A woman of exceptional leadership: Deborah
We are introduced to Deborah in Judges 4. At this point in Israel’s history they are again in their rebellious cycle and are being oppressed by Sisera, the commander of King Jabin of Canaan. They had been oppressed for 20 years and the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help. We find Deborah in verse 4, her introduction includes some vital information about her: she was a prophetess, married to Lappidoth, and the current judge (meaning she settled disputes) of Israel. She sat under a palm tree between Bethel and Ramah. So being between Bethel and Ramah could be interpreted (based on the meaning of Bethel and Ramah) that Deborah sat between the high place and the house of God. That alone is huge because the high places were often where pagan worship would often occur. Deborah sat between, and therefore, separated the place of pagan worship from the place of true worship of God. Deborah, eventually, along with Barak, led Israel into battle and triumphed over their oppressors.
Now, where are the Deborah’s of our generation? Where are the women who will faithfully serve God in the season of life they are in? Deborah had a husband and she did not allow her marital status as a wife to stop her from doing what God called her to do as both prophetess and judge. And on top of that she accepted that part of the victory would go to another woman, Jael. It’s okay to allow the rising and applause of another woman. Deborah shows us this well. Not only did she inform Barak that another woman, Jael, would receive the honor for the defeat of Sisera but she also sang the later song (Judges 5) that celebrated Jael along with herself and Barak. Ladies, let us take a cue from Deborah that even while God has us in a position of prominence or authority that we be excited and enthusiastic about promoting and applauding other women in our sphere. Jael, arise and do your part. Deborah, accept and celebrate the Jaels in your life.