October 25, 2010
Deborah Leads the Way
Deborah said, "Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?" (Judges 4:14 NIV).
Friend To Friend
Women leaders in the Old Testament are few and far between. However, Deborah's story in the fourth chapter of Judges is enough to make any woman proud. I'm sure she would have been a Girlfriend in God.
Deborah was a prophetess and led Israel during a time when her people were being oppressed by the pagan king of Canaan. Her name meant "bee" and she was a busy bee indeed. She served as counselor, judge, and warrior. Deborah held court under a Palm tree which became know as the Palm of Deborah.
One day, Deborah called for Barak, one of the leaders of the Israeli army. God had given her instructions for this mighty warrior whose name meant "thunderbolt." As he approached the tree, she passed along his marching orders direct from his Commanding Officer…God. He was to go into battle. (Judges 4:6-7)
Barak cowered at God's command and like a little boy said, "If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go" (Judges 4:8).
"Very well," Deborah said, "I will 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" (Judges 7:9). (Deborah was not talking about herself, but another woman who would play a major role in the enemies' ultimate defeat. See Judges 4:17-24). Apparently Barak did not trust in the power of God and insisted that this woman of faith accompany him onto the battlefield.
Deborah reprimanded Barak for his lack of faith, but she did not shame him nor did she step in and do his job for him. She acknowledged that he was the warrior who was to lead the men into battle and she was the prophetess who was to encourage and inspire. Deborah didn't take the lead, but rather worked with Barak to accomplish God's goals. She accompanied him to the battlefield, and when it came time for the attack, she spurred him on with encouraging words.
Barak was inspired by this amazing woman. She pumped courage into his failing heart and he did indeed follow God into battle. She taught him not to focus on the nine hundred iron chariots of the opponents but on the mighty arm of God. That day, the LORD confused Sisera and Israel easily routed their enemy. Afterwards, Deborah and Barak sang a duet celebrating the nation's victory.
What can we learn from the power of Deborah's words? Her encouragement spurred Barak to become all that God had called him to be. She not only gave him the gift of encouraging words, but she walked with him to the battlefield as well. Her words not only bolstered Barak's courage, but stoked the smoldering embers of the entire army. She stayed true to her calling as an encourager and helped Barak stay true to his as a warrior. She didn't try to be a one-woman show, but worked with others to fulfill God's purposes in their lives.
Dear Lord, thank You for women like Deborah who show us how to use our words to encourage those in leadership roles. Help me to encourage others to be all You've created them to be and fulfill Your call on their lives.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
Go back and read the entire story mentioned in today's devotion. It's found in Judges 4.
What can you learn from Deborah's actions toward Barak?
How can that apply to your role in the church or in your marriage?
I'd love to hear your thoughts about Deborah. What about her role as a judge means the most to you?
More From The Girlfriends
Don't you just love studying God's Word? Sharon has written several Bible studies that are available on her website, http://www.sharonjaynes.com/. Today's devotion is taken from The Power of a Woman's Words.
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.