Women of the Bible Podcast

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Deborah - Week 1: From Disobedience to Deliverance

Season:  Deborah   Buy

Laura Booz: I’m a mom of six kids. That means I do a lot of laundry! Keeping my family in clean clothes is a never-ending cycle of wash, dry, fold, put away . . . wash, dry, fold, put away . . . wash, dry, fold, put away! 

Hi, I’m Laura Booz. Welcome to the Women of the Bible podcast. In this season, my friend Erin Davis is leading us in a study about Deborah, a woman who served God faithfully in a seemingly never-ending cycle.

We’ll read Deborah’s story in the book of Judges. It describes a cycle that the people of God were in for over three-hundred years, even though God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt . . . even though He brought them to their Promised Land.

And even though they knew the consequences of their sin, they put themselves in a spin cycle over and over and over again! And yet, over and over and over again, God raised up deliverers. The book of Judges tells us that over time there were twelve judges, and one of them was a woman hand-picked by God to be a deliverer of God’s people at just the right time.

Deborah was a true woman who served the Lord in a distinctly feminine way. You know, this cycle of disobedience and deliverance didn’t end in the period of the Judges. As broken people living in a broken world, we continue to disobey and need God’s great hand of deliverance. 

So I hope that as you open your Bible to the book of Judges and join us in this study of Deborah, that you too will look for the hand of your Deliverer, Jesus. Let’s join Erin now.

Erin Davis: Okay, I’m dying to know your laundry secrets! How do you do your laundry? Go ahead, Staci.

Staci Rudolph: The question is, do I do my laundry? (laughter)

Erin: That’s the way we should start, with that question!

Staci: No, I’m just playin’.

Erin: Eventually, everybody has to do their laundry. 

Staci: You have to! You can’t go any further. But I wait ’til the last minute. I’m down to the last sock, and I’m like, “I should probably throw a load in.” That’s kind of me; I’m not proud of it.

Erin: Well, you’re being honest. I appreciate it! How about you, Laura? Do you have a rhythm?

Laura Gonzales: Yes, I do! Every single Saturday, same time. It doesn’t matter if I have a lot or a little.

Staci: I’m impressed!

Erin: I am too. I always have a lot, because I have four little boys, and so I feel like I’m always a mountain climber trying to summit Mt. Laundry. I don’t know that I have much of a rhythm, but it gets done.

Welcome to the Women of the Bible podcast. It’s not a podcast about laundry (that might be an interesting podcast; I’m not sure), but we’re here to open our Bibles. I’m glad you’re here with me. 

I’d love for you to introduce yourselves to the women listening. We’ll start with you Laura; tell us whatever we need to know about your life or your laundry.

Laura: My name is Laura Gonzalez. I have the joy of working for Revive Our Hearts with the Spanish outreach of Aviva Nuestros Corazones.

Erin: Can you say that, Staci?

Staci: (laughter) I was going to try it. If I take it slow, I can probably get it out (Aviva Nuestros Corazones, prompted by Laura). 

Erin: That was good! Love that. And Staci, I’ve already said your name, but what else do we need to know?

Staci: I’m Staci Rudolph, and I am a lead teacher with True Girl, so I really have a passion for getting tweens into God’s Word, to study His Word. I love God’s Word.

Erin: I love that. Like I said, this is not a podcast about laundry. We are here to talk about a specific woman of the Bible; her name is Deborah. And Staci, in case somebody is wondering where Deborah’s story is in the Bible, where is it?

Staci: It’s found in the book of Judges.

Erin: Laura, do you read the book of Judges often? Is it a favorite spot?

Laura: Once a year. It’s not my favorite, especially the last chapter is not. 

Erin: Why is that?

Laura: It is very depressing to see how low we can fall as God’s people. It’s wonderful to see God’s grace, but . . . 

Erin: Right. We’re going to see both as we explore Deborah’s life. Deborah is one of the bright spots. God uses her in His redemptive story, as we’ll talk about over these next several episodes. But in this episode, we just kind of want to get the big picture of the book of Judges so that we know what’s going on as we really drill into Deborah’s life.

So let’s start where we should, in Judges chapter 1. Everybody turn there, and we’re going to read a smattering of verses here (do you like that word, “smattering”?) in Judges chapter 1. I’m going to warn you, there are some hard to pronounce words here.

