Women In Leadership — Let’s Talk About Deborah

God chose her as a judge. God gave Deborah authority. Not just general authority, but Spiritual authority. Her being a Judge was not Israel's doing nor was it the act of any human to raise her up as a judge. God did it and the reason we know it was God's doing is because there was peace in the land for 40 years while she was judge. Why? Because she led the people in the right ways of God…God's righteousness and not to the left or to the right but in the straight path of the Lord.

  • Judges 2:18 – “And when Jehovah raised up judges to them, then Jehovah was with the judge, and rescued them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For Jehovah took pity because of their groaning before their oppressors, and those that crushed them.”
  • Judges 2:19 – “And at the death of the judge, it happened that they would turn and act more corruptly than their fathers, to go after other gods, to serve them, and to bow themselves to them. And they did not fall away from their own doings, and from their stubborn way.”

That is spiritual authority.

I strongly suspect Deborah was no young chicken. Abraham was 75 and Moses was 80 before God called them into service. I'm practically sure as can be without having Scriptural back up that Deborah was most likely past childbearing years. This is important because of Proverbs 31. Since God ordained a hierarchy, I do not believe that God would take a mother from her children to . שׁפט. shâphat shaw-fat'.

That is the Hebrew word for Judge. Interestingly, it means to pronounce sentence, avenge, govern, passively to litigate. The Bible also calls her a prophetess, which generally means a female prophet, inspired woman, poetess or wife of a prophet. The Greek word for prophet is defined: one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation. So God chose her to judge Israel. God spoke to her and she called Barak to hear the words of God to take 10,000 men and kick the army of Jabin out of Israel. He said he'd go if she did and if she didn't he wouldn't. She said, “All right, but you'll have no glory from this day's work.” This does not mean that Deborah was chosen because God’s first choice was a man who declined to take the job.

The truth is very far from that scenario. We only need look at the conversation between Moses and God when God called Moses to speak to Pharaoh. Moses kept giving excuse after excuse and God kept sweeping each excuse away like a pesky fly which He finally blew into non-existence.  One has to wonder at the audacity of Moses in that exchange. Or read how God chose Gideon and all Gideon’s excuses. God chooses and He won’t take No for an answer. God searched the hearts of all the Israelites and chose Deborah.

How can anyone say for certain that God does not want women in leadership roles within the church when God deliberately chose a woman from all the men available in Israel. She was obviously the best and most attuned to God's voice at that time. It was such a God-thing because she was not a warrior or a swordsman. In her weakness was God's strength. God does not change.

I submit that God's desire was for women to have leadership roles all along. It was man that changed God's lead. It isn't God Who has changed. It is humankind that disregards God’s perfect will and plans. God chooses the best and most attuned to His voice for His work and since God is no respecter of persons, how can any man say for sure one way or another what God's purpose is in what He does? God says He will have compassion upon whom He will have compassion and that means it is not for us to say yea or nay to God's will, correct?

Some questions for thought…

Why did Jesus choose the woman at the well in Samaria? He could have spoken to any number of men of that village. He chose a woman.

Why did Jesus choose to reveal Himself to a woman first in the garden? He could have appeared directly in front of John or Peter who were the first to come rushing after Mary told them that Jesus rose from the dead.

Mary sat at Jesus' feet and drank in His teaching. That wasn't unusual for a Jewish woman to follow a Rabbi. What did Jesus expect her to do with all that teaching? Sit in her house and do nothing? Hatch nothing?

God’s perfect will and plan is for us to not only drink in the refreshing and renewing water of the Word, but to actually put it into practice. That isn’t always as easy as it would seem.

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