Summary: 2 of 5 on the book of Judges. This message is on Deborah and features a monologue that was presented by Betty Stacy who performed as Deborah.
The Verdict on Judges
One Decision from Victory
I am Deborah. I have had many roles in my life. First, and foremost I was just a humble homemaker, the wife of Lapidoth; a mother in Israel. But then I became a counselor to my people, next, a judge in their disputes, and finally a deliverer in time of war. I have been compared to Joan of Arc because like her, I rode in front of the Israelite armies and led them to victory. Appointed by God, and chosen by common consent of the people, I attained the high position of a judge: the only woman to do so.
After our great leader Joshua died, we rebelled against the command of God to drive the wicked and evil Canaanites from the land of Palestine. We were not only disobedient in allowing the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and the Jebusites to remain and live among us, but we intermarried with them, and began to worship their Gods. We did evil in the eyes of the Lord. No wonder he was angry with us and allowed them to become our enemies, to plunder and to conquer us. But when things became too evil, and we were in great distress, we would turn to the Lord for help, and he would raise up a judge to save us. As long as that judge was alive our people were saved by our compassionate God. As soon as that judge died, the people turned to ways even more corrupt than before, refusing to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
First God raised up Othniel who overpowered the King of Aram and delivered our nation; then Ehud became judge, followed by Shamgar. The people followed each of these brave and mighty men until their death, when they returned to wickedness in the eyes of God.
After Ehud and Shamgar, God allowed the Israelites, because of their disobedience, to be sold into the hands of Jabin, King of Canaan. Jabin had been oppressing our people for twenty years. It was at this time that I began leading Israel as a prophetess. I held court under a palm tree between Ramah and Bethel. People came to me for help asking me to settle their disputes. I sat under this mighty palm and gave counsel as God gave me wisdom. But, I became frustrated and indignant at the weakness of our men, who seemed to be fearful of our enemies. I felt a call to rise up against their fear and complacency. And so I sought out Barak, who in the past had been one of Israel’s most capable military men. I sent for him to come from his home in Kedesh and together we worked out a plan for action against the enemy. I let him know that I was not afraid of Jabin, and I was not afraid of the commander of his army, Sisera, or of his 900 iron chariots. I reminded him that God had led our people out of the mighty oppression of Pharaoh; helped us cross the Red Sea and for forty years protected us in the wilderness. I told him that our God was mightier than Pharaoh or Jabin or Sisera.
When he still seemed fainthearted, I commanded him to "Go and pick out 10,000 men from the tribes of Napthali and Zebulun. And I convinced him that God WOULD deliver Sisera and his chariots and his multitudes into his hands."
Imagine my surprise when he, a mighty warrior, said, "If you will go with me, I will go. But if you won’t go with me, I won’t go." Without hesitation, I declared triumphantly, "I will surely go with you, but because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman." Indeed, I did not need to sit home and ponder the matter. I arose immediately and went with him for I firmly believed that God would be our strength.
But when Barak saw how poorly armed the 10,000 men of Zebulun and Napthali were in the face of Sisera and his multitude of men and chariots, I had to urge him on, saying, "Go, for this is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?" AND IT WAS SO. The Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and his army by the sword. Sisera, himself, had to abandon his chariot and flee on foot.
He fled to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, thinking he would be safe there, for there had been friendly relations between Jabin, the King, and Heber. Jael went out to meet Sisera, inviting him into her tent and saying, "Come my Lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid." So he entered the tent and she put him to bed. He asked for a drink of water and she brought him milk, comforting and covering him. But, when he fell asleep, Jael took a sharpened tent peg and a hammer, and drove the peg though his temple into the ground. And he died.