Biblical Servant Leadership
Fall 2013 – Dr. Martin
Deborah – From Judges, Chapters 4 and 5
I don’t often think about leaders in the Bible, but when I do, I often think of the only woman judge mentioned in scripture – Deborah. She is one to admire. This woman of God provides a picture of leadership quite out of the ordinary in the society of her time. Very few women in of that day rose to positions of judge. There were powerful queens, but to be a judge…for a woman it could only mean God had ordained her to this position. Deborah stands out equally for her civic leadership, as for her spiritual leadership; exemplifying qualities we all should possess to lead today. In Deborah's day, Israel had no king, no central leader to whom Israel looked. Judges describes these perilous times as “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted” During this time Israel found itself oppressed by Jabin, the Canaanite king, and Sisera, the general of his army. Jabin’s army was formidable. He had oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for nearly twenty years. This is the situation in which Deborah found herself. The narrative of Deborah in scripture recalls how she led the Israelites against these fearsome Canaanites. She received specific and distinct instructions and directions from God so that He could deliver the Canaanites into their hands. Guided by God, Deborah stood with Barak, urging and encouraging him to lead the armies of Israel to Mount Tabor in a full on assault of these cruel Canaanites. Israel obediently followed Deborah as she followed God’s leadership and defeated Sisera, the commander of the Canaanites; enjoying an extended period of peace. Deborah might rightly be viewed as a true heroine of history. She was a multi-tasker working as a wife and mother, a prophetess and judge, a poet and singer, as well as a political and military leader. As prophetess, Deborah was in exclusive company. Only two other women in the Old Testament (Miriam, Exodus 15:20 and Huldah, 2 Kings 22:14-20) share this designation. As a judge, God gave her the authority to render civil court decisions with wisdom, prudence, and equity. As a prophetess, God used her to deliver His messages to His people; she was careful not to voice her own words, but only God’s – as she yielded herself to Him. My vision, as I imagine her, is not one of a cranky, sarcastic ‘Judge Judy type’. No, I see her as an honored mediator dispensing advice and counsel in the Spirit of the Lord. The discernment and assurance God gave to Deborah positioned her as one of the outstanding female leaders in history. Her wisdom and judgment were sought after. Judges 4:4-5 says that “At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment.” From this vantage point of power and position, she knew that there were storms of battle constantly churning in the valley below. There was chaos and confusion. From that muck and mess, God caused a woman to rise up and lead this nation to the victory God would show her. She recruited the reluctant general Barak to take the battle to the Caananites. When he would not lead in the battle, she stepped up. Her answer was unhesitant and confidently assertive and forthright - "I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman."
I wish I could say that I am her namesake, but sadly – no. However far from my mother’s hopes in a name it may have been, the Lord has seen to it that I would share some attributes with Deborah. I feel a kinship with her and if I were a contemporary of Deborah, I would have wanted to hang out with her. She demonstrated such strength of faith and leadership. In many of the ways illustrated below she...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document