Staci: Yes. Why would you do that to us? 

Erin: I’m sorry; I had to. So let’s just rip off the Band-Aid and assume we’re all saying them wrong, and go for it! I’ll go first: Let me read Judges chapter 1, verse 29.

And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them. (I picked one with easy words.)

If you’re a write-in-your Bible, which I am, maybe you circle or underline that phrase, “did not drive out.” You’re going to see that over and over. Staci, I’m going to give you verse 30; not so easy there.

Staci: Okay, here we go:

Zebulun failed to drive out the residents of Kitron or the residents of Nahalol, so the Canaanites lived among them and served as forced labor. (Judges 1:30 CSB)

Erin: Very good. Laura, can you give us Judges 1:31?

Laura:

Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon or of Ahlab or of Achzib or of Helbah or of Aphik or of Rehob . . . (Judges 1:31 ESV)

Erin: Can we still be friends? (laughter) You’re our bilingual member of the team! You can keep reading through verse 32, go ahead.

Laura:

. . . so the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land, for they did not drive them out.

Erin: There you go. Okay, I’ll take verse 33.

Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh [here, I’m getting a dose of my own medicine!], or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, so they lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath became subject to forced labor for them.

Okay, there are a lot of names and places and people groups in there that might not mean anything to us, but what is the theme? What is the pattern? What is happening over and over in these first few verses of Judges? Laura, what do you see?

Laura: Well, they failed to do something that the Lord had told them to do very specifically. They needed to drive out their enemies . . . and they did not.

Erin: Right. Over and over Scripture is saying, “And they did not drive them out, and they did not drive them out.” That’s the part for us to pay attention to, although certainly those other names matter. 

Laura, what does that reveal to us about the faith of the Israelites? The Israelites are God’s chosen people. He has promised the land to them. He told them to drive out their enemies . . . and they did not, they did not, they did not, they did not. What does it show?

Laura: Disobedience.

Erin: Right, yes. And there is some partial obedience, right? They drive some people; they drive some groups partially out. But I don’t want my kids to just partially obey me; I want them to obey me “all the way, right away.” (We say that a lot.) And that’s not what God’s people did here.

Alright, Judges chapters 1 and 2. I like them, because they’re like two introductions. I’m a writer; I do the same thing. I go back and read my writing and think, Oh! I wrote two introductory paragraphs there! And so did the author of Judges. Both of these chapters, 1 and 2, tell about this cycle that the Israelites were locked into.

We’re going to talk about that cycle in this episode, and that’s why I started with laundry. Ma-a-n, does laundry feel like an endless cycle or what!? Yes, there’s the spin cycle, but there’s just this cycle of: “Okay, I put the laundry in, I move the laundry, I fold the laundry, I put the laundry up.” That reminds me of this cycle that we’re going to study in this episode.

Laura, can you read us Judges 2:11–17? This is like the fly-over of the book of Judges. It’s Judges at a glance. It’s going to give us a glimpse at what God is going to do in this book.

Laura: It says,

And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger.

They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies.

Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them.

Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. (vv. 11–17)

Erin: Laura, I could listen to you read Scripture in that Dominican accent all day long. It is so beautiful! One thing that really helps me as I study the Bible is to take things out of paragraph form and put them in lines or in bullet points or in a graph.

If you were outlining this, what were the steps? First, what did the Israelites do over and over? 

Staci: They failed to drive out their enemies.

Erin: They disobeyed.

Laura: They provoked the Lord and worshipped other gods.

Erin: They worshipped other gods. We see the names of those Old Testament gods sometimes. And what is that? Well, it’s idolatry. They’re worshipping something other than the Lord. Then, the Lord responds to them over and over—if we were mapping them. The Lord just doesn’t let that go on; the Lord can’t just let that go on. So what does the Lord do?

Laura: He gives them into the hands of their enemies, just as He promised.

Erin: He does, right? Isn’t it fascinating that it’s often those enemies whose gods they worshipped? It’s like God was saying, “Do you want to be like them? You could be like them.” But it doesn’t ever go well.

There’s a phrase here that jumped out at me as you were reading, Laura (I’m not sure I caught it before): “And they were in terrible distress.” (v. 15) Describe what it’s like, because I think we might be in a moment like this now. What kinds of things are going on when a whole people group, when a whole culture, is in terrible distress?

