learn to pray the words of the old song --
Every hour I need thee
Oh bless me now my savior
I come to thee”