Posted by: Akash Vansal | June 26, 2011



After delivering the Israelites from bondage Moses was called to be with The Lord. And God worked through another faithful leader, Joshua, whom He used to lead Israel into victory over fierce, battle-tested warrior nations. Israel was well on its way to conquering the Promised Land. But after Joshua’s death, The people lost their zeal. The Israelites grew weary of driving out the Canaanites. The Israelites compromised with their idol-worshipping neighbors. They grew accustomed to their ungodly beliefs. As time passed, a new generation of Israelites came into adulthood, one that was easily enticed by the sexually loose and morally corrupt ways of the Canaanites.
During this period, God used judges—“deliverers”—to deliver His people from affliction. Sometimes judges led armies, as Gideon did against the Midianites. Other times, judges worked as an army of one; take Samson, for instance. The servants God used to judge His people were men—except for one woman. Her name was Deborah.

Who was Deborah: Deborah was both a prophetess and a judge (Jdg. 4:4). As a prophetess, God used her to deliver His messages to His people. As a judge, God gave her the authority to render civil court decisions.

Why Deborah?  Judges 4, verse 5, states that the people came to Deborah. She must have been known for her sound-mindedness and sense of justice. The Israelites came to her to receive just decisions.
Deborah was also recognized for her sense of decency and order. We know this because, as a prophetess, she was careful to voice God’s will, and not her own. She was yielded to Him.

Deborah obeyed The Lord: God commanded Deborah to call for a man named Barak, whom He planned to use for a special military mission. When Barak came before her, she said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor.  I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’: (Judges 4:6-7)

When Deborah finished delivering God’s message, she must have expected Barak to follow God’s will. But Barak was enslaved by fear—And so he gave Deborah an ultimatum: “If you will go with me, then I will go: but if you will not go with me, then I will not go” (vs. 8).

Deborah co-operates: Deborah said, “I will surely go with you: notwithstanding the journey that you take shall not be for your honor; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman” (vs. 9). In effect, she said, “You should have put your faith in God, not in me, His servant, nor in any other human being. You should be grateful that God has decided to still use you. Yet, because you have let your fear get the best of you, Sisera’s life will be taken by the hand of a woman. She will get the glory—not you!”

Deborah’s faith in The Lord:  Deborah did not limit God. She did not think to herself, “Oh, I’m just a woman. God couldn’t possibly use me.” Deborah accepted her roles as judge and prophetess, and allowed God to use her as He saw fit.

Deborah’s humbleness:  She did not try to get ahead of God and seek authority that did not belong to her. Carnally, she could have capitalized on her reputation for making good judgments. She could have, as Miriam the prophetess briefly did (see Numbers 12), tried to exalt herself. But Deborah knew her boundaries.

Deborah’s Courage:  She and Barak were supposed to work together as a team. Barak was to lead the military into battle; Deborah was to provide wise counsel and support, and express God’s will to the leader of the army. Because Barak initially failed to provide strong leadership, Deborah had to “stand in the gap” (Ezek. 22:29-30), but she did so , as she had no alternative.

An Exceptional Servant:  Deborah stood courageously in a time of fear. She stood for godly wisdom in a time of human reasoning, when “every man did what was right in his own eyes.” She stood for decency and order in a chaotic time of sexual perversity and idolatry. Deborah was a leader who was an exception to the rule in her time. Sadly, such exceptional character today is rare, just as it was in Deborah’s time.

Time has changed, life is same:  Today, just as in Deborah’s time, people live according to what is right in their own eyes. Doing the right thing and treating others as you would have them treat you have been replaced with “Every man for himself.” Most people live life moment to moment, thinking of only the “here and now,” seldom weighing the consequences before acting.

God wants you to be a ‘Deborah’:  Will you be an exception to “a generation that curses their father, and does not bless their mother”—“that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness”—that have “lofty…eyes,” and “whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives” (Prov. 30:11-14)?


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