Staci: Can I jump in? I think it’s interesting, because they’re in distress in two ways. They’re enslaved spiritually, because they’re now under their enemies’ gods, worshipping their gods; and they're enslaved physically because of the forced labor. So I can only imagine what kind of stress that is.

I think that brings anxiety. I think it brings just an unsettled feeling. You know you kind of did it to yourself a little bit, so it’s just a really heavy distress.

Erin: And there’s got to be some powerlessness, like, “We can’t get ourselves out of this situation!” And when people feel powerless, what do we do?

Staci: Panic!

Erin: Yes, we panic.

Laura: And we run to someone or something to help, to give us relief, and sometimes it’s not God.

Erin: Often, I think, it’s not God. So then the Lord raises up judges. Right there we see His mercy in the first couple of chapters. Because He could just say, “Okay! This is what you did to yourself!” 

Staci: “This is what you wanted!” right.

Erin: But He raises up judges, and it’s one of those judges we’re going to focus on in this season of Women of the Bible. There’s a cycle here that we’re going to call the Four D Cycle. You ladies named them.

1) Disobedience, then

2) the Lord’s Discipline, then

3) Desperation (and they were in terrible distress; we could substitute Distress there for Desperation), and then

4) Deliverance, which is ultimately mercy

So that’s why I thought of the laundry cycle: I wash it, I dry it, I fold it. Some people put their laundry away. Mine just stays in the laundry room.

Staci: Like it was all done in desperation! (laughter)

Erin: Sometimes I have my boys put their own laundry away, and they use the method I call, “stuff and slam.” Just stuff and slam it in, and then it’s unfolded! But over and over and over again, that’s the cycle we see in the book of Judges. It’s really a great backdrop for us to keep in mind as we talk about Deborah.

So let’s insert ourselves into that cycle, because I think every human can insert themselves into that cycle. Let’s think personally about our own lives and that Four D Cycle. This is not a trick question, but I already know the answer: Have you ever disobeyed God? Laura?

Laura: Yes, I have.

Erin: Can you think of some examples?

Laura: One that comes to mind is, when we came to the Lord, we were living our own lives.

Erin: You were adults, right?

Laura: Yes, we were living in the U.S. in Florida. My husband was a dentist. We were living to spend a lot of money—money that we did not have yet, because we just had debt. When we came to the Lord, that brought conviction. We sold everything. We didn’t have any debt. We moved to the Dominican Republic (DR). And after two or three years, we started falling into the same pattern!

Erin: Acquiring debt buying things you couldn’t afford.

Laura: Yes, things we didn’t need. And then all of a sudden, the Lord just closed the faucet. My husband’s patients started like, “Oh, I can’t come.” “Oh, this thing fell off.” “Something started happening.” And we were like, “What is going on?” We could understand the Lord was just telling us, “You’re not going to fall into that same pattern again!”

Erin: Well, you were experiencing discipline.

Laura: But we felt oppression. We were oppressed because money was not coming in. I remember the day (because it was basically with my husband that the Lord was dealing) my husband just fell in desperation on the floor of his practice, and he cried out! He knew that he had gone wandering.

One day, a patient comes in with a huge amount of work, and it all started coming back again. But He waited for my husband to humble himself and cry out to the Lord.

Erin: You just illustrated all four steps: disobedience, discipline, desperation, deliverance. Staci, can you think of a time when you put yourself in the Four D Cycle?

Staci: Unfortunately, which time?

Erin: Yes, I’m the same.

Staci: I think the one that sticks out to me the most is in terms of what God was calling me to do as far as working for Him—ministry and all of that. I was really on the path, I was doing well . . .

Erin: How old would you say you were?

Staci: Twenty-five, because I had started when I was twenty-three and had done like two years with True Girl, and I was tired! I was like, “I need a break!”

Erin: Yes, it’s demanding!

Staci: I decided, “I’m going to stop this. I’m going home. I need to rest up.” I felt God telling me, “Push through. Keep going! Push through!”

And I was like, “Nah, I’m going home!” I went home, and I did have that just heaviness of, “This is not where I’m meant to be right now,” and just that discipline.

In a couple ways, He kind of showed me that I had made the wrong decision, but He was giving me the grace to get back on track. So I definitely felt that then. Then I came—it was hard—but it felt so much better to be in the will of God!

