Tag Archives: Judges 4

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 60/260: Deborah and Barak

Read Judges 4:6-24

“Has Not the Lord Gone Out Before You?”

There is a contrast between the wisdom of Deborah and the hesitancy of Barak in Judges 4. Remember Deborah was a “prophetess” (Judges 4:4), indicating that she received revelations from the Lord. But more than just receiving those revelations, she trusted in them!

She told Barak to go up against Sisera, the commander of the army of Jabin, the king of Canaan. Did Barak jump at the opportunity to obey the will of the Lord? No! Instead, he said, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go” (Judges 4:8). Perhaps he wanted the mouthpiece of God with him, but even if Deborah had refused to go, God had already promised deliverance.

Deborah agrees to accompany Barak on the mission, while continuing to give God the credit for the eventual victory, telling him that “the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman” (Judges 4:9). When the arrived at Mount Tabor, Deborah again reminded Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” (Judges 4:14). At no point did Deborah take any credit for herself, nor give Barak any credit for what was about to transpire. The victory belonged to the Lord!

The inspired author of Judges then recounts the defeat of Jabin’s army, and reveals the woman through whom Sisera himself would be defeated. Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, took the commander into her tent. She gave him milk rather than water, helping him slumber. When he was asleep, she drove a tent peg through his temple with a hammer, killing him. Just as Deborah had prophesied, Sisera was defeated by “the hand of a woman” (Judges 4:9).

Barak hesitated, and God gave the opportunity to another. Do you ever hesitate at the Lord’s commands and promises? He commands belief, repentance, confession of faith, and immersion in water. Have you obeyed? If not, what is holding you back? He promises eternal life to those who submit to Him. Why are you reluctant to take hold of that precious promise?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 59/260: Deborah

Read Judges 4:1-5; 5:7-9

A Worthy Woman with Wisdom

Throughout the Scriptures, we see a great value in wisdom, and Deborah displayed great wisdom in her leadership as a judge in Israel. We are told in her song that the people “chose new gods” (Judges 5:8). What a sad state of affairs for a nation that had been so blessed by God, delivered through the prior judges. Time and time again the people turned away from the God who saved them.

Deborah was God’s chosen servant to again rescue His people after struggling under the oppression of Jabin, the king of Canaan, and the commander of his army, Sisera, for twenty years. The text identifies her as “a prophetess” and the one who “was judging Israel at that time” (Judges 4:4).

What was involved in “judging Israel”? In the accounts of the judges who served prior to Deborah, the focus was on military exploits. Yet here, before the battle begins, we see that “The children of Israel came up to her for judgment” (Judges 4:5). Evidently, the judges were not only military heroes, but also advised on civil matters.

Who better to rule over such matters than the wise woman Deborah. What does the book of Proverbs say about the “virtuous wife” (Proverbs 31:10)? “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

Inspiration clearly shows that Deborah was wise and feared the Lord. She says in her song that she “arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7). She cared for the people as a mother cares for her own children. Deborah serves as a wonderful example for all today.

There is also something noble about the men who followed her leadership. “My heart is with the rulers of Israel who offered themselves willingly with the people. Bless the Lord!” (Judges 5:9). When one considers how women were viewed by the people of the ancient world, it would not have been strange if the men had rejected her. Yet, they recognized her wisdom and followed, not by compulsion, but “willingly.” Are we prepared to follow those who demonstrate such wisdom today?