Strong Women From the Bible: Deborah's Story
Hello! Thanks for joining me for another FriYAY Devo addition. It might seem weird to post these on a “health & fitness” blog. But I believe that if our heart is not strong, and our spirit is not strong - nothing else matters. Plus, being grounded in who you are IN CHRIST, and the TRUTH of His Word is the best foundation for lasting physical health… That’s why you will see me use use the hashtag #betruthstrong!
Here we are, week FOUR of our strong women of the Bible Series. We’ve learned how to carry the promises of God full term through Mary, the mother of Jesus. We’ve seen the power of determination and faithfulness of Ruth’s story by leaving everything she knew behind to literally potentially walk into a life threatening situation with her mother in law, Naomi to a new land. We studied the life of Hannah, who modeled how to turn our worries into worship. Another bonus lesson from Hanna’s story is that two wives marrying the same husband doesn’t work out too well… #thingsnottodo
This week, on our final “strong woman of the Bible” installment, we are going to meet a powerhouse of a woman, Deborah! Deborah was the fourth and only woman prophet in the book of Judges and one of the five woman prophetesses in the old testament. Not only was she the most distinguished of the four judges for her consistent Godly counsel and righteous application, she was also a wife, a mother, and a well respected prophet in the land! She was on fire!
I think it’s funny that the other three male prophets were not introduced with any other titles. This is your typical multitasking, sharp on her feet, entreprenurial, practical, and super smart woman! Every Israelite woman would’ve wanted her to be their mentor...I can guarantee it. She is like Beth Moore, meets Lori Grenier (from Shark Tank) and Martha Stewart !
Ok, so a quick backdrop to her story...We have the Israelites who have been rescued from slavery in Egypt, and after 40 years of wandering in the desert, Joshua - their fearless leader leads them into the “Promised Land”. The only problem, the Isrealites were not the first ones in town, they were the new kids on the block. God led them to this amazing land, more glorious than they could’ve imagined! There was bountiful produce, perfect growing conditions, and abundant wealth available. Their new neighbors were nations who served other gods and did evil in the sight of the Lord. Like really evil things...
Instead of being diligent to drive out ALL their enemies to fully possess this new land, the Israelites made friends with these naughty neighbors instead (namley the Caaninites). They had no righteous King to enforce God’s law of Love, so they repeatedly broke thier covenant with Him, and started to serve the Caananite gods, and did lots of evil things too. You can read Judges yourself, it’s R-rated to say the least and a picture of what humans are capable of without submitting their lives to God’s rule. What was God’s solution to get the attention of His people? He chose to talk through prophets in order to rescue and direct His loved people… Unfortunately this happened over and over. Things would get bad, God would raise up a prophet, peeps would get their heart straight, the prophet would die, and they would lose their marbles again.
So in the midst of this crazy cycle, God raises up His prophets out of love and compassion for His people. These prophets weren’t perfect either by the way, they had thier own issues. Deborah however, was the shining example. I don’t know why, but I’m just not surprised that she was a woman - we can get things done!
Deborah enters the scene when Isreal had once again started doing evil in the sight of God. Not only that, but they were under the oppressive rule of an evil King of Caanan for twenty years! Think about that! For many of YOU, that’s would be like most of your life living under cruel leadership, not just republican or democrat politicol squabbles - we’re talking, wear the wrong color and get behedded or fed to ravenous lions. BAD!
Lone behold, the Isrealite people cry out to God, right when Deborah arises. Apparently while everyone was suffering and crying out to God, Debbie - let’s call her was running a successful court room, mothering well, served in the prophetic ministry at church, and was an awesome wife to boot. When she had a hunch ( in the middle of her demanding schedule) to summon a guy named barak. She says, and I quote,
“Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, Go, gather your men at mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the River Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand?
Hold up! Debbie basically just read this guy’s mail! First she called him out, then she challenged him with what God was probably saying to him personally! And this is not any “Jo Shmo”, this dude was in charge of over 10,000 men! We’re talking high rank, high visibility, and high influence. Deborah didn’t care, she was bold in her proclamation, and she was not intimidated by anyone.
Barak answers her, I’m sure a little shell shocked at the detailed she just parlayed his message from God back to him. He says to her,
“If you go with me, I will go, bit if you will not go with me, I will not go.” Judges 4:8
Oh my word! Barak was too scared to go to battle without Debbie by his side, I guess i can’t really blame the guy. So Deborah agrees to go with him, warning him that the victroy would be credited to her, to his disgrace. This would prove to come true.
It’s important to note, that although Debbie was a powerhouse of a woman, she wasn’t looking for this affirmation or seeking valor. She was being faithful. At home, at her job, in her ministry. Barak came TO HER. She told him the truth, challenged him, and ultimatley backed him by tagging along. But she did not get distracted. This word is for you and for me too!
Your greatest victory will come when you least expect it, doing faithfully the things you always do! Your greatest exploits, opportunities, and relationships will come in the middle of your faithfulness in the mundane rhythm of life!
Debbie and ‘Rak,we will call them. Sounds like a good band name… Go out with a mere 10,000 fighting men to take down the evil King’s commander and his army. On the battle line, the enemies army were looking pretty feirce, top of the line arsenal, state of the art weapons. Things didn’t look good for Rak and his crew. Enter Debbie once again, she always had a word in season ready to help fight the battle until victory was theirs. In the midst of ‘Rak’s doubts she shouts,
“Up! For this the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the LORD go out before you?”
That was all he needed to hear, he and his army killed EVERY ONE of Sisera’s warriors. Every one was dead, besides Sisera himself who fled by foot and was killed (by another woman) shortly after.
VICTORY! Deborah didn’t wield a sword, she stayed in her rightful place, but she still engaged the battlefield with her heart, and her mouth. She was not trying to be a HERO, she was content being FAITHFUL to her tasks.
Judges, chapter 5 is titled “The Song of Deborah and Barak” the same day of their mighty conquest they sing this beautiful duet together.
These three verses from their song are for us too:
“In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned, and travelers kept to the byways. The villages ceased to be until I arose; I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.”
Who is waiting for you to encourage them? Do your kids need your powerful words, your husband, your co-worker, employees, friends, neighbors?
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Deborah AROSE, in her role as a mother! In it she literally was credited a military victory! Maybe you need to ARISE as a student, a wife, a employee… own it. Take responsibility, and thrive where you are.
“So may all your enemies perish, O Lord! But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.”
Are you on the Lord’s side? If you’ve submitted your life to the Lordship of Jesus, you will radiate like the sun - and bring light to all.
Your enemies will stand NO CHANCE against you!
“And the land had rest for 40 years.”
If you ARISE in your current role, and responsibility you will find rest. Maybe not rest on the outside or perfect circumstance, but you will find rest for your soul and circumstance will follow!
Stay faithful in your place of responsibility. Encourage those around you, and you will win every battle that stands against you.
You are amazing! Please comment below any aha moments or takeaways, I’d love to have a conversation about the insights you received from Deborah’s story Stay tuned for next week’s Devo!