Bible Topics
in the Christian Library
Personalities Of The Old Testament
DEBORAH Ė Israelís Holy Lady
Judges 4, 5

 1. Deborah is one of the heroic women of history. She was one of the most talented women of the Bible Ė a wife, mother, prophetess, judge, poetess, singer, and political leader. Her life is a wonderful illustration of the power that womanhood has to influence society for good. The great influence that Deborah possessed is evident in the fact that all Israel came to her for counsel and judgment.

 2. The life of Deborah is recorded in Judges 4-5. Chapter 4 contains the prose narrative and chapter 5 contains the story in poetry. From these accounts we discover the following facts about Deborahís life:

  a. She was married (4:4). Lappidoth was her husband. Here is an interesting point to ponder.  We would never know of Lappidoth if not for his wife! This is the case today. Many men are honored and respected only because their wives are holy.

 b. She possessed talents (4:4,5).

 c. She had a great faith (4:4,6,14; 5:13).

  d. She is the only woman Judge (4:4). Deborah is the only woman who served God as an official of the State government. Other women served as Queen but they had usurped the role.

  e. She was well respected (4:5). When she asked Barak, a general from Naphtali, to come to her (4:6,14), he did not hesitate.

 f. She confronted wrongs (4:5; 5:14b-17, 23).

 g. She took action to help others (4:9).

  h. She was a prophetess. Only two other women in the Old Testament share this honored designation (Miriam, Ex 15:20; Huldah, 2 Ki 22:14-20).

 3. Deborah lived in a period of Israelís history that was tragic. Spirituality was at a low point. The standard of behavior was anarchy. During her time the nation was oppressed by Canaanite rulers (4:1-3). ďOppressedĒ is the same word used to describe Israeli bondage in Egypt (Ex 3:9). The oppression of Israel was directly associated with the spiritual decay that had corrupted that nation. Consider some of the causes for Israelís spiritual decline:

 a. It had failed to give honor to God (Ps 33:12).

  b. It had failed to separate herself from evil associations (1 Co 15:33).

  c. It had failed to obey Godís rules for life (Jud 17:6; 21:25). It could not distinguish between right and wrong.

 NOTE: In such a tragic time, God used a woman to bring the erring nation back to the right way! Women have the power to correct and restore spirituality or they have the power to propel further deterioration. 

 4. Deborah was a godly woman whose leadership abilities would restore Israelís security. Look at the following leadership qualities she possessed and discuss how each could help the lady accomplish her task.

 a. She was a woman of wisdom.
  People came to get her advice from distant places. She was recognized as one who possessed sound judgment and level thinking. She could offer counsel that guided the erring nation back toward faithful obedience. How did she gain this ďwisdomĒ (Pr 1:7).  Our modern society needs women like Deborah who will arise and call for people to restore their loyalties to Godís directions!

 b. She possessed a keen sense of discernment.
  She looked at Israelís predicament and knew the nation had erred from Godís will. She did not excuse or rationalize the errors. She had witnessed the decay of morals and the disregard toward Godís commands. She was a mother and homemaker, but she saw the urgency of calling the nation back to God. She could look at the situation and recognize what was Godís will and what was Selfís will.

 c. She believed in the God of heaven.
  Her strength and courage was founded upon Godís power (cf Josh 1:7ff).

 d. She had courage to follow Godís commands.
  It was Deborahís courage that enabled Barak to defeat the enemies. Had she been reluctant to follow Godís will, the nation would have remained oppressed. Had she not been the example of trust and full obedience, then Israel would not have found blessings. Often in the churchís history, the women kept the congregation faithful or that have led the congregation away from Godís directions! 

 e. She properly used her tongue.
  Deborah used her tongue to speak Godís commands to those who needed encouragement to free themselves from oppression (4:6). She used cheerful, positive words of victory when Godís people faced enemies (4:14). Her words were wisely selected and people traveled far to hear her speak (4:5). Women today can imitate Deborahís speech! How often have you seen a woman totally destroy her effectiveness as a leader because she failed to use her tongue properly? (1 Ti 3:11; 5:11-13). Because of the way Deborah used her tongue, she lifted the spirits of those who needed to be faithful to God.

 f. She had wonderful influence.
  Here is the most effective way women ďleadĒ in the Lordís church. Deborahís life was lived in such a way that she earned respect from everyone (4:4,5). Her influence led to a ďstrengtheningĒ of others (4:24a). She was a source of strength to all who came to her. The influence of this godly lady made a significant difference Ė all became better because Israel restored her faith in Godís will!

 g. She demonstrated wonderful attitudes.
  She possessed an unwavering commitment to do Godís will (4:9). She was willing to do whatever was necessary to strengthen and encourage others to become active (4:8-9). She was aware that her efforts would actually ďhelpĒ the Lord (5:23b). She demonstrated a love for God that was stronger than her love for others (5:31).

 h. She was a source for ďpeace.Ē
  Because of this godly lady, peace resulted! Because of her presence, peace existed in the land. How wonderful to see women today who imitate Deborah and urge all to obey God so there will be peace (Mt 5:9). How tragic to see congregations torn asunder and peace and harmony ruined by discord because certain women fail to imitate Deborah! The one blemish on the Philippian congregation was the disruption caused by two women (Philip 4:2).

 I. She was active in Godís service.
  Deborah was effective because she was active. Women can never become the kind of leader that Deborah was until they become active in the Lordís church. 

 5. The practical lessons from Deborahís life emphasize the critical role that women have in the Lordís Church today. 

 a. Godís Cause needs women! (5:6-7a).
  Women are vital to the existence of the Lordís Church; to the faithfulness of the Lordís Church; to the spread of the Lordís Church; to the peace and harmony of the local church. Far too many women have not practiced their leadership role in the church. Congregations who have women that are active, willing, and harmonious are congregations that are growing and accomplishing great things for God!

 b. Godís Cause needs women to overcome crisis! (4:14b).
  When the situation appeared hopeless, a woman arose and encouraged the men to overcome. Had Deborah not arisen then Israel would have never found victory. Women have the power to speak encouraging words to male leaders and to stimulate victory! When congregations face crises, the leaders need the women to speak encouragingly to them so they will remain dedicated to Godís will. Whenever a congregation is caught in a crisis, the women can either help it overcome by encouraging the men to stick to Godís Word, or hasten the destruction by criticizing and gossiping. 

 c. Godís Cause needs women to offer service! (5:7b, 9).
  Women must be involved in the local congregation because their efforts actually ďhelpĒ the Lord! (5:23b).

Copyright 1999 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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