Ooohhh . . . Deborah’s life is convicting! Do you remember the woman I’m talking about? You can read her story in Judges 4 and 5. She was a wife, a prophetess, a judge, and a leader in Israel during a period of time when there was a disappointing vacuum of male leadership.
In her closing True Woman ’10 message, Nancy Leigh DeMoss told us the story of this woman, who was anything but weak and wimpy. Deborah exerted strong, godly influence in a way that was distinctively feminine—in a way that encouraged the men around her—and especially a man named Barak—to be more godly and to rise to leadership (Judges 5:2,9).
How do we know that Deborah was this kind of woman? Well, one clue is found in Judges 5:7, where Deborah writes her own autobiographical sketch of sorts. Here’s what she has to say about herself:
“Village life in Israel ceased, ceased until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel” (emphasis added).
At a very dangerous period of time, when life-as-usual ceased to be, God raised up Deborah—a “mother in Israel.” If I were Deborah, and were writing my own bio, I’d want people to know that I was a prophetess, a warrior, a strategist, a leader. But Deborah wasn’t motivated by recognition or fame. She was motivated by a mother’s heart . . . something that all of us—even singles!—can have for those around us.
Yep, Deborah was definitely a woman of faith, courage, and humility. Because of her encouragement, Barak became the man God had called him to be. Though Deborah was originally the one with the faith, shockingly, it’s not her faith but Barak’s that’s noted in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith”:
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak . . . who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised . . . (Hebrews 11:32-33, emphasis added).
After studying Deborah’s life, Nancy is certain that it would’ve pleased Deborah that Barak’s name was listed here, because Deborah was fulfilling her God-given role as a helper. In Nancy’s words, “It’s not the power of control, but the power of influence that we have as women.”
How about you? Do you have a chip on your shoulder toward men? Are you trying to control the men around you and promote yourself, or are you using your influence to encourage the men around you to become godly leaders?
Oh, God, would you continue to transform us into women of faith, courage, and humility, whose words inspire courage and faith in the men around us? In the words of Pastor John Piper, I ask that you would help us to embrace what is “at the heart of mature femininity: a freeing disposition [inclination] to affirm, receive, and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships.” Amen.