You know, it’s really interesting what can be found in the books in the Bible that at first glance don’t seem to be so, well, interesting. The book of Judges probably wouldn’t be in the top ten literary choices for believers, but it highlights some of the most amazing women!
This week, we are going to find out about a woman who made a huge contribution to the success of the Jewish people when they were faced with oppression from Sisera – the leader of the Midianites. Her name was Deborah, and her full story can be found in Judges chapters 4 and 5.
Deborah was one of the few women in the Old Testament who occupied a high-ranking leadership role within her community.
She was not only a judge but also a prophet and a songwriter! She was a person of high integrity and was sold out to serving God. She was known for making wise decisions, even if it meant she had to go the extra mile to help those who weren’t quite as enthusiastic or confident about carrying out God’s plans.
Judges tells us that Deborah was given a prophetic message to give to a man named Barak who was to take 10,000 soldiers to defeat Sisera and his army. Ok…this is huge! She was telling a man that God had told her to tell him, and a rather comparatively small group of Israelis, to go and face this terrifying and brutal militia that had around 900 iron chariots in their possession.
Barak must have taken a few minutes to see if Deborah was actually serious about what she said, but when she didn’t change her mind, he agreed to follow through – under one condition: Deborah had to go with him. (Hmmm…interesting request to have a woman go into a battle zone against a fearsome opponent.)
She agreed, but with one “small” piece of forewarning. If she went, he wouldn’t get the credit for the victory, she would. It seems that would be difficult for an army leader to accept, but Barak was willing to make that sacrifice. In the end, the Jewish army won the battle. Barak was later recognized as a hero, but Deborah was given equal respect.
Deborah was a woman who was committed to following God.
She had a ministry as a prophetess AND a judge who was fair in her decisions. She would have more than likely been fairly well-educated in the matters of the law as well as have a strong sense of responsibility and leadership, not to mention courage. Not only that, but she also had a husband and a family to care for.
What does all of this mean? How does this story apply to women in today’s society and/or ministry? This is not to say that we should all be workaholics, but it brings to mind the adage that to those who are given much, much is expected.
What are your strengths and talents? How can you use them in your own personal ministry? Deborah should be a role model for women in service for God. Stop a few minutes and think about what you have been given. If it’s a lot, then you have a lot to do!