Deborah’s Inspiration: Part I
Lately when I wake up in the morning I am grumpy. Not having slept comfortably and now still sleepy, but my hips killing me, I am not jumping out of bed highly-motivated. Today was especially that way. My husband, who had slept-in as Labor Day warrants, tended to the children in need of morning nourishment and encouraged me to take whatever time I needed in bed. For this I was thankful. But it was soon apparent that staying in bed gave me little advantage.
I knew I should at least do some devotional time if was being given me-time, but my instinct instead was to pray desperately that we could just deliver this baby – sooner than later – so that I can move past mornings like this one. It was shameful: I sounded like Clare begging for candy – irrational and oblivious to what is best for me.
Somehow the Lord finally got me to my Bible. Women of the Bible has me at Deborah right now, a woman who, in one of Israel’s many downswings, is their current spiritual leader, judge, and prophetess.
Israelites come to her seeking wisdom and guidance, and she considers herself a “mother of Israel.” One day she summons Barak and shares with him a command from God to “take 10,000 men” and lead the way to defeat the Canaanites. The King of Canaan (Jabin) is in a good position because he has the military leadership of Sisera and 900 iron chariots, and so the Israelites had been under his thumb for a good 20 years and were, apparently, scared out of their minds. To be fair, 900 chariots was probably a pretty fabulous advantage. J But the Lord’s message to Barak, delivered clearly by Deborah, is that He will “lure Sisera…with his chariots and troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.”
This seems like a good plan, but Barak is not convinced. “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” Barak’s lack of trust can probably be explained rationally by whatever life experiences he has had. But it’s nothing to be proud of. Deborah is like, ‘fine,’ but know that “the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman.”
So they go and I’m sure it was crazy and somehow they got the 10,000 men they needed together to go and face their foe. And just as God had said, he leads them (via Deborah) down the mountain to the enemy who is waiting near the Kishon River, which seems like a good idea (for Sisera) until the Lord sends a powerful storm and flood. Sisera’s men are defeated and Sisera runs off. He flees “to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite” because Heber’s clan had a good relationship with King Jabin’s clan, so he thinks he can find protection there. Instead, after allowing him in and giving him a false sense of security, Jael kills him while he sleeps. When Barak finally gets there, the party is over. Another woman to the rescue. Jabin is no longer a threat and Israel gets back “the land of milk and honey.”
Pause to let it sink in. There’s a lot here and I have a pile of questions and thoughts about Judges Chapter 4.
But my devotional is asking me about Deborah, so I focus on her. “Which of Deborah’s characteristics would you most like to have? What would you do if you had that characteristic? What can you do to develop it?”
Deborah’s courage and trust is so blatant, and I am intrigued by it. I want her unwavering confidence in her role and what actions should be taken. This is the role the Lord has given her, and she shows no hesitancy in carrying it out.
I want that. What if I had it?
Well, I’d feel more confident! Maybe I would attack my role(s) with more vigor and more enthusiasm!
Wait. Don’t I know what my roles are right now? God has pretty clearly revealed to me what he wants me to be doing these days. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, part of a community of believers. It’s clear that I’m not to be working outside my home – I’m about to have a baby. My jobs are plain to me, and He has even given me enthusiasm for what I might do later… when my babies don’t need me so much.
Maybe I just need another reminder to daily ask myself – What does God want me to do Today? And it turns out I know the answer. But when I don’t ask the question, I don’t get far. I sit around wallowing in my discomfort and impatience. Surely there is something else I can focus on.
Maybe I just need to apply this Deborah-confidence to the roles I know He expects of me.
Last part of the question – How can I get it?
More time in prayer. More time in the word. Consistency. Meditating on my daily role – what God wants of me Today – and approaching it with the same charge that Deborah does. This needs to be my prayer. And asking the Holy Spirit to help me distinguish God’s voice from the background noise (like impatience and discomfort). Help me Hear Him, over the roar of Me.
I’m begging you. J