Judges 4 and 5 tells the history of two remarkable women who were significant during the period of the judges. “Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.” The Israelites would go to her to settle their disputes. Deborah sent for General Barak and told him that God wanted him to raise an army of 10,000 to take against their Canaanite oppressor, Jabin. Deborah was obviously listening to God and willing to obey. Barak was not so sure but agreed to go if Deborah went with him. Her ability to hear God’s command and her presence made a difference and gave her the courage to go with Barak.
In the battle, Jabin’s general, Sisera, escaped and hid in a tent of another woman, Jael. Jael, of a tribe related to the Israelites through Moses, welcomed Sisera and gave him some milk and let him sleep. While he was sleeping, she summoned her courage and drove a tent peg through his brain! Ouch. Chapter 5 is Deborah’s song praising the way God used these two women, both courageously. The chapter ends, “Then the land had peace forty years.”
“Nine hundred chariots fitted with iron” were defeated by the Israelite army with few weapons, yes, but mostly because two women were listening to God in overwhelming circumstances and acted courageously. I suspect it was not their gender that counted but that they were in tune with God. Barak is mentioned in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter that lists heroes in the Bible. Sisera did lead an army but was ultimately defeated by a woman obedient to God when the chips were down.
We all face challenges. It may just be the eternal battle with the bathroom scale. It may be a wayward child. It may be a problem at work that needs the wisdom of Solomon. Our leaders are facing decisions that need to be made in our polarized political world regarding immigration, environment, voter rights, or what. None of these are easy answers. It is easy to become discouraged and passive. Our passage today encourages us to listen for God’s voice as we deal with our problems and encourages us to be courageous in doing what needs to be done. But likewise we need to remember to pray for our leaders whether they “sit in court” making difficult decisions, lead armies, or are busy at home but sensitive to the moment when it presents itself. Let us pray for our leaders today in whatever field God lays on your heart that they will be listening for his voice, and may be wise and courageous. Blessings.