Erin: Just use your imagination and imagine if you had persevered in that disobedience, if you just dug in your heels and said, “I’m not going to do ministry. I’m not!” You had the free will to choose that, but the discipline wouldn’t have let up.

I have many big examples like that, but the example that comes to mind for me is when I know I’m supposed to apologize to somebody. My pride is the first on the scene, always. My pride will tell me I don’t have to apologize . . . they are the one that wronged me . . . I’m making a big deal out of it . . . if I apologize, it’s going to get worse instead of better.

I would say, five years ago I would have just continued to resist. I think now I’m quicker to send a lot of apology tests, but there’s some resistance. It’s disobedience. I know I’m supposed to repent when I have hurt somebody. I hope that I will grow in grace enough that at some point I will apologize without any internal resistance. I’m not there yet.

Staci: Isn’t it just amazing how gracious God is, because He knows that that’s our bent, as far as our flesh, and He is still willing to discipline us out of love and to help us to get back on track and in His will.

Erin: Right, it is amazing! We all have a context for disobedience. We have experienced it; we’ve done it. So, let’s talk a little bit more about divine discipline. That is something that maybe we don’t all know what it looks like, or maybe we don’t recognize it when it comes.

Staci, you mentioned a heaviness. Laura, you mentioned the faucet getting turned off. What are some other ways that divine discipline can look like? What can it feel like? How can we experience it?

Laura: I think circumstances press us, lack of joy. I’ve been there. When I fall into my struggles of discontentment, I feel lack of joy.

Erin: Oh, I feel like we could put discontentment in the Four D Cycle, because that is definitely part of it!

Staci: I’m more of an internal processor, so I feel confusion, and I know that God is not the author of confusion. So I’m like sitting there, and I’m so lost.

Erin: Interesting. Your own voice gets louder.

Staci: Yes, and I’m just going round and round. It’s not that when I’m following Him; I don’t have questions. Of course, you have questions, but it’s nowhere near as much confusion as when I’m out of His will. 

Erin: Yes. For me, my appetites get all out of whack, my spiritual appetites. Like, I would never crave Scripture in my own flesh; I don’t. Or crave to do right or crave to treat people right. That’s not me, as Erin. So, I feel like when I’m outside of the will of God, my appetites for those things just dry up.

I don’t want to read my Bible, because there’s conviction there, right? I don’t necessarily want to be with the people of God, because there’s conviction there. I don’t know that that’s always discipline; maybe sometimes it’s just a consequence. But I’ve learned to recognize that as, “Uh-oh! Something’s off!”

Staci: Yes, and it’s always replaced with something. Either you’re watching too much TV or food is out of whack.

Erin: I was going to say, I’ll be snacking too much!

Laura: Yes, like the spiritual alertness is not there, you fall into temptation easier, your flesh takes over easier. 

Erin: Yes, I think we can all relate to that. Alright, the Israelites experienced divine discipline, and they were not quick repenters. So, Staci, can you take us to Judges 4? You’re going to read us verses 1–3. Sorry, another hard name or two to pronounce in there. But we really want to pay attention to a few words at the end of these verses.

The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud had died. So the Lord sold them to King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera who lived in Harosheth of the Nations.Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord, because Jabin had nine hundred iron chariots, and he harshly oppressed them twenty years. (CSB)

Okay, there’s a lot in there; it all matters. Sisera is going to become important. He’s the general of the enemy army we’re going to see God’s people fight. The geography is actually going to become important; we’re going to talk about that. Those nine hundred chariots, we’re going to talk about those.

But for now, I want you to look in the passage. How long did Israel persist in their disobedience, or how long did they experience the Lord’s divine discipline?

Laura: Twenty years! That’s a long time!

Erin: Twenty years! That feels like an unthinkable amount of time to me to be under that heaviness of the Lord’s discipline! Think about the nation. Babies were born and grew up into young men and women in that time. Young men and women became not-so-young men and women in that time. People died while still under the Lord’s discipline. [

Why do you think twenty years? Why do you think it took them so long to move to the next step, which is Desperation, based on your own experience or what you see in the culture? Why twenty years? 

Staci: I was wondering about this when I read it. What did that look like? Was it kind of like a frog in a pot where it started out kind of slow and it was getting hot, and then all of a sudden, you’re like, “Oh, my goodness! I’m boiling!”

