Lady prophet Deborah was one of the most convincing woman in the Bible who proved that being a lady doesn’t mean you’re inferior and you won’t get the Lord’s approval to become a leader. She proved that her bravery will manifest in the life of the Israelites especially for Barak.
How did she manage to become an inspiration not only for the people from her time but also for everyone who knows her story?
Let us find out how Deborah is People Just Like You.
Deborah‘s Back story
Joshua dismissed the Israelites and they went to take possession of the promised land of Canaan, each to their own inheritance. The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elderly who saw the great things the Lord has done for Israel.
After the death of Joshua and the whole generation died, a new generation of Israelites grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.
They adopted the behavior from the people living in the land. The Israelites began to worship false gods and followed other people around them. God was furious and he sold them in the hands of their enemies. They became losers without the help of the Lord. Whenever the Israelites went out to fight, the hand of the Lord were nowhere to be found and they always ended up defeated. They were all in great distress.
So the Lord raised up judges who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. But the Israelites won’t listen to these appointed leaders and ended up worse than their ancestors. While the judge was alive, they were obedient. But when the judge died, they return to their wicked ways, following other gods and worshipping them.
The Lord decided not to drive away the people of Canaan and used them as a test for the Israelites whether they will obey the Lord’s commands (which he gave to their ancestor Moses). They kept on abusing the grace of the Lord so He sold them into the hands of their enemies. They cried out to Him and the loop continued for generation.
Ehud, the man who delivered the Israelites from the hands of the Moabites, became the leader of the Israelites. He was the last judge before the lady prophet Deborah took the responsibility. Her story continues.
see the full story in the Bible: Judges 4-5
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord after the death of Ehud. So the Lord sold them in the hands of Jabin the king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor.
Under King Jabin was the commander of his army, Sisera. He had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. So the Israelites cried for help to the Lord.
There was this one particular woman currently leading the Israelites, who sits under the Palm of Deborah (named after the nurse of Rebekah, in the book of Genesis, who died in this area) to judge the people of the Israelites. Her name was Deborah, a prophet, wife of Lappidoth.
“Deborah knew about Sisera’s army.“
She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him,
“The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you:Judges 4
‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. 7 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.’”
Before talking to Barak, Deborah already knew the strength of the enemy and what the Lord has planned for them. She was only delivering the message. Though it was traumatizing being calm while telling Barak about this, she remained composed and spoke the prophecy to the Lord’s people.
“Deborah went with Barak in the battlefield.“
Deborah told Barak of how God will sell Sisera in his hands. But he was uncertain and was afraid so he made a deal with Deborah.
8 Barak said to her,Judges 4
“If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”
Because Barak thought that if Deborah will go with him, God will certainly assure their victory. Deborah, without any hesitation agreed to Barak. But because of his doubt, the Lord will not give him the opportunity to kill Sisera but by the hands of a woman.
9 “Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.”Judges 4
“Deborah became a warrior.“
So Deborah and Barak went to Kedesh. Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. When Sisera, the commander of the king of Canaan, heard that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, he summoned from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River all his men and his nine hundred chariots fitted with iron.
Deborah said to Barak,
“Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?”Judges 4
The battle began in Mount Tabor. Barak (Deborah on his side) and ten thousand men in his command followed him. At Barak’s advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword. Sisera realized that they were doomed to fall so he got down from his chariot and travelled on foot.
The chariots and army of Sisera were cornered and Barak pursued them as far as Harosheth Haggoyim. All of Sisera’s troops fell by the sword. Not a man was left.
Barak, after the battle, went and search for Sisera.
The Prophecy of Deborah
Sisera fell into the hands of a woman.
One relevant character on this short story was Heber the Kenite. He had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.
While the battle was ongoing in Mount Tabor with Barak and Deborah in front, Sisera fled the battlefield and went to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was an alliance between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.
Jael went to meet Sisera and let him in.
“Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.”
He entered the tent and she covered him with a blanket.
He was thirsty so Jael opened a skin of milk and gave it to Sisera. She told him not to let anyone in and if someone asked if there was someone inside, he must say “No”.
The Lord’s prophecy took place at this very moment.
21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.Judges 4
Just as Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to meet him. She showed him who he was looking for but what he found was the corpse of the man he was meant to destroy. Truly, what God said to Deborah came true. The head of Sisera was sold in the hands of a woman.
The Israelites won the battle.
23 On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites.Judges 4
24 And the hand of the Israelites pressed harder and harder against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him.
We Reflect on Deborah because:
She trusted the plan of God.
Deborah sent Barak and told him about the prophecy that God gave to her without any hesitation. She knew that they were inferior in number compared to the army of Sisera but she also knew that they are bigger with the help of the Lord.
So when God told her to send Barak and ten thousand army to confront the enemies, she trusted the Lord.
There are also times when we don’t know what the bigger picture is and we tend to do it on our own. But what is best than trusting the plan of God?
We can do it, too if we have enough faith that God will make a way when there seems to be no way.
She walked by faith.
Deborah did not only TRUST the Lord but she WALKED BY FAITH.
She went with Barak in the battlefield because she knew that God will not let her get harmed. Everyday, she talked to God with new prophecies and judgements for the Israelites. That is where she gained her faith.
If we talk to God everyday, the trust is built and faith will bloom.
And Jesus *answered saying to them, “Have faith in God.Mark 11:22
She praised the Lord.
Deborah was not only a wife, a prophetess, and a warrior. She is also a composer and a poet. The Song of Deborah was written in Judge 5, where she and Barak sang the song of Victory. They sang praise to God for giving them triumph against their enemies.
31 “So may all your enemies perish, Lord!Judges 5
But may all who love you be like the sun
when it rises in its strength.”
Then the land had peace forty years.
Let us celebrate our victories with God!
Obedience to God brings blessings.
Deborah was obedient to God so he sold the enemies to the hands of the Israelites. If she did not obey God and had a doubt in her heart, they could have been brought down by the enemies and the victory could not have been theirs.
Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.Deuteronomy 5:33
And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”1 Kings 3:14
Humility as fear has its own tradeoff.
Barak humbled himself and told that he was afraid to go in the battle without Deborah because he thought that without her, God will not go with them.
It was not bad to accept your weaknesses but the greater consequence will follow. Because Barak gave in to his fear, the opportunity to get the honor of killing Sisera himself had slipped off his hands and went by the hands of a woman, Jael.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.James 4:10
Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.Proverbs 15:33
Be a leader.
Be a leader not a boss.
You should be in front of the group and show them what to do, not become bossy and order everyone to do what you have to. The Lord will humble the proud and lift the humbled. God will appoint you to lead his people because He has a plan ready for every one of us.
“For even the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Mark 10:45
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”James 4:10
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;Isaiah 41:10
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
God can move mountains.
Even with little faith, God will help us move mountains. Even though we see it as impossible, He will guide us to victory.
Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.Mark 11:23
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.Matthew 21:21
There is Victory in the name of Jesus.
57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:57
We are afraid. That is a logical explanation of our nature here on earth. But God will take away fear and replace it with bravery. Of course we cannot do it without faith. So let us built our faith in the Lord by knowing His words.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.Romans 10:17
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