Summary: What can we learn from a revival led by a woman of strong faith? How did Gideon’s leadership reveal that it is God who gives the victory?

What can we learn from a revival led by a woman of strong faith? How did Gideon’s leadership reveal that it is God who gives the victory?

Deborah is the main character in this revival, simply because Barak would not engage the enemy without her. The story starts off with a familiar theme: Israel did evil, again. Prophetess is the more accurate translation, over our modern preference for the gender neutral term prophet, because it is a feminine word in Hebrew. Predicting a victory, at God’s command, she engaged Barak to lead her army. Triumph and 40 years of peace were secured (Judges 4-5).

We should neither overestimate the role of Deborah, nor underestimate it based upon liberal or legalistic prejudices. Should we see this as prescriptive or descriptive as with so many other biblical texts? Respect and love are important, no matter which side of the issue of women in church leadership we fall. Each of us has value to God and there is no excuse for oppression of women. Other more important issues must take priority rather than taking to the extremes of liberalism and legalism.

The rhythm of sin and punishment, repentance and revival returns again. Cycle through any revival and the pattern is clear. Repeating the same sad story has not really changed in modern times. Over the same issues, human problems keep recurring. And humanity’s basic problems have not really changed. Over and over, again and again, we choose unfaithfulness to God and create our own woes. Is there a reason? Mind-blowing ignorance of the consequences of sin has time and again brought civilizations to their knees.

Israel sinned again and so suffered ongoing harassment from a neighboring tribe. Again, they cried out to the Lord for help, so God reminded them of their disobedience. Mercifully, God told Gideon that he would free Israel from these plunderers. Helped by God, Gideon received several signs and someone’s dream encouraged him. To win was a great victory, by causing the enemy Midianites to flee in fear was miraculous, and there was peace in Israel for 40 years (Judges 6-8). Victory soon faded after Gideon died, as Israel returned to their idolatrous ways.

Rejoice, lovers of God, that revival involves victory over oppression, and can come via a woman of strong faith who encourages a weaker man in the battle. Rejoice, for the mercy of the Lord, who willingly answers our prayers, repeatedly reviving us from spiritual death at our own hands.

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