Daughters of Grace Series: Deborah
Last week we continued a study from the Daily Grace Co. called Daughters of Grace. We talked about Rahab, her story, characteristics, and what we can learn from her life. This week we are talking about a woman who was a judge in the old testament named Deborah.
If you would like a link to purchase the study we are reading from, click here. You may also head over to our Facebook Page and watch the live video from 1/18/21 if you would like to just listen to what the book reads and follow along.
To read the full story in the Bible, flip to Judges chapter 4 and 5. I am going to hop right in to the discussion questions from this story.
1. What do we learn about God and His character in the life of Deborah?
- The Lord qualifies those He has called: we do not know if Deborah felt qualified for the position she held but we do know that she was called by God. Many of the leaders God called in the Bible were not qualified for the roles they took on, but God prepared them for their purpose and put trust in His people. This could have also gone in the last section of our discussion questions, but I feel like this lesson says more about God's character and who He entrusts with big jobs.
- God is faithful and is deserving of our praise: This has been an overwhelming theme in each story and I believe it is why we were given some of the Bible stories that we have. Every time, God shows His faithfulness and trustworthiness in situations that were hard. He shows us again and again that we can trust Him and that He is so worthy of our praise.
2. What character qualities, positive or negative, do we see demonstrated in Deborah's life?
- courageous: this is a character trait that we have seen in a ton of the women we have studied so far! Biblical times were very different for women, so for a woman like Deborah to hold a revered position as a judge and then to lead into battle so fearlessly is wildly courageous.
- humble: right after Deborah leads the Israelites into battle and they win, she immediately gives the glory to God and praises Him for the victory. It would have been so easy for her to feel pride or try to take credit for her leadership skills but she stays humble and sings praises to God. It almost reminds me of another story when Moses takes credit for the water coming from the rock for the Israelites instead of giving credit to God for that Miracle. Deborah had the opportunity to make the same mess up but she didn't and had so much humility!
- powerful: Even though God gave Deborah and the Israelites the big victory and it wasn't purely by Deborah's leadership skills or power, she still held a very powerful position as a Judge for the tribe of Israel and was greatly respected for this role. In my opinion, Deborah most likely held the most power and influence of any other women in the old testament, which makes her such an interesting figure to study.
- faithful & trusting: this goes right back to how courageous Deborah was. Not only was she a woman during biblical times, she was a leader who had to go into a huge battle.
- servant leader: Deborah is one of the first examples we have of a woman in the Bible being a servant leader. I love the term servant leader because that is what Jesus was and I believe that it truly makes such a big difference in leadership! Deborah sees that Barak is only going to go into battle if she goes with him, so Deborah lays what she wants down to lead Israel into battle.
- Worshipper: In the New Testament, we see several times that characters worship or lament songs to God for their blessings. This is another example in which Deborah does something groundbreaking and pretty new: she sings a song to glorify God. We see this happen in the life of David and it continues through the new testament but to my knowledge, this is the first time we see recorded a woman worshipping in song to God.
- Wise but not prideful: When Barak asks Deborah to go with him into battle, Deborah says in Judges 4:9 "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". This appears that Deborah is being almost prideful, saying that because she will have to go into battle with Barak that the Lord will deliver Sisera into a woman's hands (sounding like her own victory). But being wise and also a prophet, this statement had a double meaning, as Sisera was killed by Jael. Therefore, he was delivered into a woman's hands and Israel was victorious by Deborah's leadership.
Deborah broke down so many gender barriers and set such an amazing example not only as a woman, but as a leader, and as a Christian and worshipper of God.
3. What can I learn from Deborah's story that I can apply to my own life?
There are so many lessons I feel that we can take from Deborah's story! The first one isn't about Deborah herself, so I am going to separate that first and then list out the other lessons.
- A nation that was once good or under God can fall away: again, this really isn't a lesson derived from Deborah, but it is just a good example that a country that believes in God can still fall away and mess up. I wanted to call this specific thing out because I often get asked if I only manufacture within the United States or if I only get fabric from the US and I want to remind you that while we are American and have been blessed to live here, we serve a God of all nations- not just a God of the United States. Obviously we would never want to support unfair working conditions or labor laws and have to look carefully into this, but it is so important to remember that we are called to minister and live throughout the world. It seems that in recent years, being Christian and being American have become closely tied together but patriotism and Christianity are not one in the same and are not mutually exclusive. Love the country you live in- that is great! But we have to acknowledge a lot of the ways our country strays from what the Gospel says and that we need to prioritize God's authority over governmental leadership. Even the nation of Israel- God's chosen people fell into a cycle of sin.
- Do not question God's voice: Deborah could have so easily gone in a different direction within her leadership and chosen a route that was less scary and less difficult. BUT she didn't! She never questioned or faltered in what God wanted her to do, even though it was hard. Deborah was also a prophet with the Holy Spirit and with a whole lot of discernment. We need to not questions God's voice but also become comfortable praying about and discerning what voice comes from God (and which things do not).
- When God goes before us, there is nothing to fear: Deborah was able to act so courageously because she knew that she was not going alone into battle. She knew that she was obeying God and that He would go before her into battle and protect her and her people.
- God deserves our praise (immediately): I touched on this in the first question of how deserving of our praise God is, but I want to reiterate that. We so often pray for something to happen and then once we see it come to fruition, we forget to give thanks for the very thing we have prayed for. We pray for something so longingly or desperately at times and then take for granted when those prayers are answered. I am definitely guilty of this and it is something I am working on. Deborah gives us a great example in Judges chapter 5 of immediately showing her gratitude and praising God for the victory He brought to Israel.