It was a terrible time. Your country sold it self to other gods. Again. Another nation took over. Again. These attackers were merciless--violent–powerful--raping, pillaging, and murdering wherever they pleased. Even their women loved their violent men because they knew they’d be getting stuff when they came back from raids. These ladies didn’t care what it cost in human lives. And it wasn’t just that these guys invaded, they actually set up shop in your backyard. They took over cites and had been living in them for years. Whole sections of the population were destroyed by them, it wasn’t safe to travel, and no one dare fight back. Everyone felt beaten down. And who should come to the forefront? Your mom. Your mom is willing to stand up. She sets up a little shop, plop in the middle of the whole country. A place where people can go for answers and wisdom. She tells it to them straight. In a funny way she’s under the invader’s radar. Because she’s just a mom. No biggie to them.
Judges 5:7 "The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel.”
What qualified Deborah to be judge and prophetess?
She didn’t see her self as some big shot or the wife of some big shot, but someone who filled the gap during a really tough time. She didn’t see herself as a judge or prophet hot shot strutting around on donkeys like Jair’s sons, but as a mom. She didn’t work out of some nice house to give judgement, but under a tree. A place of hospitality where you could sit in the shade and talk. Out in the open. Easy to spot from the distance. The tree even had a name. It was a very specific place. She was always there for whomever came to her.
Deborah was wise. People came to her for judgement. She knew her bible. Sure, she was centrally located but it was still a trek. Samuel made a circuit, this lady stayed put. Her judgements must have been worth the distance, especially as travel was dangerous and time consuming. (They went in round about ways to avoid Sisera.).
She had compassion. What bothered her about her current times? The peasantry ceased in Israel. Common people had been devastated by Sisera and his big bully chariot riders. And when Israel went out to battle, what bothered her? The fact the guys had no spears and shields. Maybe it was like the time the Philistines took over. Israel had to go to Philistia to get their farming implements sharpened because the Philistines took everything away. So when King Saul went against Philistia the people took their mattocks and plows to do battle.
Deborah didn’t mince words. She told Barak to go. She told him because he was chicken and needed “mom “ to go with him into battle, a women would defeat Sisera. She said the people had chosen false gods and tied that into their troubles. She was openly critical of the tribes that sat on their duffs while other tribes took their lives into their hands and fought. She was just as encouraging to those who did good.
She had faith. She trusted God would give victory in a time when others wavered. God told her, and she believed Him, not the nay sayers around her. God fought in miraculous ways. He caused the Kishon to flood, He enabled the Israelites to obtain swords (perhaps from their attackers) and defeat them, He set His stars against them, and the angel of the Lord cursed them.
She had guts. She went into battle. Now what middle aged mom you know would go with an army of volunteers who had no real weapons, to fight against seasoned soldiers in chariots?
She gave glory to God. The song of Deborah and Barak takes up more space than the description of the times and battle. She may have noted the people chose false gods but she said from that time forth Israel would know the LORD (the covenant name of God) delivered them and they’d talk about it wherever they went.
So, are you a mother in Israel? Some of you are. Ask yourself, are you wise, compassionate, straight talking, believing, gutsy and giving the glory to God alone? If not, buck up and be a mom. In times like these we need all the moms we can get.