What Can We Learn From Deborahs Story
Deborah, and her story, can teach us so much, but there are three lessons we can all learn from:
1. Be Obedient
If God is telling you to do something or go somewhere, despite your fears, listen to His call. He has plans that we cannot begin to understand, and hearts and lives may be changed by our obedience.
2. Be Courageous
The old saying “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called” applies here. Doing something out of your comfort zone to glorify Him can be terrifying, but faith was never promised to be easy. Be bold. Be courageous – for His glory.
3. Stand True
Never waiver in your faith. We may not always know what the road ahead will look like, but we only need to remember that God will faithfully guide us and lead the way.
This article was adapted from the authors original post, What we Can Learn About Courage and Faith from Deborah.
Susan J. Nelson is a writer, speaker and the creator of Women of Noble Character ministries. She is passionate about helping Christian women to grow in Christ, improve their marriages and creatively worship. She lives in rural North Central Missouri with her handsome and hilarious husband and a myriad of dogs, cats and chickens. Susan runs on Jesus, coffee, and not enough sleep. More of her work can be found at Woman of Noble Character.
Deborah’s Prophecy About Sisera Comes True
The Israelite warriors won the day, and General Sisera fled the battleground on foot. He escaped to the camp of the Kenites, a Bedouin tribe that traced its heritage back to Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law. Sisera asked for sanctuary in the tent of Jael , wife of the clan leader. Thirsty, he asked for water, but she gave him milk and curds, a heavy meal that caused him to fall asleep. Seizing her opportunity, Jael tiptoed into the tent and drove a tent peg through Sisera’s head with a mallet. Thus Jael gained fame for killing Sisera, which diminished Barak’s fame for his victory over King Jabin’s army, as Deborah had predicted.
Judges Chapter 5 is known as the “Song of Deborah,” a text that exults in her victory over the Canaanites. Deborah’s courage and wisdom in calling up an army to break Hazor’s control gave the Israelites 40 years of peace.
Is Deborah A Good Name
Deborah may no longer be among the most popular girl names starting with D, but now this lovely name of an Old Testament prophetess suddenly sounds fresher than overused Sarah, Rachel, and Rebecca. … Deborah was the second most popular name in the US in 1955, remaining in the Top 10 from 1950 to 1962.
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Deborahs Role In The Bible
Have you ever found yourself in a daunting situation? A role that you felt ill-equipped to step into? You know you heard Gods voice drawing you here, but that little voice still whispers doubt to your heart. You pour your all, out day after day, and yet it still feels like nothing. Its never enough, never good enough, what gives you the authority to step out, to lead, to be an example.
Fear and doubt wrestle against Gods voice trying to hold you back and keep you stepping into your calling and choke out your faith. Its amazing how fast the devil pulls out our scars when we are trying to step into our calling. He pulls out all of the stops, dragging our insecurities, and past out from where we thought wed left them buried.
I dont know about you, but those feelings are all too familiar. Doubt and fear are old companions of my faith, ready to jump at any time to try and send me retreating to my comfort zone. Perhaps this is why Deborah in the Bible stands out so much to me. As a woman born at a time where being a woman didnt give her any advantages, living in captivity, she steps through the pages of history without fanfare like the other judges in the Bible and steps to the front of the stage.
What Did Deborah Do
On an ordinary day while conducting her duties as judge, Deborah delivered Gods message to Barak to take 10,000 men to battle against Sisera, the commander of Jabins army. Deborahs prophecy continued, And I will deliver him into your hand .
If youre not a history buff, hang with me because this is where things get good. Barak, who should have been a mighty warrior ready for battle, basically told Deborah, Yeah girl, Im not going into battle unless you come with me.
Dont you love it? The guy had faith to believe that God spoke to him through Deborah. Barak even had confidence to trust Gods promise for victory. In fact, Barak is recognized for his faith in Hebrews 11:32. But his faith would be bolstered to go forth against insurmountable odds if Deborah agreed to join him. Without hesitation Deborah courageously agreed to go.
According to an article from Shepherd Press, Deborah was not caught up in the fear of her day. She took God at His word. So when she was given the message to give to Barak to attack Sisera, she didnt flinch. Even though Sisera had a formidable army that featured 900 chariots made of iron, she delivered Gods message to Barak with confidence: Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you?
