Powerful Lessons From Deborah In The Bible

We find ourselves in Judges chapter 4 and the people of Israel have once again turned their backs on the Lord and are living under the oppression of the king of Canaan. They like their parents and grandparents once the judges of Israel passed away embraced the culture. For 20 years they have lived in bondage and captivity, it’s here in the ancient pages of the old testament that we meet Deborah in the Bible. Deborah for many is a well-known biblical figure, but perhaps we miss a bit of the significance of her story.

Deborah is one of the few women in the Bible mentioned by name, but she’s also one of the only women in the Bible to step into a leadership role over Israel. But who was this Deborah in the Bible? What makes her relevant to our lives today? And what impacts can she have on us?

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Who Was Deborah In The Bible?

Deborah has long been one of my favorite woman in the Bible, her story is filled with courage, and her faith could leave us all inspired. But who was Deborah in the Bible anyway and what was her role in the book of Judges?

  • Deborah in the Bible was a prophet of God.
  • She is the 4th judge mentioned in the book of Judges, and the only female judge mentioned in the Bible.
  • She was a leader of Israel.
  • Deborah was the wife of Lapidoth.
  • She became a military leader.
  • She was a songwriter and minstrel leading her people in worship after the victory had been won.

Sadly scripture doesn’t go into a lot of Deborah’s story, we aren’t told how she rose to these positions or her triumphs and struggles along the way. We simply step into Deborah’s story in Judges 4 and find her holding “court” beneath a palm tree.  This setting was a symbol of her fairness, and refusal to show partiality in her rulings. Scripture says that the people sought out Deborah’s judgment.

Take a deeper dive into the story of Deborah in the Bible and what you can learn from her.

Deborah’s Role In The Bible

Have you ever found yourself in a daunting situation? A role that you felt ill-equipped to step into? You know you heard God’s voice drawing you here, but that little voice still whispers doubt to your heart. You pour your all, out day after day, and yet it still feels like nothing. It’s never enough, never good enough, what gives you the authority to step out, to lead, to be an example.

Fear and doubt wrestle against God’s voice trying to hold you back and keep you stepping into your calling and choke out your faith. It’s amazing how fast the devil pulls out our scars when we are trying to step into our calling. He pulls out all of the stops, dragging our insecurities, and past out from where we thought we’d left them buried.

I don’t know about you, but those feelings are all too familiar. Doubt and fear are old companions of my faith, ready to jump at any time to try and send me retreating to my comfort zone. Perhaps this is why Deborah in the Bible stands out so much to me. As a woman born at a time where being a woman didn’t give her any advantages, living in captivity, she steps through the pages of history without fanfare like the other judges in the Bible and steps to the front of the stage.

How Did Deborah Become A Leader?

Perhaps the most striking verse in Judges 4 is verse 6, the Bible says that Deborah sends for a man called Barak. She doesn’t ask him to come, she doesn’t plead. She simply sends for him with authority. Her authority didn’t come from herself, her skill, her reputation, her job titles, but from the God she served.

When God calls you to something, when He lays something on your heart it doesn’t matter what people think, it doesn’t matter if you have the perfect skill set or the words to say. Your authority comes from God. By yourself, you may not be able to do what God has called you to, but with Him, you can do all things, you don’t have to be enough because He is.

Characteristics Of Deborah In The Bible

I love how as you read verse 6 you can almost feel the weight of authority in her words as she sends for Barak. The Bible says that she “sent word” and “summoned” him. Deborah tells him to gather men and prepare to go to war. Just like that she just appointed him a military leader, and declared war on the thing that has been oppressing them.

What are we being oppressed by, that we should be taking authority over? Maybe we aren’t physically at war, but spiritually and emotionally we are waging a war that we feel like we just can’t win. Your authority comes from God, the attacks from the enemy are coming from a retreating army that has already lost the war. Your victory has already been won. Trust your God, adjust your mindset, and step into the authority God has given you.

What Is The Story Of Deborah And Barak? 

Barak’s reaction to Deborah’s command is so unusual, he doesn’t question her authority, her ability, her wisdom, or her knowledge. Doesn’t ask who she is to order him around. Doesn’t ask for the whole battle plan or why now. In fact, he doesn’t even ask why him.


Deborah just ordered him to take 10,000 men and go fight the king that’s been oppressing them for 20 years -a king that has 900 chariots and infantry-. And yet there is no “yeah right”, no snickers, no mocking questions, no “did you think this out all the way, no weighing the cost of these decisions. He only says one thing: “If you will go with me, I will go,”

He wanted this woman of faith to come with him, I think many times we are a little hard on this biblical figure for this request but I can’t help but wonder if he uttered this statement because he was trying to surround himself with people of faith. Perhaps he wanted someone near that believed in the same dream so that when his faith wavered she was there to stoke the fire of faith once more. Maybe he wanted her to remind him of where his authority came when the hard days came, and people doubted their mission, and in the dark hours when he found himself wagging silent battles.

What Can We Learn From Deborah?

So often we doubt the call on our lives because we fear that people won’t listen, that when it comes down to it we will fail, that we don’t know enough, aren’t equipped for the role. Doubt and fear whisper in our ears crumbling what God is trying to do, and sending us retreating back in the shadows of our comfort zone. We allow our feelings of qualification to keep us from stepping into the role God has for us.