Erin: I read recently that that’s a logical fallacy, that frogs don’t actually do that. And I’m like, “Well, it’s a life truth!”

Staci: You gave it to us now, we’ve got to keep it for the sake of this story! But, yeah, I wonder if it was like a slow build. Like they didn’t really feel the captivity for a while, and then they realized that they had been enslaved. Or if it was immediate? That was something I was thinking through.

Erin: How do you not know you’re enslaved?! But I guess it could be slow . . .

Staci: You know what I’m saying? 

Laura: I think it’s just hard-heartedness. We are so hard-hearted that we don’t even know that we are oppressed. We don’t even know it until the Lord in His mercy brings conviction.

Staci: Until He opens our eyes.

Erin: Don’t you think we will try any other way to get out of the pot of boiling water? It may have taken them twenty years to exhaust all of their own strength or their own resources or whatever they thought they could do to save themselves. 

After twenty years of oppression they eventually do cry out for a deliverer, and the Lord is faithful to give them one. Laura, can you jump us ahead in the story a little bit? Read us Judges chapter 2:18.

Laura: Okay. 

Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. 

Erin: I have that sentence underlined in red in my Bible: “For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.” We see God’s character is so consistent throughout all of Scripture!

It reminds me of the story in Luke, the story of the prodigal son. You know, he runs away from the Lord, he runs away from his father, and he ends up eating pig slop. And when he comes back, the father was moved to pity. (see Luke 15) 

It’s not, the father shamed his son. It’s not, the father said, “You’re cut off!” to his son. And of course, that’s a parable that the Lord told about the father. So, I love it.

Staci: I think it’s so awesome when you see God’s heart! I think so often we think He’s kind of keeping a checklist against us and He’s just accusing us in that way, but He’s not. 

Erin: Where do you think that view of God comes from, because I feel that way, too, and it’s not what we see in Scripture.

Staci: I think it comes from our own shame, our own guilt, from the enemy, and I think it causes us to negate and ignore the grace of God.

Erin: Scripture is really clear that what He felt for them instead was pity, and they must have been pitiful.

Laura: And Judges 2:16–17 says the Lord raised up judges who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them, and yet they did not listen to the judges. So even though He sent the deliverer, they were not listening to the deliverer for a while. And even so, He was moved to pity.

Erin: Laura, you’re our most seasoned parent here. Tell us a story from your daughter or your grandchildren that communicates that we discipline because we love them.

Laura: Just yesterday I was babysitting my grandkids, and I was busy with the three older ones. Apparently, their father had just arrived, and the garage door was going up. My smallest grandkid just opens the door, runs out to the street to meet him. 

Erin: Let me guess, he’s a boy.

Laura: Yeah.

Erin: I could tell!

Laura: Of course, his dad just came out of the car and took him and disciplined him . . . because he loves him! He doesn’t want him to run to the street and get crushed by a car! He was trying to discipline him because he loves him, and he wants him to be secure. Sometimes God does that for us. 

Erin: He does. And you didn’t even know that he had escaped!

Laura: No, I was with the other ones and he was just running out, and I didn’t even realize it.

Staci: I think about that with my parents. One time I remember I skipped school. 

Erin: Uh oh! Scandalous!

Staci: I know, right? Lock me up! But my mom was just livid! She said, “I think you’re in one place, and you’re all around the city doing this and that. I think you’re safe, and you’re not!” I remember being on punishment for like six months! (It felt like that, it probably wasn’t that long.)

Erin: If you were my girl, it might have been six months!

Staci: I’d still be on punishment, huh? (laughter)

Erin: Well, we’ve talked about it in our own personal lives; we’ve all experienced this. But let’s think about it corporately—whole cultures, whole people groups, whole nations, whole worlds—because that’s really what the book of Judges is about. It’s not about one person being in the cycle of the Four Ds. It’s about God’s people being in the cycle of the Four Ds. 

So, what does it look like when a whole culture rebels? What does it look like when a whole nation rebels? What are the signs of that, that a whole group of people is disobeying God?

Laura: Well, I think we see it nowadays. It all starts with the church. You see when the church starts to drift from the Word, you see when they start not putting the Word first. The people are not growing; they’re not being discipled. You see their lives just falling apart. We become just like the culture, and the church loses its saltiness.