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What Is The Story Of Deborah And Barak
Baraks reaction to Deborahs command is so unusual, he doesnt question her authority, her ability, her wisdom, or her knowledge. Doesnt ask who she is to order him around. Doesnt ask for the whole battle plan or why now. In fact, he doesnt even ask why him.
Deborah just ordered him to take 10,000 men and go fight the king thats been oppressing them for 20 years -a king that has 900 chariots and infantry-. And yet there is no yeah right, no snickers, no mocking questions, no did you think this out all the way, no weighing the cost of these decisions. He only says one thing: If you will go with me, I will go,
He wanted this woman of faith to come with him, I think many times we are a little hard on this biblical figure for this request but I cant help but wonder if he uttered this statement because he was trying to surround himself with people of faith. Perhaps he wanted someone near that believed in the same dream so that when his faith wavered she was there to stoke the fire of faith once more. Maybe he wanted her to remind him of where his authority came when the hard days came, and people doubted their mission, and in the dark hours when he found himself wagging silent battles.
Deborah Was Wise And A Trusted Counselor
Judge Deborah was one of the rulers of the Israelites prior to the monarchy period that began with Saul . These rulers were called mishpatjudges,an office that traced back to a time when Moses appointed assistants to help him resolve disputes among the Hebrews . Their practice was to seek guidance from God through prayer and meditation before making a ruling. Therefore, many of the judges also were considered prophets who spoke a word from the Lord.
She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim and the Israelites would approach her for judgment.
This location, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, places Deborah and the Hebrews in an area controlled by King Jabin of Hazor, who had oppressed the Israelites for 20 years, according to the Bible. The reference to Jabin of Hazor is confusing since the Book of Joshua says that it was Joshua who conquered Jabin and burned Hazor, one of the main Canaanite city-states, to the ground a century earlier. Several theories have been put forth to try to solve this detail, but none have been satisfactory thus far. The most common theory is that Deborahs King Jabin was a descendant of Joshuas defeated enemy and that Hazor had been rebuilt during intervening years.
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Judge Deborah In The Bible Was A Warrior
Having received instruction from God, Deborah called forth an Israelite warrior named Barak. Barak was Deborahs junior, her next in command. She told him to take 10,000 troops up to Mount Tabor to confront Jabins general, Sisera, who led an army made up of 900 iron chariots.
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The Jewish Virtual Library suggests that Baraks response to Deborah shows the high esteem in which this ancient prophetess was held. Other interpreters have said insisted that Baraks response actually shows his discomfort at being ordered into battle by a woman, even if she was the ruling judge at the time. Barak said: If you will go with me, I will go if not I will not go . In the next verse, Deborah agreed to go into battle with the troops but told him: However, there will be no glory for you in the course you are taking, for then the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman .
Hazors general, Sisera, immediately responded to the news of the Israelite revolt by bringing his chariots to Mount Tabor.
Bible Verses About Deborah
Here are some more Bible verses that give insight into the characteristics of Deborah in the Bible.
Leadership characteristics Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
Trustworthy She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim and the sons of Israel went up to her for judgment.
Knowledgeable She said, I will certainly go with you however, the fame shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh.
Director Then Deborah said to Barak, Arise! For this is the day on which the Lord has handed Sisera over to you behold, the Lord has gone out before you. So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.
Musical & Creative Hear, you kings listen, you dignitaries! I myselfto the Lord, I myself will sing, I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel!
Strong The torrent of Kishon swept them away, the ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. My soul, march on with strength!
Prayerful Out of the window she looked and wailed, the mother of Sisera through the lattice,Why does his chariot delay in coming? Why do the hoofbeats of his chariots delay?
So What Can We Learn From Judge Deborah
Judge Deborahs story has often been discussed regarding how God uses women to serve His Kingdom.
Reading the story of Judge Deborah in the Bible, we learn four things:
Be Obedient What you feel God asking you to do may be terrifying, but if He is telling you to go somewhere or do something Go! He has a plan that we cant fathom. Hearts and lives may be at stake and your own life could be richly blessed by your obedience.
Be courageous stepping out in faith can be frightening. Have you ever had a time in your life when you were called to lead but didnt feel equipped? The old saying is that God doesnt call the qualified, He qualifies the called. He will equip you. Be bold, sister!
