There are many women in the Bible who were used by God to change the fate of Israel… at a certain point they all made a conscious decision to arise.
Imagine being a woman living some 3000 years ago in a Middle Eastern country… you would not expect a woman having a leadership role, but Deborah did. Even back then, the nation of Israel had other standards than their surrounding nations; women in Israel were highly esteemed and considered ‘the foundation of the home.’ They were seen as ‘women of worth’ and that is what we see in the life of Deborah.
Mother of Israel
Judges 4 and 5 tell us the story of this amazing woman. She was the wife of Lappidoth. One would think the husband would lead, but no… it was Deborah who led Israel in that time. There were no real leaders in Israel (5:7 ). She saw how the tribes were all doing their own thing, they left the Lord and chose gods for themselves. So she arose, like a mother of Israel and spoke the word of the Lord to Barak to go and defeat chief general Sisera of king Jabin of Canaan:
“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? 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.” (vs. 6-7 KJV)
Barak hadn’t obeyed, because he was afraid, although the Lord had promised to go with him: ‘I will give Sisera in your hands.’ Still, instead of trusting the Lord’s promise, Barak wants Deborah to go with him, otherwise, he would not go.
So both Barak and Deborah go out to war and the Lord goes before them, confusing the enemy. The whole army is defeated and Sisera hides in a tent of the Kenites. There he is killed by Jael, a woman.
A woman who knows her God
Why does this story speak to me? Because of feminist sentiments like…. Yeah, girlpower!? Actually… no! The story of Deborah speaks to me because she is a courageous woman. She held court under a palm tree in the hill country of Ephraim. Not only did she counsel people who would come to her for wisdom or encouragement, but also to make decisions that would end disputes. I believe it is not because of her own wisdom that people listen to her and take at heart what she had to say and I am pretty sure she did not rely on her own understanding. Reading between the lines we can see she was a woman who deeply loved and knew her God. A woman who did not only pray, but also listened to what the Lord had to say.
Let’s arise like Deborah
Deborah is not only a wise woman, she is also passionate. It could have been easy for her to withdraw within her family, but when she sees the needs in Israel and how the enemy is threatening to invade the nation, she decides to arise, like a mother in Israel. She reminds the people around her not to withdraw, not to be afraid but to stay put and trust the Lord, no matter what. She is a wise woman, because of her God, and she is passionate in her faith and trust in Him.
Stay put and trust in the Lord
That really speaks to me. We are living in a different time frame, but God has not changed. He still promises to go before us and fight our battles. There are many situations in this world that can be confusing, even scary… then it’s easy to withdraw and stay silent… ‘to mind our own business within our own church and family circle,’ but I want to encourage you and myself: ‘Let’s arise, let’s be like Deborah, full of wisdom that comes from God. Let’s be passionate for Him, not ashamed to speak out when needed and to praise Him for who He is. He is SO worth it.
But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.’ Daniel 11:32b