Staci: Yes. I think it’s when we as a culture start to call good what God sees as evil. So anything we see going on, the church knows, if we’re in His Word, that it’s against Him. If we embrace it as a culture, I think that’s a sign. 

Erin: We go with the culture. I think we can see right here in Judges 1 and 2 what it is: it’s captivity! We’re held captive. We are in a culture where we are captive to our desires. We are captive to these ideas of “my rights,” “my privilege.”

Laura: “Self.”

Erin: We are captive to self. Those things own us, and so, you know, there hasn’t ever been a golden age of morality (well, since Eve took the bite of the forbidden fruit). There hasn’t ever been a time where an entire culture was walking in step with the Lord, but the cycle ebbs and flows, as cycles do.

Laura: I think we fall into the idols of today, which are not all these names that we were reading here, but just the idol of self and all its ways—self-promotion and money and power and sex.

Erin: Right, we could just swap those names in. And you know, Revive Our Hearts is a ministry committed to revival. If we didn’t believe that the cycle of the Four Ds could ever be interrupted, if we just thought, Well, humans will always disobey! That’s just the way it is!, there would be no hope for revival.

God can revive individual hearts. He’s revived mine; He’s revived yours; He’s revived yours. 

Staci: Right. I think that it’s so interesting that you said, “When we focus on our rights.” Even you just said that we get so focused on self. I think it was Dr. Adrian Rogers who had a quote that I love. He said, “Teach a man his rights, and you’ll have a revolution; teach him his responsibilities and you’ll have a revival.” 

I was just like, “If we know the Word of God, if we know what God is calling us to do, what we’re responsible to do, think about the revival we’ll have. Instead of focusing on self and what we feel we ‘deserve.’”

Erin: Man, I want revival! I know you do, too! I think we can look at the book of Judges a couple of ways. We can look at it and say, “This is so discouraging because the people keep doing it over and over!” You could go through the book of Judges and just circle the word, “again,” and you’d be like, “Oh, my goodness! That’s in there a lot!” 

We could see ourselves in that, and we could see our society in it, and it could just be like, “Ah, there’s just no hope for us!” But actually, that’s not what this book is about. It is a book about revival, about what God does in the midst of our disobedience.

Staci: What He wants to do. 

Erin: What He wants to do, what He can do, what He has done. That’s the lens we want to put over this book as we dive in. I want to look at two more verses as we’re wrapping it up, about the Lord’s discipline, that I think will set the tone rightly. It’s about why God disciplines us. Staci, can you read us Proverbs chapter 3, verse 12?

Staci: Yes. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.” (CSB)

Erin: Good. So, why does the Lord discipline us?

Staci: Because He loves us. He loves us too much to leave us the same. 

Erin: And delights in us! I tend toward being squashed, that’s just my way. I think, Uhh! I feel crushed under the hand of the Lord sometimes and crushed under my own sin. It’s good for me to remember, anytime He disciplines me, it’s because He delights in me. 

Laura, the same principle is in the New Testament, in the book of Hebrews. Can you read us Hebrews chapter 12, verse 6? 

Laura: Yes:

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.

Erin: So, really, the book of Judges is (I’m always trying to add subtitles to books of the Bible, because I’m a writer) . . . We could subtitle it, “The Lord Disciplines Those He Loves” or “The Lord’s Chastisements for Those He Receives” or “God’s Discipline for the People He Delights In.” 

Those would be accurate subtitles. I’m not adding to the Bible, but to help us understand, what are the themes of this book? One more time, let me take us back to laundry. Let’s think about our doing laundry. What parts of the laundry do we do?

We haul the clothes into the laundry room in my house. Then we put them in the washing machine, and then we put them in the dryer. But what parts do we do, and what part does the machine do?

Laura: Well, we do the actual work of putting the clothes in, but the machine does the work.

Erin: The machine gets them clean! 

Laura: That’s right.

Staci: We just get it there, we just bring it there.

Erin: And do we dry it?

Laura: We are just available.

Erin: We don’t dry it! We are just available. We don’t have like a hair dryer or our breath: “Dry, clothes, dry!” (laughter) They would never get dry! I think it’s an interesting way to think about the cycle of Four Ds: Disobedience, Discipline, Distress, Deliverance. What part do we do?

Laura: Distress, Desperation. . .

