Judge Deborah

Judges 4

Read Judges 4:1-23

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead.So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim.Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help.

Again, as chapter four starts, we see that the Israelites went back to our old sinful habit of forgetting God and serving other gods. Because of this, the Lord gave them over to the king of Canaan and its commander Sisera. Sisera had nine hundred chariots that could slice through an army of thousands easily.

Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading[a] 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. She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”

Enter Deborah, the first recorded woman judge in Israel’s history. She was different from the other judges that she ruled by settling disputes and not by going to war. Deborah knew her strength and focused on serving the Lord the way she can. Both judges before her ruled with might and strategy, Deborah ruled with wisdom and character.

Deborah in this instance asked Barak to lead an army to fight for Israel’s freedom. In verse eight, we see Barak saying that he will only go if Deborah goes with them. This showed how Barak acknowledges the leadership of Deborah and how the hand of the Lord is with her. Barak did not mind who gets the credit after, seeing the bigger picture and the plan of the Lord in this situation.

Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 There Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah also went up with him.

Keypoint #1: Like Barak, we must learn to acknowledge God’s work through others.

Keypoint #2: God is greater than any iron fitted chariots. Because Barak knew the Lord was with them, he and Deborah had the courage to fight impossible odds.

Keypoint #3: We live for the honor of God alone. It does not matter who takes the credit as long as God is honored.

Talk it over:

  1. What are your strengths? How are you using it to lead other? If not, how could you start leading others with your strengths?

2. It was uncommon to have women lead during those days yet Barak recognized Deborah’s leadership. Are there any instances where you have to work under someone when it seems awkward? How did it work out?

3. Are there any things God has called you to do in spite of seemingly impossible odds? Can you share that to your group?

4. An honest assessment of yourself: Does it matter who gets the credit in your life? How can you live for the honor of the Lord?

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