Summary: A Mother's Day message focusing on Deborah, a woman we need to know from the Bible.
Deborah the Encourager
May 12, 2013
Each year on Mother’s Day I preach about a woman I believe we need to learn about from the Bible. This year we’re going to look at an Old Testament woman, a very powerful woman, in fact she was the most powerful woman in the land of Israel in her day. Her name was Deborah.
Let me read the scripture from Judges 4, then unpack it, then I want to help us see what Deborah and in fact women can do to help men. After all, we need help don’t we, ladies? So, here we go ~
4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
5 She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment.
6 She sent and summoned Barak and said to him, “Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mt. Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun.
7 And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin's army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?”
8 Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”
9 And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.
10 And Barak called out Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. And 10,000 men went up at his heels, and Deborah went up with him.
12 When Sisera was told that Barak had gone up to Mount Tabor,
13 Sisera called out all his chariots, 900 chariots of iron, and all the men who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon.
14 And Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you?” So Barak went down from Mt. Tabor with 10,000 men following him.
15 And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak by the edge of the sword. And Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot.
16 And Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth- hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.
17 But Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael.
Deborah was prophetess, a wife, a leader, and one-person Supreme Court. But at the same time, even from her high position she encouraged Barak. Based on her example, I hope we can learn how to honor one another as men and women.
So, what happened in the story? God commanded Barak, the head of the Israelite army, to lead the army in battle. Barak's enemy was a man named Sisera. Barak was supposed to attack Sisera, win the battle, and secure peace for Israel. By the end of the story that happened - largely through the encouragement of Deborah.
Verse 8 tells us that Barak told Deborah, "If you go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go." Can you imagine what would happen if the commander of our armed forces in Afghanistan told President Obama, "If you go with me, I'll go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go?” When a commander gives you an order, you do it. But there was something about Barak that wouldn’t let him step out and be the man God called him to be.
Deborah could have fired him for his disobedience.
She could have replaced him with somebody better.
She could have taken over his job.
How many of us have done someone else’s job, because we thought we could do it better? Deborah could have shouted and berated him, "What's wrong with you? Why can't you step up and do what you've been called to do? Be a man!" But she didn't do any of those things.
She could have tried to fix him. Sometimes we try to fix people, but that usually fails. Some people get married because they think they can change their spouse. Guess what? We don’t have the power to fix others. Only God can fix broken people. When you love someone who is broken and they need fixing, all you can do is ask God to change them, and ask God to give you strength to deal with their brokenness.