We can learn much from studying the lesser known leaders in the Bible. One of the most unusual and certainly lesser known is Deborah.
There was a period of time between the leadership of Moses and Joshua, and the appointment of Saul as King of the Israelites when the Israelites were led by a series of judges. Deborah was the fourth judge over the Israelites.
We know very little about Deborah; where she came from or how she came to power. When we meet her in Judges 4 she is described as a prophetess and judge over the people of Israel. In those days, a prophet or prophetess was someone who delivered God’s messages to the people. As a judge, the people of Israel came to her to settle disputes. Deborah was the spiritual and civil leader of the entire nation of Israel!
As our story unfolds, the people of Israel had been brutally oppressed for 20 years by Jabin, king of Canaan.
Deborah called for her military commander, a man named Barak, and told him to assemble his army. Deborah gave him specific instructions from God to gather 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them to Mount Tabor (pictured above) where they would attack the Canaanites.
Barak conditioned his response saying he would go, but only if Deborah would go with him.
Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, heard about Barak’s army gathered at Mount Tabor. Sisera gathered his army which included 900 chariots in a nearby valley.
Deborah ordered Barak to attack saying, this is the day the Lord has given him into your hands. Barak attacked with his army, and God went before him. God caused a great rainstorm that effectively immobilized Sisera’s chariots, throwing the entire army into a state of confusion.
Barak’s army attacked and pursued the fleeing Canaanites until not a man was left standing.
Six Important Leadership Lessons from Deborah
Deborah was a woman of faith. God had selected her among all the men and women of Israel to be His prophet and judge, and she was faithful in her response to His call.
Lesson for us. God raises up men and women of faith to fulfill specific needs at specific times. God calls men and women from all walks of life, and whom God calls, God equips!
Deborah responded to God’s call to arms. As unlikely as it may have seemed when God told her to assemble an army and attack the powerful Canaanites, Deborah responded by ordering Barak to prepare for battle.
Lesson for us. As Christians, we must remain faithful and respond positively to God’s call. It is one thing to hear God’s call, it is quite another to say yes to God despite our own fears and doubts.
Deborah remained steadfast in the face of her reluctant commander. Perhaps wanting to be sure this was a message from God, Barak wanted Deborah to accompany him. Deborah remained steadfast following the Lord’s instructions and encouraging Barak.
Lesson for us. When responding to God’s call, we must remain resolute in the face of the naysayers. There will always be those who are reluctant to follow God’s leading, but we must not allow them to deter us from following His call.
Deborah acted on God’s timing. Deborah ordered Barak to attack, saying “this is the day.”
Lesson for us. We must take action on God’s timing. This is a tough one for many of us. We either tend to act ahead of God’s leading, or procrastinate, and not go when He says, “GO.”
Deborah trusted God. God had promised victory and that He would go before the Israelite army. Deborah ordered the attack trusting in the promise of God.
Lesson for us. We must act on God’s calling trusting He will do exactly as He has promised.
Deborah gave praise to God. When the battle was concluded Deborah and Barak sang a song of praise and thanksgiving to God for giving them victory over their oppressors (Judges 5).
Lesson for us. Where God leads, God equips and provides. Let’s not forget to give praise and thanks to God for His grace in our lives!
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Category: Personal Development | Leader Qualifications