I few weeks ago I had a reader writer to request that I write about the Old Testament judge Deborah at some point. Well, this seems like a good point to do that, so let me honor her request and look at this obscure character in the book of Judges.
Deborah is identified as both a prophetess and a judge, someone to whom Israel came when they wanted to settle a dispute. She was married, but still had a position of authority, even though those were not common for women at that time. During her tenure, Israel was oppressed by an army commander named Sisera. God spoke to Deborah and she summoned a man named Barak and delivered a "word" from the Lord that he was to attack Sisera and deliver Israel.
When he agreed but only on the condition that Deborah accompany him, Deborah promised him victory but predicted that the victory would come at the hands of a woman, thus depriving Barak the full honor due for his courage and actions. (You can read this for yourself in Judges 4.)
What can we learn from this account that would help you and me on our PurposeQuest today? Here is what I see:
- Deborah was a woman. It seems that gender was not an issue for God. Should it be for you?
- Deborah was a leader. Israel willingly responded to her leadership. When you are a leader, God gives you followers. You don't have to work to find them.
- Deborah was a woman under authority. You seldom have to be a renegade or rebel to accomplish your purpose. You can work within the confines of the authority in your church, company or nation. You simply have to accept the "call" that is on your life.
- Deborah was brave. First, she shared her word from the Lord at a time when Israel was oppressed. She agreed to go to the battle with Barak to encourage him in the work that God gave him to do through her word. Like her fellow prophets, David and Jeremiah, she was not aloof but went with the people of God. Are you involved with those you lead and follow?
- Deborah had faith. Deborah shared her "word" even though it seemed that the enemies of Israel were stronger and more numerous. She was confident that, if Barak followed her command, he would have success.
- Deborah's faith was contagious. Because she had faith, Barak had faith too, as reported by the writer of Hebrews: "And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets" (Hebrews 11:32). Do people catch faith from you as you speak and act?
What can you learn from Deborah's example to help you in your PurposeQuest this coming week? Do you see any other points or lessons from this account that I am missing? If so, please take the time to post them on my site for others to see. Next week, we will look at Judges 5 and the song that Deborah sang after Barak and his army were victorious. Until then, may the Spirit of Deborah be with you and yours as we seek to obey the word of the Lord as it comes to our lives and work. Have a great week!
YOUR HELP IS URGENTLY NEEDED:
Please don't forget the children this Christmas as I prepare for my next trip to Kenya in February. I need money and supplies to feed and educate them in a difficult environment. I am
grateful for your prayerful and prompt response to the children's
needs. To read all about what's going on, go to my blog
to see my latest post or go to my Facebook page. I need books and
educational toys and I need you to help me get them. I will figure out
a way to get them to Kenya. You just figure out a way to get them to
When you do your Christmas shopping and giving this year, please remember The Sophia Fund and The Deborah Foundation (named after my daughter, not after the Old Testament judge discussed above). I know you will be blessed when you do.
DAILY PROVERB: I am now posting a short daily devotional focusing on one verse every day on my blog site. If you would like to read it or subscribe to receive it, just go to my site and register there. I promise to have it updated every day.
FACEBOOK: My goal is to have 1,000 Facebook friends on FB by 12/31. Right now I have 750. I update my status on Facebook (you can find me by searching my email, [email protected]) every morning to include a daily verse from Proverbs and an inspirational quote. I do the same on Twitter @johnstanko as well as a daily feature entitled "What Would Jesus Ask?" Go there to sign up and follow along.
FREE PURPOSEQUEST ASSESSMENT: I updated and improved the feedback email you receive from your online assessment, so now is a great time to take or re-take the purpose assessment on my website. This is not a scientific survey, but something that is meant to stimulate your thought and direct your study concerning where you are in your PurposeQuest.