The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron. Judges 1:19
There is no record that the men of Judah attack these people and experienced defeat. Did they try or did they simply assume they wouldn’t be able to succeed because of the “chariots fitted with iron”? Even though God was with them and promised them the land.
It’s easy to talk ourselves into defeat before we even attempt something. We assess the risk, the superior resources of others and conclude we can’t accomplish our God-given task. We don’t even ask God how to overcome the difficulties. We believe the situation is too hard and nothing can change.
Later in Judges Deborah sings about God’s victory over their enemies who had chariots fitted with iron (4:13). It appears that God sent a storm which probably bogged the chariots (5:4, 21) as Sisera had to flee on foot (4:17). God enabled them to overcome those who were far better equipped. These Israelites not only didn’t have chariots, but didn’t have shields or spears either (5:8). Deborah succeeds where the men of Judah failed.
How often are we discouraged and disempowered by circumstances? How often do we look at our resources and not God’s? How often do we settle for less than God’s best?
Deborah waited and prayed for the right opportunity. The Israelites had been oppressed for twenty years before Deborah took action (4:3). Yet when the time was right, she was ready.
Likewise, we’re to be watchful and prayerful so when God wants us to act we aren’t overcome by limited expectations.