Have you ever noticed that women often have an unexplainable hope when all hope seems useless? When faced with situations that make many men run for cover, women are often able to survive. Not only survive, but thrive. Women are a resilent bunch as a whole. Resourceful too. This by no means should be interpreted as man bashing! Far from it! I love my guy more than I can say. I appreciate and respect him tremendously. But today, I'm thinking about women.
There have been and still are strong women in my life. My grandmothers, mom, daughter, sister, mother-in-law, aunts, cousins, sister-in-laws and many of my dear friends have amazing stories of surviving situations and events that at times seemed unsurvivable. Each of them have made such an impact on my life. I only have to look around and realize that anything I go through, they have walked the path before me.
The Bible recounts the stories of many strong women also. Recently I have been reading about Deborah. You can read her story and the song she wrote in Judges 4 & 5.
Deborah was a prophetess and judge in Israel. The only female judge and all of Israel was under her jurisdiction. She ruled in a culture that did not value women. My first thought when I began to read about her was "Were there no qualified men?" Of course, God knew her potential, her heart, her integrity and her courage. Verse 1 tells us that, "Israel again did what was evil in the LORD's sight." I suspect many of the men were tired, depressed, discouraged, and if we really knew the whole story, some of them were caught up in the evil God was speaking of.
God had a plan. He always does! Verse 3 "...Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD for help." Deborah was a part of the plan. Reading her story we find out she was: a prophetess, judge, warrior, poet/singer, "mother of Israel". She responded to God's leading and called Israel to fight the Cananites. The commander Barak said, "I will go, but only if you go with me!" She went. Her wisdom and confidence came from a relationship with God. She knew God's voice when He spoke! We don't really know if Barak was a man of little faith or if he wanted her there as prophetess. Whatever his motive, his decision to question God did not please Him. "But since you have made this choice, you will recieve no honor. For the LORD's victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman." Barak's decision brought great honor to Deborah and another brave woman, Jael (read her story starting with verse 17. Exciting!) .
God uses whom ever is willing, men, women, boys and girls. He is constantly calling His children to step up in their area of influence. Deborah didn't let cultural norms stop her. She was a survivor! She was godly and courageous. She obviously had a very secure husband to allow her to become so prominent. When Deborah's people and her country were burdened under captivity and oppressed untill they cried out, she was serving, working, doing what God had called her to do. Just like many of us.
There is not alot recorded about Deborah but what we have is good reading. Verse 24 says, "And from that time on Israel became stronger and stronger against King Jabin, until they finally destroyed him." Chapter 5 closes with, "Then there was peace in the land for 40 years." All because this wife and godly woman was willing to step up and be used by God. Please take the time to read her story. Her song in chapter 5 tells much more of the oppression her and her people lived under.
God placed the stories of these and other courageous women in the Bible for you. Yep, just for you! They are apart of His love letter to us. They are meant to encourage and inspire. Be of good cheer! God has a plan!
Until we visit again...