(Judges 4:1-16; 5:3, 31)
4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading[a] Israel at that time. 5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. 6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. 7 I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”
8 Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”
9 “Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh.
Deborah, a judge and prophet, sat under a palm, that in Jewish tradition symbolizes the fairness of her decisions. She is one whom speaks to the people about God and what God would want them to do. So when Barak is summoned, the question is not is this of God, but can he do it alone? He ask Deborah to accompany him as one who can speak to God again as the battle progresses, as God alone is the deliverer and victor of the people’s battle. And so, to truly see what happens next, you’d need to read the rest of Judges chapter 4 and even read one of the oldest Biblical songs with chapter 5, the Song of Deborah. Her story is one example of a strong woman, one who hears God and imparts that message to others. Is her story, one where you see yourself sitting as Deborah does, or are you Barak seeking such wisdom from those prophets in your life?
Delivering God, you speak through so many in our lives, some which we’ve grown to respect and others the wisdom takes times to sink in. And yet, you do continually seek us out, as You did for your people throughout the Biblical book of Judges. May their examples be both a guide for listening and also a warning of how we stubbornly follow our own way and it leads to disaster. Christ finds that lost lamb, Jesus finds us, Amen.