The Israelites were doing evil in the sight of God. (Judges 3:12)
After serving the King of the Moabites (Lot's crew) for 18-years, the Israelites cried out to the Lord. He raised up a man named, Ehud, a left-handed Benjaminite, as a deliverer for them. (Judges 3:14-15)
How often did God raise up deliverers for us? Each one had failures, until Jesus. This just proves that no man can be our Savior- only God can wear that title.
Ehud made a two-edged sword that was 18" long. 18" in the Bible held a symbolic meaning, 'bondage.' Also, take note that the Israelites were being slaves for 18 years until this point.
Long story short, Ehud came to the King and told him that he had a secret message to discuss privately. After the King sends away everyone, Ehud locks the door and strikes the KIng with his 18" sword. The King was known as a very fat man and the sword went completely through him, even the handle (which would have added 6-11 more inches to the sword).
Ehud fled by the way of the porch and when the servants came in, they found their King dead on the floor. (Judges 3:16-25)
Ehud became the leader and there was peace for 80-years!
Why am I telling you this story that obviously does not talk about Deborah? Well, just get ready, I'm going to explain in the end!
After Ehud dies, the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Again. (Judges 4:1)
So the Israelites became enslaved, if you will, under another ruthless king.
Here we meet a woman named Deborah. (Judges 4:4)
Deborah would sit under a palm tree called, "Deborah," and the people would go up to her and settle arguments. (Judges 4:5)
The palm tree wasn't actually named after this Deborah, but another Deborah. Rebekah, Isaac's wife, aka mom of Jacob had a nurse named Deborah. This woman died and Jacob buried her under a tree and named it after her. That Deborah probably helped raise Jacob, who became known as 'Isreal' and had 12 sons.
So, Deborah creates this plan. You see, as a judge over people, she knows most matters of the nation and hears the people's cries over the tyranny that rules over them. So Deborah summons the commanding officer of their people, Barak. (Read Judges 4:6-7)
Not only does Deborah have the courage to share this plan to a military leader, she actually says that she will join them in this battle.
Barak's response is, "if you go with me, I will go." Barak was afraid to go until Deborah showed her courage and faith by standing up when he would not.
There are so many stories in the book of Judges that talk about how the Israelites return to sin and God sends them a deliverer. You may be thinking that Deborah or even Barak is the savior of the story. But they are not! Let's keep going to find out who is.
So Deborah agrees to go into battle with Barak.
The moment has come when he battle is about to start. I can just picture the scene. You know the scene in Narnia when Peter Pevensie is starring across the field to fight the White Queen? There’s this thick tension and as you wait for the battle trumpet, something happens that you don’t expect.
The Lord threw the commanding officer of the evil King’s army into panic! Can you imagine seeing this in person? All is quiet and still, until all of a sudden the enemy retreats before the battle begins. Sisera, the commanding officer, actually jumps out of his chariot and flees from the scene. His army is defeated and Sisera tries to find somewhere he can hide.
Now Jael is the wife of Heber, who is a descendant from Moses’ father-in-law. Heber had moved away from his family before the battle. (See verse 11) This is a total God-thing!!!
Jael welcomes this coward into her tent, feeds him and offers him to rest in her tent.
This scared commander tells Jael to stand guard for him if anyone comes looking for him. If I was her, I would definitely be a little concerned about who I was actually helping.
As Sisera is asleep, Jael sneaks into the tent with a tent peg and a hammer. We can all assume what happen next. (Judges 4:21)
When Barack arrived to Heber and Jael’s tent, looking for Sisera, he was greeted with Jael saying to come and look at the man that you are trying to find. (Judges 4:22)
And here is the Savior of the story. (Read Judges 4:23-24)
God is the ultimate deliverer. Deborah and Barack realized this too. After the battle is won, Deborah composes a song and she sings it with Barak for the King of all Kings.
Judges 5 is the entire psalm of praise.
Singing psalms after a battle was a tradition after Moses and the Israelites escaped from the hand of Pharoh. The song of Judges 5, reflects the song in Exodus 15.
V.1-5 “Lord when YOU came-“ + “when YOU marched-“
V.7 Would you stand up? Deborah was known well for what she did, but she didn’t do it for praise from other people. She saw a need and knew that if she didn’t step up, nobody else would.
V.11 Do we tell everyone about what God has done? This verse shows that no matter what you are doing or where you are, you can still share the gospel and give praise to God.
V.24 Just think about Jael for a second, she probably heard about Deborah’s bravery and act of faith and that might have inspired her to end this battle once in for all. We may never get to know how we can effect others with the things we stand up for and believe in.
V.31 May those who love Him, be like Him. The rising of the sun in its strength.
I believe this is such a beautiful verse that talks about Deborah. How when men fail, and all humans fail - Deborah stood up. Just like the rising sun, she was the first to lead.
You know, we can definitely learn from Deborah. In a way we can be rising suns. The world is a dark place. We, as God’s daughters have the choice to to either hide or shine the light of the True Son-Jesus Christ.
Job 19:25-27 is a great verse to end this time in reflection. Take a few minutes to think how you can be a Deborah to those around you. Pray that God may use you to stand up and be courageous!