by Jerram Barrs
Chapter 7: Deborah, Courage Under Fire
I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date! I was supposed to post this chapter a week ago. Kristy and Belinda graciously allowed me a free pass, though. Last week was rather goofy for our family. This week is too, for that matter, but I'm going to go ahead and post this.
Deborah could very well be the one major female character in the bible I know the very least about. I haven't spent a lot of time in the book of Judges, to tell the truth. I'm still trying to process her story in my small little brain.
Jerram ends this chapter by saying this, "This account of Deborah's life is at its heart a celebration of victory, a celebration of God's delivering his people, and a celebration of his raising up a woman of tremendous faith, a woman of wise and just leadership, a woman of courage and strength. This is the story of Deborah."
I'm so glad he said it so plainly as I needed a little help summarizing her story.
I also appreciated the historical intro in this chapter. We are reminded on page 104 that, regarding the people of Israel, their "life is unsettled and troubled politically because their life is unsettled and troubled spiritually. The period covered by the book of Judges is a time covering several centuries, an extended time of apostasy, a time when the great majority of the covenant people have turned away from God."
Wow, truly there is nothing new under the sun, is there? I couldn't help but relate that to the current events of our own time, were life is unsettled and troubled politically because life is unsettled and troubled spiritually.
We are also reminded of the repeated cycle of events in their lives: a period of apostasy, disobedience, and the worship of false gods, followed by oppression by their enemies, followed by a time of crying out to God for deliverance, followed by God's showing mercy to them and raising up a judge to save them, followed by a time of peace and prosperity, followed by a time of apostasy and disobedience, and so on. (page 105).
And before we are quick to condemn, Jerram is quick to remind us that "this pattern of the history of Israel recorded in the book of Judges is an examination of the problems of the individual human heart and is a summary of the history of every nation that has ever lived on this earth."
It sort of reminds me of just today when my kids were arguing over yet another non-important issue. I found myself asking them if it is even possible for them to not argue about anything, because they argue about everything. I ask a similar thing of the historical war patterns and those to come – is it even possible for nations to live at peace? Because they argue about everything.
I was fascinated with the role of Deborah and how she was given this gift that wasn't exactly common among women of her day, yet God ordained her for this task. And he didn't do it because there were no men around to do the job. He called her specifically because he wanted her to do it. This was new. Though the story of Deborah isn't that well-understood in my arsenal of bible stories, I have heard enough about her in the past to have believed her job to be one of default and not specific calling. I've heard pastors say that if the men of the time were doing what they should be doing, Deborah wouldn't have been needed. I no longer think that is true.
She's a strong, type-A woman. I struggle with relating well to strong, type-A women. But that doesn't mean they aren't doing what God has called them to do. They simply aren't doing what God has called me to do. That's a key difference I'm just now beginning to understand.
I'm going to stop here for now and see if anyone else has other thoughts to add.
To read thoughts from the rest of the book, click below: