I love this chapter of Judges, not just for the action, but that it lends credit to female leadership among God’s people. Although I could spend this devotion talking about that topic and the leading women through the New Testament, like Mary, Junia, and Phoebe, I have found something even more impactful from this chapter. I challenge you to look deeply into the issue of female leadership in Israel and in the Church, but for now, please read along.
We are introduced to a woman named Deborah, who is a prophetess and a judge (leader) of Israel at the time. A man named Barak wanted her to accompany him into battle to hunt down Jabin and Sisera of Canaan. She then tells him that if she goes, the honor of the battle will be given to a woman instead of him! He agrees, and as we continue reading, we are expecting Deborah to be the one who gets the honor and wins the fight. However, God had another plan in store for how this story would conclude.
In the tent of Heber the Kenite was his wife, Jael. She tricks Sisera into coming and relaxing in their tent, but kills him with a tent peg while he is sleeping! (The Bible is rarely appropriate for young children by the way) This is unexpected for us as a reader; we were never expecting another woman to be the one who gets the glory for this battle, but God made it happen that way. This happens all the time around us; we often have a vision for our lives, or our churches, and think that we have the best plan to make that vision come true. However, God knows much better than we do and works to make the best happen, even if it plays out differently than we thought it should. More often than not, what we think should happen rarely does.
Questions to Consider
- Have you ever had a plan or vision that didn’t work out the way you thought it would? Was God still faithful through it?
- When something doesn’t go the way you expected, do you get frustrated? Or are you willing to step back, breathe, and see what God is doing differently?
- Do you trust that God knows better than you do? Are you willing to take your hands off the wheel of your life and let Him take control?