“The villagers ceased in Israel; they ceased to be until I arose; I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.” Judges 5:7
For the past two weeks we’ve been gleaning from the lives of some of the mothers of the Bible – women who impacted their children, their communities and their generations – some for good, some for bad.
But today, we are going to examine one of my favorite women in Scripture…Deborah.
Deborah was an influential and powerful woman. She was…
The wife of Lappidoth Judges 4:4
A prophetess in Israel (Samuel was the only other judge who was also a prophet) Judges 4:4
A judge in Israel (The only woman judge in Israel) Judges 4:4
A military leader (Deborah led military campaigns defeating Sisera) Judges 4:6-14
The self-proclaimed Mother of Israel (Deborah sang of her role as Mother in Israel) Judges 5:7
Although there’s no way to be sure whether or not Deborah had any children of her own, the Bible’s silence on the subject is an indication that she probably did not.
Yet, Deborah considered herself the mother of Israel because, like almost every other woman on the planet, her mother’s heart was an intrinsic part of being a woman. She may not have had any children’s hearts to mold, but she certainly molded the heart of a nation.
Let’s learn what we can from the Mother of Israel – the mother without children…
“Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment.” Judges 4:4-5
♥ Deborah broke the mold – Not hampered by traditional roles, she walked in the calling God had placed upon her life. She was willing to be different for the glory of God.
♥ Deborah spoke truth – She proclaimed God’s truth and God’s will to the nation.
♥ Deborah was wise – Wisdom was necessary for the proper verdict and clear counsel.
“She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go…” Judges 4:6
♥ Deborah called Barak out– Deborah reminded Barak, the military commander, that it was time to trust God, obey His command and go.
♥ Deborah believed God – When Barak was floundering in his faith and in his role as a leader, Deborah stepped up to the plate and challenged him to trust God.
“Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Judges 4:8-9
♥ She was inspiring– She may have called Barak out on his lack of faith and motivation, but she also inspired him to believe God and fulfill the calling God had placed upon his life.
♥ She was bold, brave and strong – She was willing to stand up to a man of great power and then go head-long into battle with him. Her faith was contagious and she was willing to risk or own life to demonstrate that God was who He said He was and that He would do what He said He would do. She demonstrated strength and courage in the midst of adversity.
Ultimately, God used another woman by the name of Jael to end the battle with a tent peg through Sisera’s head. Not a very feminine thing to do, but she ended an era of oppression with one stroke of the hammer and Sisera fell at the hands of a woman, just as Deborah had said.
“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon,Barak, Samson,Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophet – who through faith conquered kingdoms” Hebrews 11:32-34 (emphasis mine)
♥ Deborah motivated Barak to become more than he ever thought he could be – Her leadership, courage, inspiration and trust in God was the nudge Barak needed to help him become who he was created to be – a man of faith.
As we examine the legacy Deborah left behind, we find that whether we have children or not, God still wants to use us to make a difference in the lives of those around us, as well as those who will come behind us.
Deborah was a powerful woman who wielded her influence well. She is evidence that we can be strong, powerful, bold and brave, and still be godly and feminine.
♥ How does Deborah’s life challenge your own?