Women in the Word

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Deborah - the Woman God uses

This morning we are going to start a new series called Women in the Word. Not too long ago we did a series on the disciples where we had an indepth look at their lives and how God used them.
God not only called men but He called women!
I stand here today as an example of that and I am truly thankful for that calling on my life.
The church has an amazing opportunity to embrace, encourage, and embolden women in leadership as we have seen in scripture.
Instead of splitting hairs over dresses and pant suits or who should lead in this day, we need to focus our attention at the fact that there is work to be done and we need men and women of all ages to do this work. God sees no gender when He calls and equips.
Women should be spurred on in the church and not left out of leadership opportunities. Women should not be given more opportunities to lead outside the church than in. The church should be an example in giving opportunities to lead to both men and women. Also, the church should set an example in this area.
So this morning and in the weeks to come we are going to take a look at how God used women to lead and do great things for the furtherance of His kingdom.
Our sons and daughters should hear these examples and be able to support those who are looking to lead because God has called them. They should not be stopped because of their gender.
So this morning we are going to take a look at Deborah.
You can take a look at Judges 4-5 later but for this morning we are going to be looking at sections of these chapters through out this message.
Prayer: Lord take these words and plant them into our hearts and let them transform our lives.

Deborah receives a Word from the Lord

Judges 4:4–5 NLT
Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. She would sit under the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgment.
Deborah was a Judge, she was a prophetess of the God of the Israelites. She was the fourth judge of the pre-monarchic Israel. She is the only judge mentioned in the Bible.
Background:
The people of Israel had been oppressed by the King of Canaan for 20 years. Deborah was stirred by the wretched conditions of Israel and she sends a message to Barak.
Deborah is first mentioned in scripture in Judges 4:4-5. She judges Israel under the Palm between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephriam - North of Jerusalem.
She serves as a judge in the sense of arbitrary disputes. Later in the chapter we see Deborah take on the role of military advisor and leader.
Deborah is known as Lappidoth esheth which means wife of Lappidoth and literally “women of torches” which is argued to mean women warrior.
Lappidoth is a nickname for Barak.
Judges 4:6–7 NLT
One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam, who lived in Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. She said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun at Mount Tabor. And I will call out Sisera, commander of Jabin’s army, along with his chariots and warriors, to the Kishon River. There I will give you victory over him.”
Deborah exercises her authority when she summons Barak to inform him he is commanded by God to do battle with Jabin (King of Canaan) and his army and his general Sisera.
Barak only agrees to do battle if Deborah agrees to accompany him. Deborah warns Barak that the glory for this battle will not be his.
Deborah was not speaking out of term she was speaking with the God given confidence that was intrusted to he by the position God placed her in!
Let’s talk about this for a minute. This took guts! Deborah was standing strong in the God given calling and authority here and stood her ground against the standard of hierarchy of the day.
When God has called us as women to stand in the authority of that calling there are times that this is called feminism and not leadership. But this is unfair and wrong. Do not let opposition from others stop you from doing what the Lord is laying on your heart to do.

Deborah replays the Lord’s word to Barak!

