There is much to say about women called to lead in ministry roles. You can find countless articles on the Internet with titles such as: Should Christian Women Lead, Can Women Lead the Church, Women Must Lead the Church, and a host of others articles. “Unfortunately, gender bias runs deep in the church and has historically prevent women from fulfilling their leadership call,” says J. Lee Grady in Can Women Lead the Church.
As a woman called to lead in ministry it can be little disheartening. My one thought is, if you only knew what God placed in my heart…
There are many examples of strong women in the Bible, who possessed many admirable qualities, such as Sarah, Esther, and Abigail. Then there’s Deborah, who bought a change to a nation in turmoil. She inspired a general, rallied the troops, and set a course of freedom for millions of people. She was quite a woman! When I read her story, I can’t help but be inspired.
We long to be leaders who hear and obey the voice of the Lord. I wonder what Deborah felt when she was called to lead a nation. Did she grimace at the thought? Did she wonder why God called her for such a …. role/task? Maybe she felt inadequate? Yet God had a different thought.
In Eastern countries, in the days of old, and even nowadays among in some countries, women are usually looked down upon by men, and they are often treated not much better than servants or even slaves.
Deborah was a prophetess, judge and mother to Israel. She was the fourth Judge of Israel, a counselor, a warrior, and the wife of Lapidoth. She was destined to lead a nation into victory. During Deborah’s time the twelve tribes of Israel lived more or less independently, each one in his part of the country. The neighboring peoples often took advantage of this fact, making trouble now for one tribe, now for another. The trouble came whenever the Jewish people abandoned the ways and laws of the Torah and started to imitate the ways of their heathen neighbors.
“And Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgement.” (Judges 4:4-5)
But under the cruel oppression of the enemy, they cried out to God and returned to Him with all their heart. Then God sent them a great leader who delivered them from the oppression, and who continued to teach them and keep them in the way of the Torah as long as he lived. When this leader, who was called a Judge, passed on, the Jews—left without a spiritual guide—fell back into their old ways, and immediately trouble waited at their door.
So it was in the time of Deborah. It was the cruel Canaanite King Jabin of Hazor who mercilessly oppressed the Jews. He had an equally cruel and brutal general named Siserawho, for twenty years, did everything possible to make the lives of his Jewish neighbors miserable. When the Jews could stand it no longer, they cried out to God to send them a deliverer.
Deborah was leading Israel at that time. Deborah convened her court under a palm tree where “the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided” (Judges 4:5). Undoubtedly their greatest disputes revolved around their oppressors, the Canaanites. Something had to be done, and Deborah was the woman for the job.
When she ordered Barak, her secretary of defense, to amass an army, Deborah made it clear who reigned as commander in chief: “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you” (Judges 4:6). Unlike take-charge Jezebel, who sought no one’s counsel, levelheaded Deborah obeyed the Lord and insisted his will—not hers—be done.
Village life had ceased. Life had almost come to a standstill. The will of her people had been broken by the cruelty and ruthless of their Canaanite oppressors.
“Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, Arose a mother in Israel.” (Judges 5:7)
We can learn from Deborah’s leadership style by putting aside any personal agenda, listening for God’s clear direction, and letting others know who’s really running the show.
If God called Deborah to lead a nation, why would we question His calling women in leadership roles today?
God did not call her to an easy task; in fact, if was a rather impossible one. Have you have been called by God to do something you feel totally inadequate to do?
Many times as Christian women we have not stood together and have neglected to realize that by forming alliances against evil we can change and reform nations. Together we can do what no lone voice can accomplish–when we join forces we can….bring change to our communities for righteousness’ sake.
Many years ago the Lord revealed to my heart/spirit…through a book, The Deborah Company, written by Jane Hamon that the Deborahs of God are arising! Some times in my head I say, “Father, you got to be kidding me. There is no way I can do this. I feel so inadequate… Now more than ever this has become very real to me….” I’m sure many of us do.
Here’s the truth, when we rise up in faith we will feed the poor, take care of the orphans, preach the gospel, help eradicate poverty, free women bound in domestic violence, drug abuse, bad relationships and prostitution in a profound way!
Rise up, women of faith! If He did it before, He can do it again! Catch the vision of what God is doing in the women of the body of Christ so that we can work together to effectively fulfill His Kingdom purposes here on earth. Let’s take back what the enemy has stolen from us. Rise up!
He is calling ordinary women to do extraordinary work. Make no mistake about it: embracing the call will not be easy or glamorous. We may have to take off our Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Anne Klein, etc…..diamonds and pearls; put away our Louis Vuitton, roll up our sleeves, but the lives of our loved ones and the lost are worth so much more.
As the Lord begins to lead you to embrace your calling and the stirring in your heart for His destiny and purpose for you, I believe you will begin to sense a divine urgency and responsibility for things greater than yourself. …take up the sword of the Spirit in prayer…seeking divine revelation, wisdom and strategy that will make an impact in our homes and our communities.
I hear the Lord saying, rise up with the spirit of Deborah, under the anointing of grace!
“The Lord gives the word [of power]; the women who bear and publish [the news] are a great host!” (Psalm 68:11)
Be Abundantly Blessed!
Published by Dr. A. Francine Green