5 Powerful Lessons The Story Of Deborah In The Bible

Deborah in the Bible is one of the better-known women of the Bible, but how much do we truly know of the life of Deborah and her role in the Bible? We find her story in the book in the Old Testament book of Judges chapter 4. Deborah is one of the few women in the Bible (especially in the Old Testament) mentioned by name, but she’s also one of the only women in the Bible to step into a leadership role over the people of 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? I’m so glad you asked.

 

Deborah In The Bible

The story of Deborah in the Bible comes against the backdrop of the people of Israel once again turning their backs on the Lord and living under the oppression of the hand of Jabin king of Canaan and the Canaanite army. 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 chronicling the history of ancient Israel that we meet Deborah in the Bible.

 

Who Was Deborah In The Bible?

Deborah has long been one of my favorite women 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 were Deborah’s roles in the book of Judges? The meaning of Deborah in the Bible is bee.

  • 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 Lappidoth.
  • 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 the palm tree of Deborah. 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.

 

Deborah’s Role In The Bible

Deborah’s roles as judge, prophet, and leader were important, she played an important role in the spiritual leadership as well as guidance to her people. Her faithfulness not only to Israel but to God finds her stepping into the role of a military commander. Deborah’s courage and obedience to God’s call is an excellent example to Christian women.

Judge Deborah was a woman of God, that ruled with fairness, and wisdom. But she was also a prophet, her prophecies guiding the Israelites in the word of God.

Deborah was also a wife, which means she had to balance all of these roles- that makes her a pretty incredible woman in my book.

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.

 

Deborah Bible Verse

Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading[a] Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. Judges 4:4 NIV

​This is our introduction to Deborah in the Bible, straight and to the point.

She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’” Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” “Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. Judges 4:8-9 NIV

​Her own faith shines through this passage, there is no fear of what others will think or do. She is confident in the Lord’s help, and the word of the Lord.

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 King Jabin and the Canaanite army that has been oppressing them.

Barak’s response however doesn’t share Deborah’s confidence. He has doubts. He’s afraid. The army of Sisera is big and mighty. His faith isn’t as strong as hers, and he hesitates.

 

What Is The Story Of Deborah And Barak?

Barak’s reaction to Deborah’s summons 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,”

See it’s still disobedience, God told him to do something. To take up the role of General Barak, military commander, and lead the army of Israelites. But he allows his fear and doubts to get in the way like we so often do. His faith isn’t strong enough, so he wanted this woman of faith to come with him, I think many times we are a little hard on this biblical figure when we are so prone to the same behavior.

We know our faith isn’t strong enough, so instead of allowing the situation to grow us, we rely on the faith of those around us to get us through.

Perhaps Barak wanted someone near that believed in God’s word 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. To remind himself of the strength of the Lord God of Israel.

There are always consequences to disobedience, and so the same is true in the story of Deborah and Barak in the Bible. The victory wasn’t his, the honor and fame of defeating General Sisera will no longer be his. Here we meet Jael, and the fulfillment of Deborah’s prophecy. Jael’s actions ensure victory for the Israelite army and she is remembered for this. Even Deborah sings of her actions.

 

Deborah in the Bible study

Want to go deeper into the story of Deborah in the Bible? Try our Bible Study printable!

 

Characteristics Of Deborah In The Bible

  • Deborah in the Bible is a woman with great wisdom.
  • Deborah is a woman of strong faith.
  • Deborah in the Bible has great leadership skills.
  • Deborah is just.
  • Deborah in the Bible balanced the many roles she played from prophet, to judge, to leader and wife.
  • Deborah was humble and sought God’s guidance.
  • Deborah in the Bible was a woman of authority.
  • Deborah was a woman of worship, praising God when He brings victory.

 

What Can We Learn From Deborah In The Bible?

Deborah in the Bible has so much to teach us, from lessons in walking in the authority He has given us. To stand strong in our faith. Let’s take a quick look at some of the things she can teach us:

 

God’s plan is better than ours

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.

God equips you for the role He has for you

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?

 

Don’t let your fear stop you from following God

Fear and doubt wrestle against God’s voice trying to hold you back and keep you from 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 when 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 as a leader for God’s people

 

Don’t let your past hold you captive

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.

 

Our authority comes from God

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, and that we don’t know enough, and 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.

 

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The Story Of Deborah

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. We need this kind of Faith. The kind of faith that lets us trust in God’s plan, wisdom, and timing.

Deborah is a wonderful example of what it’s like to trust God with our whole heart and not on our own understanding.

What stands out to you about the story of Deborah in the Bible?

 

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38 thoughts on “5 Powerful Lessons The Story Of 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.

  19. So exciting to read about Deborah and her desire to obey God.
    I keep dreaming I’m going to have a daughter and Debrah was the name that came first.
    I love the meaning – busy bee
    Her devotion to God and also she was fearless. She stood and believed what God had spoken to her to do.
    Thank you so much for your post. It’s great encouragement to read of the amazing acts God has used of women in the Bible. For us to be encouraged and step out of our comfort zone and do what God has called us to do.
    Amen 🙏.
    Be blessed ladies

  20. Than God for the reading on Deborah she has helped me a lot on trying to figure out my calling as I have spoken to my first lady Sunday past Sunday about I have been known I have a calling on my life but I’m not sure so she told me to read my Bible like I’ve never read it before for and pray about it and God will show me but I’m am shy I told her she replied don’t look at the congregation when I speak what I believe she saying out god first he’s leading me.
    Amen

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