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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Inspired by . . . the hand of a woman

"And she said, "I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh." (Jdg 4:9)

In case you're not familiar with the actors in this inspiring part of HIStory, Deborah was a prophetess in Israel during the time of the Judges. Barak was the commander of Israel's army and Sisera was the commander of the Canaanite army. The Israelites were being oppressed by the Canaanites during this time and the Lord was about to deliver them in a mighty way.

Now before you scroll on or click off thinking this is just another sin-repentance-redemption story of Israel, this one has a twist that is worthy of notice.

"the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." The Lord revealed this to Deborah along with the battle plan she was to give to Balak. In turn, Barak wanted Deborah to accompany him into battle but Deborah warned him that he would not receive the glory for the win. That would fall to a woman.

I wonder what was in Deborah's mind as she sat under the Palm Tree in the hill country of Ephraim. Was she thinking that the Israelites would praise her for the victory if she went with Barak into battle? She was, after all, the prophetess. Or had God revealed to her that He planned to honor another with the victory?

The Lord Himself routed the Canaanite army (Judges 4:14) but it was Jael, the wife of Heber, who was given the honor of killing Sisera. Her story is worth reading as she acted wisely and courageously.

We don't know if Deborah expected this turn of events but we do know she was quick to sing the praises of Jael. The song of Deborah and Barak in Judges 5 reads in part:

""Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed." (Jdg 5:24)

For me, the encouragement here is two-fold. I believe that God honored Deborah and Jael because of their faith. Deborah's faith is easily deduced. The Canaanites had an impressive army. Nine hundred chariots strong. They had oppressed Israel for twenty years. Yet Deborah didn't hesitate when Barak asked her to go with him into battle. She took God at His word that He would deliver them. That is faith.

We don't know much about Jael's motivations. But we do know that her husband was a descendant of Moses' brother-in-law. (Judges 4:11) It may be a thin line but it leads straight back to the God of Israel. In my opinion, what Jael accomplished in that tent required divine intervention and faith.

I'm also encouraged by this example of women celebrating women. Thankfully, I see a fair amount of this in my social circles and it always inspires and encourages me on a personal level. 

The Bible doesn't sugarcoat things. Just because someone is a man or woman of God doesn't mean they are perfect. Remember Jonah who refused to bring God's message to Nineveh because he knew they would repent and God would forgive them? Geesh!

My point is, if Deborah was jealous of Jael, we would have known about it! These two women couldn't have been more different, yet when God chose to use Jael as an instrument in His victory over the Canaanites, Deborah didn't hesitate. Her praise of Jael is genuine.

The ability to genuinely celebrate someone else, especially if you're in a waiting pattern or have experienced a recent failure, is a sign of true faith. 

Faith in God, Whose timing is perfect, even when we don't understand or we're ready to go now! Faith in God, Who picks up the pieces of our failures and remakes them into something wonderful beyond what we could ever have imagined for ourselves.

When was the last time we celebrated someone else's success?

Are we trusting in God and His timing for our own dreams and successes?

May the story of Deborah and Jael remind us to do both.


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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June