God’s Provision of Leadership through Deborah

KEY VERSE: “She [Deborah] sent and called Barak …, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward Mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?” —Judges 4:6

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Judges 4:4-10, 14-16

AFTER JOSHUA SUCCESSFULLY led Israel into the Land of Promise, Israel was left to continue to root out the Canaanites within their borders. But time and again they failed to do this and so were harassed and subdued by the Canaanites. God permitted this to happen because of their infidelity and backsliding.

Before Joshua died, God used an angel to plainly tell the people, “I will not drive them [the Canaanites] out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides and their gods shall be a snare unto you.” (Judges 2:3) He withdrew his aid because they had not obeyed his voice. After Joshua and all his generation had died, “there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord.”—Judges 2:11-14

What happened next is recorded in Judges 2:11-14: “The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.”

But God was gracious and longsuffering, delivering them often. (Judges 2:16) “The Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.” A judge was one who executed justice with God’s guidance, relieving those oppressed. Unfortunately, Israel would backslide as each judge died, corrupting themselves more than their fathers.

One of the first of these judges was Othniel. He subdued the king of Aram and brought peace for forty years. When he died, the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord, and so the Lord raised up Ehud as a judge. And the land had rest for eighty years. But again and again the same pattern was repeated.

“The children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead. And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan … the captain of whose host was Sisera. … The children of Israel cried unto the Lord … and Deborah, a Prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.”—vss. 1-4

Deborah was used by the Lord to deliver Israel from oppression by King Jabin. She summoned Barak to war against his army led by Sisera. But he would not go unless she went also. Because of his lack of faith, the honor which could have been his alone, had to be shared with yet another woman. Barak followed Deborah’s instructions and gained a decisive victory against the army of King Jabin, but Sisera escaped on foot and sought refuge in the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. As he slept from exhaustion, she slew him. Then the land had peace for forty years.—vss. 17-24

Why did God use a Prophetess to be a judge and to once again deliver his people? Anyone willing to faithfully serve God in the proper spirit will surely be acceptable to him, and mightily used by him.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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