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Deborah - A Faithful Focus on What You Can Do
Series: Women Who Rocked in Bible Times—Stories of Those Who Shaped Their Culture and Still Inspire You Today
Shanna D. Gregor
Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. Judges 4:4-5 ESV
After the death of Moses, God allowed Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land with a clear command to destroy the inhabitants. Through obedience to God, Joshua’s leadership brought great military success to God’s people, but once Joshua died, the next generation failed to continue their battle and eventually allowed their enemies—the Canaanites—to influence their culture and way of life. Instead of obeying God and destroying those who lived in the land, they did began to do life with them, eventually marrying them. Those they married brought their own beliefs and false gods into their homes and hearts. (This was what God wanted to avoid in his directive to destoy to inhabitants.)
The Israelites begin to worship idols and compromise their faith. The book of Judges depicts God's chosen people in a continued brutal cycle of sinning and repenting, because they rejected God's instruction. Each time Israel repented, God, in his gracious mercy and love, gave them a judge to save them and point them back to the truth of God’s love.
Deborah’s story begins in Judges Chapter 4. The first verse tells us that once Ehud, the second judge of Israel died, God’s people once again did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Israel once again found themselves under the rule of a foreign king—Jabin, King of Canaan. Sisera, commander of Canaan’s army oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, and they called on God for deliverance. (Aparently the third judge of Israel wasn’t effective.)
Verse 4 tells us that Deborah, a wife and prophetess was leading Israel at the time. The Bible doesn’t say how she became the fourth judge or when. I wonder if Deborah questioned God about his instruction for her to become a judge. Perhaps she had a list in her head of all the reasons why someone else should answer the call to lead. Deborah’s story is about a woman who focused on what she could do instead of what she couldn’t do. Imagine as go about your day—in the midst of you daily chores, gathering water, washing laundry and taking care of your children—glancing across the field to see Deborah, the leader of your nation sitting under a palm tree judging right and wrong for you and your people. Judges 4:5 says, Deborah would sit under the Palm Tree of Deborah, which was between the cities of Ramah and Bethel, in the mountains of Eph ...
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