Erin: That’s right, and Disobedience. That’s it, that’s all we can do. All we can do is run from God and cry out to God. And what does He do?

Laura: He delivers, He listens to us. He inclines His ears to our prayers. He has pity on us, and then He then delivers.

Erin: He does. He’s the Deliverer! So, we’ll talk about Deborah, who God uses as a deliverer, but we’ll keep in mind that it’s God who delivers!

Staci, Laura, I know that there are women listening who are in the disobedience phase. Right now, as they’ve been listening to this podcast, they have fallen under that heaviness, that weight of conviction, and they want to squirm out from underneath it. 

They need to hear us tell them that’s a safe thing to do. So, Staci, just speak right to the heart of that woman who is in disobedience.

Staci: I’d say, “Surrender!” sooner rather than later. Run to God in love, don’t run from Him in fear. I’ve learned that. I think the best thing you can do is bring the brokenness you have, the brokenness you are, to God immediately . . . whatever you’re going through.

Erin: And Laura, why don’t you pray for any woman in that situation?

Laura: Okay. Thank you, Lord, for this time around Your Word and just seeing how You are so faithful and longsuffering, and you just want us to come to You in repentance. I pray for the women listening, that woman right now who knows she’s in disobedience. She’s finding it difficult to come around and cry out and just repent. I pray that by Your Spirit You might talk to her, You might woo her to You, and talk to her heart by Your Spirit that she may surrender to You and cry out to You. I pray that she might just come to You in obedience.

And I pray for all the women out there that are desperate, that have been crying out for a long time for deliverance, that they will know that You are faithful, that You are good, and that Your discipline is Your love for them and that You will deliver them. I pray that they can humble themselves under Your mighty hand and that You will exalt them in due time. It’s in your name we pray, amen.

Laura Booz: Erin Davis has been leading us in a discussion about cycles along with Staci Rudolph and Laura Gonzalez. Can you relate to that cycle, that pattern of disobedience, discipline, distress, and deliverance? 

As you study the story of Deborah in the book of Judges, I hope you feel God calling you to repent, to obey, and to enjoy His gift of deliverance through Christ. To help you study this more, Erin Davis has written a Bible study. It’s called Deborah: Becoming a Woman of Influence.

Just imagine how much you will get out of Deborah’s story when you study for yourself! Then go back and listen to the Women of the Bible videos or podcasts. Or even better, gather a group of women together, go through this study together, and listen to the discussion or watch the video together. 

To order Deborah: Becoming a Woman of Influence, just visit ReviveOurHearts.com/Deborah. That’s also where you can watch this conversation on video. On our next episode, Erin recognizes a temptation to manipulate! 

Erin: Man, can I be verbose! I can watch it on my sons’ faces: “That’s the thirty-seventh time she’s said that exact same thing!” So I could just repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat!

Laura Booz: Thankfully, Erin and the team will look to the example of Deborah and see how we can influence those around us without manipulating. I’m Laura Booz, hoping you’ll join us again next time on the Women of the Bible podcast.

Women of the Bible is a production of Revive Our Hearts, calling women to freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ.

Oh . . . and one more thing: if you enjoy hearing Erin on Women of the Bible, I hope you’ll also check out her Bible teaching podcast. It’s called TheDeep Well. You’re going to love it!

Erin: So often, loneliness is not something that is forced upon us; it’s not just our circumstances. Most of the time, loneliness is a path that we choose to walk.

Laura Booz: Subscribe to The Deep Well with Erin Davis on your favorite podcast app, or just visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Panelists

Laura Gonzalez de Chavez

Laura Gonzalez de Chavez

Laura's passion is to disciple women of all ages with the solid foundation of God's Word and to help them live up to the faith they have embraced. Laura is a biblical counselor and mentor to many young women. She currently directs Aviva Nuestros Corazones, the Spanish arm of the  Revive Our Hearts ministry, a task that has helped her reach the women of her generation with the message of the gospel and biblical womanhood. 

Staci Rudolph

Staci Rudolph

Staci Rudolph is a lead teacher for True Girl. From co-hosting online Bible studies like "Habakkuk: Walking By Faith Through Difficult Days" to facilitating biblical discussion of teen topics on the True You videocast, Staci is passionate about encouraging tweens, teens, and women of all ages to walk in God’s Truth.

About the Host

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Women of the Bible