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Awake Deborahs, Awake!

Deborah Praises Jael (Judges. 5-1-3,24-31)
By Gustave Doré, 1866, Wikipedia/Public Domain

By Jill Austin

The Body of Christ is in a radical transition time due to the global shaking that is happening all over the world. The acceleration and advancement of radical Islam throughout the earth, the new surge of power with the Hamas, and the critical dangers that face Israel every single day will only be won on our knees.

Intimacy with God is the highest purpose for which we were created, but are we REALLY seeking His highest purpose for our lives? If we really understood God’s love and heart for us, we’d be making radical choices to be with Him more than any other activity in life! If we had a revelation of His true jealousy to have uninterrupted time with us, we’d turn the world upside down, like His disciples did!

But instead, we’ve been lulled to sleep or are enamored with the trinkets of life while missing the real treasures of God.

Many believers are experiencing “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” so they’re leaving the Church because they have no passion, no purpose, no power, and no sense of His presence, but they have no secret life in God either! Will it take a crisis to bring us into an intimate relationship with Jesus?

What was it about Deborah that caught His gaze?

Her uncompromising dedication moved the very heart of God and He changed the very heart of Deborah. She spent SO much time in the temple in prayer and worship that she was dripping with oil.

Because of that, she could hear the Lord’s voice clearly, operate with keen discernment for the times and seasons she faced as well as her daily decisions with the people, and when the call to battle came, she was absolutely ready!

Deborah was being prepared for battle in the secret place! This is where the true victory lies in communing with Him one-on-one.

That is our place of safety and truth!

It is time to stop talking about intimacy with God – it’s time to REALLY do it!

Who Was Deborah?

Imagine a teenage girl being elected as Pope and single-handedly tearing down all the walls of division between Catholics and Protestants. Hard to even fathom that possibility isn’t it? Now imagine a middle-aged, gray-haired, Jewish housewife and mother being raised up over 3,000 years ago to lead Israel in one of the most improbable military victories of history!

Allow me to introduce to you our unlikely candidate and heroine of the faith: Deborah. I have heard very little being taught about her.

I always hear about Gideon, Samuel, and some of the other judges, but when I studied Deborah, I fell in love with her. Deborah is very unique and a little controversial because she was a woman who held the highest executive office in the land of Canaan, or Israel, at the time.

An ancient Joan of Arc, Deborah appears in the sacred annals of Israel’s history as the nation’s fourth judge, the third woman prophetess (after Miriam and Rachel), and a deliverer of God’s people.

Deborah was in a class of her own; her leadership role was unprecedented and unparalleled! She was a woman who led a nation to victory against all odds. And she did this in a patriarchal era where there was no precedent for women leaders.

Cycles of Israel’s Rebellion and Deliverance

The whole book of Judges covered approximately 325 years. After the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Joshua and the elders died and the 12 tribes of Israel were separated in the land of Canaan.

The tragic pattern of the Book of Judges is this: the people went into rebellion – they worshiped other gods and intermarried into pagan tribes.

The Lord brought judgment against them. They cried out to God for deliverance. The Lord would raise up a judge, there would be a battle, Israel would be delivered and peace would be on the land for a season. After the judge died, the people went back to rebellion and the Lord once again brought heavy oppression. This cycle happened six different times!

Gwen Shaw accurately pens in her book, Deborah and Jael:

Their homes were raided and ransacked, their crops plundered, their maidens raped, their fathers mocked and their sons murdered. People could not walk in the highways anymore. They were locked up in their homes, and some even had to forsake their lands and dwellings because the enemy took possession of them. They lived in caves and dens.

Their sheep and goats were stolen from them; their harvests were carried off as soon as they were reaped. They lost their olives, dates, figs, grapes, wheat, barley, and their pomegranates. This left them hungry, destitute, and desperate. They throw God out of their schools, laws, their hearts and lives, claiming they don’t need Him. But when they are in trouble, they wonder where He is, and why He didn’t save them and prevent tragedy.”

The Lord is so jealous for each one of us to love Him and know Him. When we start to move away from Him, He allows evil kings to oppress us. The Word tells us that God is the one who appoints evil kings and magistrates, but He also raises up the godly judges and kings!

Deborah was the fourth judge, and for the first 20 years of her 40-year reign, the nation was oppressed by one of history’s most powerful and cruel Canaanite kings: Jabin, and his cunning military commander, Sisera (see Judges 4:1-4).

Deborah Captured the Gaze of God

What is astounding is that the Lord raised up a woman to deliver a nation!

What is especially surprising is that it happened in the Middle East thousands of years ago! Deborah was not only a wife, mother, intercessor, and prophetess but also a judge and a national deliverer. This is not a bad resume for a middle-aged woman living in that oppressive Middle Eastern culture.

Against great odds, God used her powerfully. Deborah broke outside her culture, but she wasn’t in rebellion, she was in obedience – to her God. She was used radically and set her people free, and the people loved her. It’s a wonderful story of faith in God, and it champions men and women partnering together in a war to save their nation from great oppression.

When we read about this radical prophetess and judge, it expands our theology of women being allowed to lead governmentally.

But I really feel that God is raising up a company of end-time Deborahs. There is great global shaking that has only begun, and the Lord is calling not only the men, but also the women of God! The Lord is saying:

“Wake up, Deborah, be a part of the army of the Lord!”

God’s eyes are searching to and fro over the earth looking for a heart that is fully His (see 2 Chronicles 16:9).

What caught His gaze when He came to Deborah?

Was it the uncompromising fire of holiness, an unwavering faith, or an unrelenting love that set her apart? Was it something about the integrity of her character, the other worldliness of her wisdom, and the richness of her kindness that bred confidence in both men and women?

There are two root words for “consecrate” in Hebrew: naver (separating from) and kadesh (separating unto). Deborah, like the other champions of the faith, was separated from the world and unto God. She did nothing on her own, but spoke just what the Father taught her. This is where the true victory lies in listening to Him.


© Copyright 1990, Master Potter (www.masterpotter.com). All rights reserved. Jill Austin was an inspirational speaker and prophetic writer who ministered for over 25 years before she was taken suddenly on January 9, 2009. Jill was the founder of the Master Potter ministry. Used by permission.

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