Hey y’all! Hope everyone is having a great week! We have a women’s bible study once a week at church. I love the fellowship we have and I have learned so much! Right now, we are going through the women of the bible in chronological order. It’s great because we are talking about the popular and known, as well as the lesser known women.
This week was all about Deborah from the book of Judges. Y’all, this woman was a beast among women of the Bible!! I had heard of her, but never really studied her out like I have Ruth or Esther. She was really a huge player in some of the first stories of women in leadership in the Bible. She is found in Judges 4 & 5. The time of the Judges came about during the time of the children of Israel and their refusal, most of the time, to live the life God had asked of them. Instead of taking the cities they were told, they intermingled with some of the Canaanites in the different cities and began going along with their traditions and even worshiping their Gods.
“11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people who were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. 13 And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. 16 Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so.” Judges 2:11-17
The judges came along one at a time to restore peace and some semblance of Godliness back to the people of Israel (this is a very condensed version of Judges 1-3. It’s a great read when you can go through it). Deborah was one of those judges, and the only female judge God brought up. She was also a prophetess. She was literally the only person of her time that God would speak to and show things to come. What a huge deal that is for anyone, but especially a woman in the Old Testament!! Deborah broke through the norms of her time because of the love she had for God. Deborah waited under a palm tree for the children of Israel to come to her for judgment. Deborah called upon Barak who led the army of Israel and said,
“6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? 7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. 8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. 9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.” Judges 4:6-9
She told this man, who the Lord of Israel commanded, that he was to go and take a huge army to Canaan and take Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army. She said he would be delivered into his hands. God commanded! He had predestined this and was telling them it was time to go. Deborah gave the message as it was given, but Barak needed more assurance. I don’t know if he was scared, or if he thought it wouldn’t be a blessed mission if she didn’t go, but he said he would only go if she went also. Deborah, the ever faithful prophetess agreed to go, but not before telling Barak that this would not be to his honor but that the Lord would sell Sisera into the hands of a woman. Oh goodness was she right!
“14 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. 15 And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. 16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.” Judges 4:14-16
Deborah said, “is the Lord not gone before thee?”. She knew He had because she believed what He had told her. Because of Deborah’s firm belief in God, and her courage to break through the social norms of her time, she helped lead an army to the battlefield and win! Even though she did not fight in the physical warfare, she fought in spiritual warfare when others feared or did not trust that God had gone before them. Sisera also literally ended up falling to the hands of a woman. Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite (there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite) told him to come into her tent and hide. She went out and got a hammer and a tent-peg and drove it through his temple. When Barak came looking for him, Jael handed him over.
It just amazes me the responsibility Deborah was given. Then I began thinking about why she was the one God chose, the one He spoke to…because she LISTENED! She listened to God and had her spiritual life in a place where she was able to hear Him. We spend so much of our prayer time talking, asking, pleading, questioning…but how often do we actually stop to listen to what He may have to tell us? We have the power of the Holy Spirit in us if we have given our hearts to God. That amount of untapped power and potential is unfathomable! Think of the change that we could bring about in the world if we took the time to LISTEN and take the leadership of God seriously! I pray we can all stop and listen to Him! You know He has amazing things to tell us if we are willing to listen!
Love and prayers,