Deborah’s story is found in Judges 4:1-22 and followed by her song of victory in Judges 5. She was a judge, prophetess, wife, and probably a mom, too. She was the driving force behind Israel winning one of their toughest battles against Jabin, Sisera, and the powerful Canaanite army. Here are five things we can learn from the life of Deborah.
1. Deborah was a trailblazer. In spite of the fact that she lived in a male-dominated society, Deborah was a Godly, strong, female ruler. Among the twelve judges of Israel, she was the only woman; yet she was respected, loved, decided people’s disputes, and gave wise counsel. I like to think of her as Israel’s Margaret Thatcher.
Today, girls have much more opportunities and privileges than the girls of the Bible did. Don’t take that for granted. And don’t be afraid to step out and be the first one to do something. If God has placed a dream in your heart and given you the passion and talent to pursue it, then there is absolutely nothing that can stop you. Do not let society, doubt, or unbelievers hold you back or keep you down. Strike out on your own. Be fearless. Soar.
2. Deborah was a leader. When Israel fell under the oppressive rule of Jabin, Deborah did not sit down and shut up. Instead, she rose to the occasion. She did not let the hard times destroy her, she let them advance her. Because of her faith in God, confidence in herself, and decisiveness in high-pressure situations, she led the people of Israel to return to God and be victorious in battle.
Just like Deborah, you are a leader. God made you to lead the people you are around, right where you are. When hard times come, do not shrink back and hide; rise up and lead.
3. Deborah was close to God. Judges 4:6-7 reads: Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’?” Despite all that she was responsible for, Deborah knew when God was talking and she helped others to listen to His voice. God commanded Deborah to call Barak to fight against Sisera and Jabin’s army and she did just that. Deborah was close to God and she was obedient to God.
In order to know when God is trying to tell us something, we must be close to Him through daily prayer and by reading His Word. When we hear God telling us to do something, we must obey.
4. Deborah was a good working partner. For some reason, Barak did not want to face Sisera and Jabin’s huge army alone, so he asked Deborah to go with him. She agreed. Her presence gave courage to Barak and inspired the Israelite troops to defeat their oppressive enemies. Deborah did not try to take Barak’s place or enter the fight herself, she was simply there to support and assist.
In life, people will sometimes ask for your help in doing what God has called them to do. Do not refuse them. Learn to work well with others and be a good partner like Deborah. We are always stronger together.
5. Deborah was an encourager. Barak’s faith in God was not as strong as Deborah’s faith in God. He doubted that he could lead the Israelite army to victory. But because God had told Deborah that Barak was the right man for the job, she believed in Him. Like a cheerleader, she encouraged him and told him that he could do what God had called him to do.
When you see others doubting their dreams, their ability, themselves, their reason for being alive, or even God; do not sit by and remain quiet. Go over and encourage them. Your words, hugs, or smile may be just what they need to keep going, to hold on a little bit longer, or to win the battle they are fighting.
Dare to be a Deborah!