Throughout the Bible, there are many stories of strong and heroic women. In this series, we explore a story of faithful biblical woman each month. With their strong faith, the women of the Bible continue to teach us how to live authentic, faith-filled lives. No matter what our circumstances are, we can find ourselves in their stories.
The fascinating story of Deborah can be found in the Book of Judges in the Bible. She is the first female leader in Israel’s history and yet it’s not noted as extraordinary – the Bible states it factually. It was during this time that the Israelites had been under the control of the oppressive Canaanite King Jabin and the commander of his army, Sisera. The Canaanites had 900 chariots of iron and ruled over Israel for 20 years.
Deborah was an Israelite woman, but the Bible tells very little of her background. What we do know is that she was a wise and God-fearing woman. So wise, in fact, that she was considered a judge and Israelites would come to her to have their disputes settled.
Judges were considered prophets and received guidance through prayer and the laws of God to litigate and settle disputes among the people of Israel.
One day, God instructed Deborah to call for Barak, Commander of the Israelite army, to summon 10,000 men to attack the King’s army and kill Sisera, the commander. Fearful to follow through with the command, Barak told Deborah, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”
She replied, “Certainly I will go with you, 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.”
Deborah and Barak then gathered 10,000 troops and prepared for attack.
A torrential rainstorm occurred at the onset of the battle, causing the ground to become swamped and the heavy iron chariots sank into the mud. Barak, Deborah and the troops were not troubled by the storm and realized that God had provided the rain for their victory. The Israelites left none of Sisera’s army alive.
Deborah’s prophecy was fulfilled: Barak’s army won and the Israelites were freed from the oppressive rule of their enemies.
Barak had faith in God, but not the unwavering faith that Deborah possessed.
How much faith and commitment do we have in serving God as Deborah did?