Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Judges 4:4-5 (NIV)
Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.
Judges 4:4-5 (MSG)
Deborah was a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth. She was judge over Israel at that time. She held court under Deborah’s Palm between Ramah and Bethel in the hills of Ephraim. The People of Israel went to her in matters of justice.
“Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit [to hear and decide disputes] under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment.” -AMPLIFIED
Deborah was a woman who held a position of high esteem. She was a prophet, military leader and judge; positions that in normal circumstances were held by a man. The Jewish culture of this time frowned on women holding any of these positions, but here we find a woman who fills all three of these titles.
“These cultures value masculine strength, aggression, and war-prowess; they don’t value female ingenuity and courage. So for the first hearers of this story, the last people they expect to bring military victory are women. But once again, God takes ordinary people with their gifts, strengths, and weaknesses—and brings military victory through the unexpectedly strong hands of women.” (VOICE footnote)
G. Morgan Campbell shares these thoughts on Deborah. “In the light of subsequent Jewish prejudice against women as leaders, the story of Deborah is full of interest, as it reveals the fact that there never was any such prejudice in the mind of God. Whereas motherhood in all the sanctity and beauty of that great word, is the special function and glory of womanhood, yet when a woman is specially gifted for the exercise of prophetic and administrative work, she is not barred by any Divine law from such work.”
Deborah was indeed gifted; as well as wise, courageous and willing. She was willing to step up and be used by God when others were reluctant. Deborah had a calling on her life and she answered that call. Her story is contained in Judges 4 and her song is recorded in Judges 5.
We find that Deborah had established herself as a trusted judge. “She used to sit beneath the palm tree of Deborah, situated in the hill country of Ephraim between Ramah and Bethel, and the people would go up to her there to settle disputes.” -(VOICE) Because of this trust when Deborah called upon Barak to do the Lord’s bidding his response to her was this, “I will do this if you will go with me; but if you won’t, then I won’t go either.” -Judges 4:8 (VOICE)
The people of Israel had been oppressed by Jabin, the king of Canaan, for twenty years. God used Deborah and Barak to free the people of Israel from Jabin’s oppressive rule; which also led to the death of Jabin’s general Sisera. It was an amazing victory and a great story. (Take time to read Judges 4-5 if you have never read it.) Credit for the victory was given to Deborah; which is a reminder that God will use whoever is willing to answer His call.
God is looking for a willing heart. He desires someone who is not afraid to step out from the status quo; to do what He desires for them to do. Are you one of those people? I know I want to be one of them.
Lord, here I am; use me. I want to be one of those people who are not afraid to step away from the norm to do great things for you. I want to be like Deborah. Who was willing to do whatever it was that you called her to do, even when it was not culturally acceptable. Her first desire was to be obedient to you; that is my desire too. Here I am Lord, willing and ready to do whatever it is that you desire of me.