July 20: Deborah – Judges 4

This summer, we are looking to the women of the Bible for encouragement, advice, and examples of living life full with God.  In July and August, we’re reading the stories of Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Miriam, Zipporah, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Proverbs 31 woman, Gomer, Elizabeth, all the Marys, Martha, woman at the well, bleeding woman, adulterous woman, Canaanite woman, Lydia, Eunice, Priscilla, and the Titus 2 woman.  Join our study by reading today’s scripture below and journaling about it using SOAP (click on the “What’s SOAP?” link above to learn more). An example SOAP from our team is below today’s Bible reading. Comments are always welcome on our website for questions, discussion, and accountability.

Deborah – Judges 4

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.
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. 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.’”
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.
11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.
12 When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera summoned from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River all his men and his nine hundred chariots fitted with iron.
14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. 15 At Barak’s advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot.
16 Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim, and all Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left. 17 Sisera, meanwhile, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was an alliance between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.
18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.
19 “I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.
20 “Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her. “If someone comes by and asks you, ‘Is anyone in there?’ say ‘No.’”
21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.
22 Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you’re looking for.” So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple—dead.
23 On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 And the hand of the Israelites pressed harder and harder against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him.

SOAP Note

Why Did God Choose Deborah? | Becky Newman

Scripture

Judges 4:14a

Observation

Here’s the Israelites’ version of Braveheart getting the men riled up for battle but with a woman leading the charge. Deborah is the only woman mentioned in the Bible as a the leader of a nation. The other women we’ve read about tend to lead from home as a mother, wife, or leader of women only. Deborah may have been able to rise higher in a patriarch culture because God gave her special talents and abilities, particularly being a prophetess able to hear messages from God and deliver them to her people, but also being a counselor, a good listener, an encourager, patient in waiting for God’s plan and timing, and obedient in following Him and not her own ways. These qualities made her a willing and able vessel ready to do God’s work, and God used her in a mighty way.

Application

I know You are all powerful and can do anything, but You are not a God of chaos; You look for willing vessels to accomplish Your plans. You desire hearts devoted to and dependent on You. I’m sure, though not mentioned, that Deborah faced opposition from men who didn’t respect the position You gave her. I’ve faced the same in leading. But she didn’t dwell in it or let it limit her relationship with You or the power of the Holy Spirit working through her in prophesying the battle. These qualities I see in Deborah can also help me be ready to do Your work, and to be always ready means to abide in You as well. Particularly from this list, being a good listener is something I can improve on, both listening to You throughout the day and positioning myself to listen well to others then counsel and encourage with what I’m hearing from You and not my own.

Prayer

Lord, I’m sorry for letting my tongue get carried away by my own words and feelings. Please help me be a better listener and to make sure the words coming from my mouth are led by and honoring to You. I want to be always ready and willing to be used by You.

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