Summary: She was one of Israel’s judges. She is a prominent woman of the OT, what can we learn from this story? We learn to trust God regardless of gender.
Deborah: The woman who would lead.
There is an old saying in the workforce. If the ironworkers won’t do the job, the carpenters will. It would suggest that if the ironworkers won’t build the structure, the carpenters will. However, that also suggests that the structure might not be exactly what we want or what we are looking for. It takes skill to do a task. Here is one of those situations where we see the idea, “if the ironworkers won’t, the carpenters will.” Lets see how it plays out here.
Deborah: her name means “honey bee.” Her vision of the world is not shaped by the political situation of her day, but by her relationship with God. Though women of the ancient world did not usually become political leaders, Deborah was what Israel needed, a woman, a prophetess, who heard God and believed him. She is a woman who had the courage needed. Her courage aroused the people, enabling them to throw off foreign oppression.
The cycle is once again illustrated for us. Israel had been delivered from their enemies, there was peace in the land, and after a few years of peace, Israel forgets God and turns toward idols. This time God uses the Canaanites from Hazor to discipline Israel. He oppressed Israel for 20 years. After they were oppressed, they cried out to God for help.
Why do you think God uses Deborah? Could it be she was the only one listening to God at the time? Several times in this book we will see how God uses women to do His work. Deborah serves us as a godly example with her servant like heart, her ability to delegate, her authoritative leadership and her willingness to serve God at any cost.
Deborah is a woman among men, she is brave, intelligent, trustworthy and confident of God’s word and presence. She rules Israel under a palm tree that bears her name. The Israelites will bring their disputes to her, but she is more than an arbitrator, she is a prophetess, one who acts between God and man and lets the people know God’s will.
If I were to comment here, I see her as I see Joan of Arc. She is an extraordinary woman. She is out in the field judging while her peers are at home weaving, she is prophesying while most women are home cooking meals. She goes into battle while other women are staying home with their children. I am not knocking stay at home Mom’s, I exalt them. It is not about what Deborah does, it is why she does it. God has asked her to do this, and no matter what the cost, Deborah acts in faith. She would have been just as willing to stay home and let the men lead, but God calls her. Why? Were there no men to do the task?
Some have said that in times when men are spiritually weak God uses women instead. It is probably more accurate to say the deeds and faith of the women were simply more evident in these times. For the Lord gives gifts and callings to all his people. If we don’t use them, we lose them, and they will be given to someone else. This is probably the case there.
Is this a warning to the church? Is it possible that God will raise up women to lead the church if the men don’t? I don’t want to find out. So as a man, I challenge the men to remain steadfast in their faith, so the women as well as the men, can do their ordained roles.
Deborah is one of several extraordinary women we find in the OT. There is an interesting note we will see as we read Chapter 4.
Deborah is sitting under the palm tree, it is called the Palm of Deborah, maybe because that is where she sat and held court. Read verses 1-5.
This day was a normal day in the life of Israel, Deborah set up court, and the people came to have their disputes settled. Such has been set up in the day of Moses. Why Deborah was called to do this we do not know for sure. No commentator dared to explore that issue.
Deborah then calls for Barak. Barak is considered by many commentators to be a noble warrior. Deborah, speaking for God, gives him a noble task, a gallant charge.
Read verses 6-7.
Where is faith? God says Go, we say Maybe. Give us a sign? Prove to me you are God? Today we have the written word, if we want to know what God says, we can read it. However, what if what God wants is to move us, like he did Abraham? What if he says “I want you to go to Iraq and settle the peace there, tell the Muslim leaders there to bow down to me and I will give them peace. Would we do it? Or would we question, is that really God speaking?