Deborah in the Bible doesn’t question God’s voice or wonder what others will say or think she simply has the faith to do what God tells her. Whether people follow or not is not her concern. Her only concern is doing what the Lord has called her to, and not letting anything get in the way of that. Want to go deeper into the story of Deborah in the Bible? Check out the Deborah printable Bible study.

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35 thoughts on “Powerful Lessons From Deborah In The Bible”

  1. Love this study of Deborah! She is such an interesting character and there are certainly many life lessons from the life of Deborah, as you point out. Thank-you for your perspective on the divine authority that comes with our callings as seen through Deborah’s story. This was very helpful for me to be able to process some things on my mind.

  2. Wonderful post on Deborah. We never hear about her yet she was amazing! I enjoyed how you pointed out that she spoke with authority when she summoned Barak. She did so because of God’s authority and we have that same ability today to take authority over the things which come into our lives.

  3. What a great post on the life of Deborah! I didn’t really remember her story except that she was the only female judge. I loved how you summed up Deborah’s service to God. May my only concern be like hers: doing what the Lord has called me to do and not let anything get in the way of It!

  4. This is a great post on Deborah. She spoke with divine authority because of God’s authority and we have the power residing in us today to do the same. Great post

  5. Thank you so much for this blog post which has so many pearls like “Trust your God, adjust your mindset and step into the authority God has given you.”

  6. Dominique Haughton

    Amazing!!! This was written at the perfect time as God is currently calling all the Deborah’s to rise and fulfill the purpose Ge has for our lives! This morning I heard Him call me Deborah (last season He called me Esther) so I have been researching all morning about Deborah…of course I’m familiar with the story from the Bible but I wanted to dig deeper…this article was all the confirmation I needed! Thank you WOG for this

  7. Thank you for sharing more about Deborah and having more knowledge of her,what an amazing woman of faith and her obedience to God and His calling is amazing!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this post on Deborah.
    My name is Debra. I always thought Deborah was pronounced differently.
    I have read the book of Judges.
    Your post explained her story so perfectly. I often wonder who she was, where did she come from and why was she chosen as a Judge?
    As a child (very little) I always heard the voice of God. Telling things that would happen. They always came to pass. Most of what I was told was preparing or warning me of that which was happening or to come.
    I could not ignore what I came to know, it was the spirit of God. God protect me from so many things in my life and when I listened and followed his voice; when I did not there were the consequences.
    He warn/prepared me for the deaths of my mother, son, nephew and sister. Each following the other. I knew before it happen because the spirit of God would come to.
    This has been throughout my life and I am now 66 yrs young.
    I learned as Deborah to trust and believe God at His word. Not that I did not listen at times, but as I grew older and older so did my faith. Like Deborah I did not listen to anyone once I heard that still small voice of God speak to my very soul.
    Thank you so, so very much.
    God Blessing

    1. I am also Debra, and when I was little, I spelled my name “Deborah”. Thank you for this study of Deborah as I knew little about her until recently when I read her story in Judges. I will be doing a message based on Deborah for my Women’s Group at our church and will reference your study. I am trying to exemplify the characteristics of Deborah in my own life, specifically obedience to God’s Word and walking in my calling.

    2. Althea Seepaul

      This morning,awoke to the word Deborah,reviewed your Bible study again.We need that Deborah Anointing to be able to Minister to the men we associate with.

  9. Oke John Oluwasegun Adeleye

    Glory be to God for this story of Deborah Am so glad for this knowledge that you give me about this woman

  10. Jennetta Harris

    Wonderful…this helped to expound my understanding… and while studying the Bible and reading your writing, the Lord God gave me another revelation of this entire feat by Barak…with Deborah serving as a mentor leader. Glory be to God for Deborah for leading by example.

  11. Jennetta Harris

    oops, meant to add if I may have your permission as I would like to use excerpts for my bible teaching~ particularly for Women’s History Month at our church. Will give you credit. Thank you so much.

  12. This was exactly what I was searching for. I want to do youth study on Deborah for Women’s HIstory month and would love to reference this article.

  13. Thank you for this informing and inspirational teaching. Your words make the life of Deborah relative to the practical lives of all women.
    May I glean from your teaching to use in a women’s cell group who are studying women of the Bible?
    Thank you, once again, and God continue to bless you with His Increase.

  14. Wao am really blessed by this expository on Deborah. This is also an eye opener that God can use any gender and anyone to achieve His purpose.

  15. I love the fact that Deborah did not concern herself with whether or not others followed but only that she did what God asked of her to do. She is also my name sake so there is that connection that is special to me.

  16. Maurice Fletcher

    Thank you, this post gave me a greater insight on Females as pastors, leaders and being a man under such authority and gift/calling.

  17. Ruona Robinson

    Thank you, this post gave me an insight on the outstanding life of Deborah as a woman of courage and faith.

  18. Although we don’t know exactly why Barak asked Deborah to go with him I don’t think your position completely reflects what is in the text. The verse following Barak’s request states “”Very well” she replied, “I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture…””. There is no denying Barak’s disobedience to God. God did not command him to take Deborah he specifically told Barak to go. Then Barak said he would only go if Deborah went. Conditional obedience to God sounds not so bad but at its heart and in the eyes of God it is still disobedience. Consequently, God gave Barak a conditional victory, sure they won but Barak didn’t have the chance to kill Sisera which was customary in war at the time.

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