Barak understood Deborah’s calling and her placement in this instance as well. I believe he respected it. This says a lot as well for him as a man of this day. When you respect God’s calling in this manner it speaks well of your character.
Barak only agrees to do battle if Deborah agrees to accompany him!
Judges 4:6–7 NLT
One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam, who lived in Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. She said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun at Mount Tabor. And I will call out Sisera, commander of Jabin’s army, along with his chariots and warriors, to the Kishon River. There I will give you victory over him.”
Debroah agrees to go but warns Barak that the glory for this battle will not be his!
We need to recognize it is not about us or our glory and fame. It is about the Lord’s message and assurance of victory!
Deborah shares the plan with Barak. She tells him to muster 10, 000 troops of Nephtali and Zebulun and bring them to Mount Tabor. This was the Northern angle of the plain of Esdraelon.
At the same time she states the Lord God of Israel will draw the General Sisera to the river of Kishon.
Judges 4:10 NLT
At Kedesh, Barak called together the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and 10,000 warriors went up with him. Deborah also went with him.
Judges 4:10 uses the word “devorah imu watta’alo” - the root is alah which means to go up and carries the meaning to go into battle which indicates that Deborah physically participated in the battle.
If so this would be the only biblical instance of a woman participating in warfare.
However, Deborah is not mentioned as involved in the battle in Judges 4:12-16 but it is an interesting point to note.
The only mention of Deborah during these verses is verse 14. Where she urges Barak into battle and reminds him that he fights at the command of Yahweh!
Judges 4:14 NLT
Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get ready! This is the day the Lord will give you victory over Sisera, for the Lord is marching ahead of you.” So Barak led his 10,000 warriors down the slopes of Mount Tabor into battle.
Note the phrase she uses “The Lord will go ahead of you”. Deborah prophesied, the battle was fought and Sisera is completely ddefeated.
Aren‘t you thankful the Lord goes ahead of us?
Deborah’s prophecy comes true in v. 17-22.
Judges 4:17–22 NLT
Meanwhile, Sisera ran to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because Heber’s family was on friendly terms with King Jabin of Hazor. Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come into my tent, sir. Come in. Don’t be afraid.” So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a blanket. “Please give me some water,” he said. “I’m thirsty.” So she gave him some milk from a leather bag and covered him again. “Stand at the door of the tent,” he told her. “If anybody comes and asks you if there is anyone here, say no.” But when Sisera fell asleep from exhaustion, Jael quietly crept up to him with a hammer and tent peg in her hand. Then she drove the tent peg through his temple and into the ground, and so he died. When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael went out to meet him. She said, “Come, and I will show you the man you are looking for.” So he followed her into the tent and found Sisera lying there dead, with the tent peg through his temple.
Deborah may have thought she would be the one to vanquish Sisera it is not her that does it. It is another lady Jael the wife of Heber who murders Sisera.
Sisera escapes from the battlefied on foot while his army is pursued as far as Harisheth of the Gentiles and then they are destroyed.
Sisera comes to the tent of Jael looking for shelter after escaping. He lies down in the tent and asks for a drink. Jael gives him milk. Sisera falls asleep and while he is asleep Jael hammers a tent peg through his temple.
Jael - is the woman mentioned in the book of Judges who is a heroine who killed Sisera to deliver Israel from the troops of King Jabin.
Deborah ends the account with this statement:
Judges 5:31 NLT
Lord, may all your enemies die like Sisera! But may those who love you rise like the sun in all its power!” Then there was peace in the land for forty years.

Deborah raises a song of praise to the Lord!

She recognizes that the victory is not hers but the Lord’s!
Deborah praises the Lord for the leaders and people’s willing participation and obedience.
Judges 5:1–2 NLT
On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song: “Israel’s leaders took charge, and the people gladly followed. Praise the Lord!
Deborah praises the Lord for Jael’s great deed - her killing Sisera the enemy.
Chapter 5 in Judges is a victory hymn that is sung by Deborah and Barak about the defeat of Canaan by some of the tribes of Israel.
The song mentions 6 tribes that participates as opposed to two that is mentioned in Judges 4:6 and does not mention the role of King Jabin.
Judges 4:6 NLT
One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam, who lived in Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. She said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun at Mount Tabor.
This song stands out as unique because it is a hymn that celebrates a military victory of two women.
Deborah the prophet, the judge
Jael the warrior
Just like our worship this morning Deborah acknowledges how important it is to recognize and give praise and honor to God. Raise a Hallelujah! Give him the honor He deserves!
Conclusion:
Friends, I believe it is time we recognize that God wants availibility he is not bothered with gender.
Deborah recognized that the Lord has given her gifts and abilities to use for His glory. God has done the same for you as well. Are you using them to your full potential?
What is your legacy?
What will people say about the life you have modeled?
That you are sold out for God and His glory?
Let’s be people who are determined to use and practice those gifts and abilities for His glory!
1 Corinthians 12:4–11 NIV
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Deborah discovered her spiritual gifts and did not hesitate to put them to use.
She had the gift of prophecy and leadership and she did not back down because that could have intimidated others in her life.
Deborah dared to break free from tradition and obeyed the Lord’s calling on her life and to lead Israel at that time. Even though it was not the norm for a woman to lead. She led anyway!
She made herself and her gifts available for the Lord and for His service. She summoned Barak, her husband to get into proper placement as she was directed by God.
Deborah was deliberately involved and willingly invested.
You see God could have bypassed Deborah completely but He saw fit to show us all that he uses both men and women. So women be willing to be used. Men don’t be afraid if women are used.
Matthew 6:19–20 NIV
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Deborah’s influence inspired others to do great things for the Lord!
God using Deborah over Barak did not create problem between man and woman or husband and wife. Deborah inspired Barak to trust the Lord and to fight his battles!
Deborah inspired Jael to help with the fight and she was instrumental in winning the battle by killing Sisera.
Deborah inspired the people to live grateful lives through her song!
So this morning:
Women hear the call - you are useful to God! You have a place, take that place He has called you to and faithfully serve in the gifts He has given you!
Dare to aim for spiritual greatness before the Lord!
Men obey the challenge and call of the Lord to be spiritual leaders. When God calls you and that calling doesn’t make sense in the way you expect it should or how it looks in the light of how things have always been done, don’t question, trust and obey!
We are being reminded to return to our calling as leaders. To our first love which is obedience to the voice of God.
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