In Judges 5, Deborah and Barak burst into song over their victory against King Jabin and Sisera. Tucked away into this rather interesting song is a rather interesting piece of information: some of the tribes of Israel ignored the call to go to war. Instead of aiding their Israelite brothers, they stayed home. "The rulers of Issachar came along with Deborah, and Issachar followed Barak into the valley. But the tribe of Reuben was no help at all! Reuben, why did you stay among your sheep pens? Was it to listen to shepherds whistling for their sheep? No one could figure out why Reuben wouldn’t come. The people of Gilead stayed across the Jordan. Why did the tribe of Dan remain on their ships and the tribe of Asher stay along the coast near the harbors?" (vs 15-17)
One-third of Israel’s tribes decided, for some reason, to not join the fight against Jabin and Sisera. That’s a lot of missing people! But once again, God proves that He is able to work with what He’s got. He rolls with the punches and keeps on going. I like that about Him. Although help was requested from these tribes, God didn’t force them to comply. When they decided to ignore Him, He went ahead with the ones who answered the call and proved that victory is with Him—even when we’re not.
A couple days ago, I mentioned that God wants to help us learn how to deal in reality. And this is one of the ways He deals in reality—by taking our choices seriously. He doesn’t force us to do things; instead, He lets us decide whether we will opt in or out. Then, He proceeds to work with what He’s got. And, fortunately for us, He can do a lot with very little!