In my church this month, my pastor is preaching on the heroes of faith. As I pondered this, I realise that my hero in the Bible is not mentioned in Hebrews 11 as a hero of faith, but she is the only woman judge mentioned in the book of Judges. Her name is Deborah. Who is this woman and what is her story. It is found in Judges chapter 4.
She comes to our attention in one of the periods of time when the Israelites turned away from God. When they turned away from God, they opened the door up for the enemy to come right in and do what he liked. In this case their enemy was a Canaanite king. The commander of the army was Sisera and he was fierce. He had 900 iron chariots and oppressed Israel for twenty years. That is a long time to be oppressed by someone. Oppressed in the dictionary means subject to harsh and authoritarian treatment. The Israelites living conditions were bad.
into this comes a judge appointed by God, Deborah. The Bible tells us she was a wife and a mother. So her life was busy. But God called her for such a time as this (like He does with all heroes). She was also a prophetess – she heard from God and spoke God’s Word to the people.
I like what verse 5 says – she was sitting under a palm tree between two places. What was she doing? Sitting in the position God gave her waiting for someone to pass by or come to her. She was sitting between Ramah (seat of idolatry) and Bethel (house of God). God had her positioned between these two places to lead the people back to God. This is like us – God has positioned you in your workplace, school, shopping centre etc. between the church and the world to lead people to church where they will find hope, purpose and a Saviour.
In verse 6, she heard from God and summoned a man named Barack to lead the armies of God to war against the Canaanites. However, he didn’t just go off and do it but asked Deborah, a woman, to go with them. Now one thing to understand, woman in those days didn’t usually go to war so this was an unusual occurrence.
Deborah agreed and went to war but Barack missed out on his blessing as Deborah told him that a woman would get the glory for the victory over the Canaanites. The end of the story is that the Israelites won and a woman named Jael received the glory.
What are some things we can learn from my hero?
1. Be positioned in the place where God wants us.
2. Lead people from the place of idolatry to the place of prayer.
3. Be ready and available to do God’s calling.
4. When someone needs a hand go.
5. Your present position may not be your calling.
6. God calls both men and women.
One thing from this story is that this is the only story in the Bible recorded about Deborah but it was recorded.
A hero in the Bible is an ordinary person who obeys God’s calling and does it regardless of fear or circumstances. That is the same for us today. We can all be a hero and get our stories written in heaven but only if we obey. Your calling is never going to be the same as someone else’s. You are unique and so is your calling.
Remember you too can be a hero to others. Bless you and have a great week!