The Leader of a NationNow Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. Judges 4:4-5
For context, read Judges 4 and 5
Many women face barriers in leadership roles because of the idea that women were not meant for leadership positions. But in Scripture we find the example of Deborah. She was a prophetess, meaning that she spoke for God. God had uniquely chosen her to be His mouthpiece during this period of time. She was also a judge in Israel and settled legal disputes for her people.
During the period of the Judges, the Israelites were in a vicious cycle of turning back to God and rebelling against Him. When the people rebelled, God allowed them to be oppressed which would drive them to cry out to Him. So God would raise up a judge to save them and they would experience a period of peace. Until they rebelled again…
This time, Israel had been oppressed by Canaan for 20 years before they cried out to the LORD. God answered their cries by speaking through a woman, Deborah. She summoned Barak and commanded him to march to Mount Tabor with ten thousand men. She assured him that the LORD had said He would give Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army into Barak’s hand.
But Barak would not go unless Deborah went along. Despite God’s promise of success, Barak lacked the confidence to move forward without Deborah. So, Deborah went along, but she prophesied that because of this, the honor of the victory would belong to a woman, not to him.
The day of the battle, Deborah commanded Barak, “Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?” (Judges 4:14
) Deborah provided the reassurance Barak needed to move forward. He listened to Deborah and pursued Sisera’s army until it was completely destroyed. Except for Sisera himself. He was on the run. But that is a story for next time.
The WORD about women in Deborah’s account is that God can lead through any gender. God specifically called Deborah for this role and spoke to His people through her. She led courageously, encouraging others with the promises of God. In her victory song in Judges 5:7
, she sang, “Villages in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel.” Deborah led as a mother of her nation. After Barak and Deborah’s battle, Israel enjoyed peace under her leadership for 40 years.
Sisters, the words of Deborah can inspire you, too. “Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?” You can lead those around you with courage and confidence-encouraging, reassuring, and bringing hope to others with reminders of God’s Word. ReflectWhat are some ways you can lead and encourage others where God has placed you? PrayFather, thank you for the example of Deborah. I want to be used by You, Lord, to encourage others to follow Your Word. Amen. We look forward to your comments and questions below!
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