“Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. She would sit under the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgment.” – Judges 4:4-5.
Even if you’ve never studied the Bible, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the story of Mary of Nazareth, who’s best known for giving birth to Jesus. However, there are plenty of other women in the Bible, from faithful servants to influential leaders. One of them is Deborah.
We learn in scripture that Deborah is a godly, inspirational woman who listens to God and responds with obedience to His word. She is courageous and willing to step out in faith to contend with the enemies of God. Deborah understands the power of collaboration and the need to work together to see God’s plans and purposes fulfilled. But she is also confident in her calling and her God-given gifts and talent. She does not waste any time in giving God all the glory for the victory and success that He brings.
The story of Deborah in Judges 4 and 5 begins like many of the stories in the Book of Judges—the Israelites sinned against the Lord, and He sold them out to King Jabin of Canaan. This lasted for 20 years until the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help. At that time, Deborah was leading Israel as a judge. She sent for Barak, a commander in Israel’s army, and told him to go and fight Jabin’s army led by Sisera. Barak said he would only go if Deborah went with him. Deborah agreed but told Barak the honor would not go to him because the Lord would deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman. When Barak’s army advances, the Lord routs Sisera’s army, and Sisera flees on foot. The Israelites fought against King Jabin until they destroyed him. Deborah and Barak sang a song of praise, and Israel had peace for 40 years.
Judges 5:7 (NIV) says, “Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel.” Notice the verse says no one in Israel would fight until Deborah “arose.” The Israelites were beaten down by 20 years of slavery. They were too tired and discouraged to fight. They needed someone to inspire them, and the Lord chose Deborah. If she had not been obedient to act on what the Lord told her to do, nothing would have changed. But she didn’t do anything. We need this kind of faith. The kind of faith that lets us trust in God’s plan, wisdom, and timing. Deborah is a wonderful example of what it’s like to trust God with our whole heart and not on our understanding.
The Lord will do the same with us. As we go deeper in our relationship with God, God will guide us to clarity around our call for this season of kingdom work. God can use many ways to confirm it to us over and over. As Christ followers, we embark on an exciting journey of serving the Lord.
So often, we are afraid to step out of our comfort zones and become everything the Lord has called us to be. Deborah in the Bible doesn’t question God’s voice or wonder what others will say or think; she simply has the faith to do what God tells her. Whether people follow or not is not her concern. Her only concern is doing what the Lord has called her to and not letting anything get in the way.
- Have you ever been thrust into service or responsibility in an unexpected way or at an unexpected time? How did you respond?
- Have you ever felt the need to know God was with you in a particular season or situation? What did you do?
- The summary description in Judges 4:23-24 reminds us that God has been at work. How have you seen God at work in your life?