Stand true in your faith We dont have to understand the how or why. We just need to understand that God will faithfully guide us.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land 2 Chronicle 7:14
Listen before speaking Judge Deborah listened under the palm tree. She took in all sides and then, with God speaking to her, made her decrees. Before acting or speaking, listen. Then ask God to reveal to you which direction you should go.
For more on Judge Deborah, consider these recommended resources:
I love this one. Its childrens book but clearly explains the life and mission of Judge Deborah in the Bible.
Because He Lives,
What We Can Learn From Deborah
Deborah is a special hero in the Bible that will forever be someone to look up to, a woman of strength, authority and bravery that reminds us to stay firmly planted where He has placed us no matter what.
The story of Deborah in the Bible is a wonderful example of what a woman who has stepped fully into Gods calling on her life can accomplish. She stands like a beacon through history to teach us about strength, courage and wisdom and what a leader should look like.
Deborah is a reminder that no matter how troubled the world around us is, our God is in control and has called us into this position for a reason. Whether our role is in our families or our communities, God has a purpose for us.
If youd like to dive deeper into her story, be sure to check out this Deborah Bible Study!
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What Did Deborah Accomplish
As mentioned, Deborah was a prophetess as indicated in the scriptures. She is one of the four female prophets mentioned in the Bible by name in Israel. The other 3 prophetesses are Miriam , and Anna .
Deborah was also a judge of Israel who gave advice and held court. While the period of Judges lasted 450 years from Joshua to Samuel, it was a spiritually declining time when man was more interested in himself than God. While God encouraged 13 judges to help Israel against her enemies, Deborah may have been the best judge for the people of Israel had before Samuel.
Lesson 5 Leave A Legacy Of Peace And Faith
The final lesson from Deborah has to do with legacy.
After Deborah valiantly led the men of Israel into the battle which God fought for them, Israel had peace for 40 years.
People will not always remember what you did but they are way more likely to remember how you made them feel.
Deborah is remembered because of the freedom the people experienced as a result of her involvement.
Deborah lived a faith-filled, purpose-driven life. And we are benefitting from that today from studying her story.
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The Lord Is With You: Are You Willing
The fact that Sisera had 900 chariots, each fitted with iron, meant nothing to God. He was ready and willing to give Israel the upper hand against the commander and his armies. But, Barak was less than willing to lead the army of Israel on his own. He replied to Deborah, If you go with me, I will go but if you dont go with me, I wont go.
Of course Deborah went. She was zealous to do as the Lord commanded! On the day of the battle she said, This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?
Imagine an attitude of mind like that! Whereas Barak was too afraid to go to battle without her, Deborah was full of faith that God would give Israel the victory. She believed Gods Word, and acted according to what He had spoken.
Who Was Deborah In The Bible
There are two women with the name Deborah in the Old Testament. The one we know the least was the nurse of Rebekah, the wife of Isaac.
The most well-known is the prophetess. Deborah is best known for being one of the few female prophetesses of the Bible and the only female judge in the book of Judges. She is also known as one of the few female warriors in Scripture.
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Names In Deborahs Story: Meanings
Deborah is bee in Hebrew. It also means spirited or fiery woman. A bee is small, hardly worth noticing, but it can give a nasty sting when it wants.Barak means lightning. The name ridicules the man. It is an ironic pun on Baraks reluctance to go to battle, and the terrible storm that God sent to help him.Sisera is not a Semitic name. He may have been one of the legendary Sea Peoples, skilled in military matters and feared wherever they went.Jael means wild gazelle or wild goat, a good name for a rule-breaking woman from a nomadic tribe.
Note: Apart from Deborah, the Judges were hardly role models:
- Jephthah offered his own daughter as a sacrifice
- Samson told lies and chased after prostitutes
- Gideon agreed to the making of a pagan cult object that the Bible calls an ephod, but which is clearly different from the breastplate worn by priests later in Israels history, and seems to have been used for seeking oracles , etc.
Deborah stands out for her wisdom, courage and faith.
Worship And Praise The Lord
It is seen in Judges 4 and 5 that Deborah was not only a leader but also an encourager. Her faith, trust, and loyalty to God led her to fulfilling Gods plan for her. Deborah is a great example for all of us as Gods children. We can follow her example to achieve victory with Christ through His will for each of us.
Its your turn to arise! Are you ready?
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