Kingdom Callings in the Marketplace: Deborah as Hope-filled Leader
In Israel's history, after the spiritual and governmental leadership of Moses and Joshua, the LORD raised up 12 "Judges" to lead His people. These leaders were not adjudicators who, clad in black robes and bearing gavels, settled disputes among the people. Rather, these judges were heroes (and one heroine, as we'll see today)---military, political, and spiritual leaders.
The rise of judges came at an uncanny time: God's people had not only entered their promised land (and had to fight for it), but they had just received their inheritance in the form of land allocated by tribe. Land was the primary currency of prosperity, abundance, and legal inheritance in the ancient near east. Yet instead of living in gratefulness and holiness before the LORD, the people of God quickly devolved into a lifestyle of spiritual stagnation and compromise.
In this context, Deborah arose as Israel's 4th and only female judge---at a time when Israel had been oppressed by other nations for 20 years. She was a prophetess who heard God's voice.
One day, based on the LORD's leading, Deborah asks Barak, her military general, to attack the enemy. But for some reason (most think lack of courage), he refuses to go unless Deborah joins him. Ultimately, they succeed, but not without first highlighting the role and ascendance of Israel's first woman leader.
In fact, she is unabashed about doing a "man's job" in her song of praise:
Villagers in Israel would not fight;
they held back until I, Deborah, arose,
until I arose, a mother in Israel. [Judges 5:7]
In the marketplace, we encounter fear, worry, and insecurity all the time in our hearts. Even as we have entered into our own "promised land," we not only have to fight to possess the spiritual land, but we often find ourselves lacking courage, wisdom, and revelation to keep moving forward.
In these moments, we look to the Deborah anointing in the marketplace (for both men and women)---those who see a hope-filled perspective regardless of what our natural eyes see. This, simply because the LORD has spoken.
We look to the meaning of Deborah's name, which means both "bee" (yes, as in the bug!) and "word" (as in spoken utterance). At first glance, these Hebrew derivations seem at odds, until we look to Psalm 119 for interpretive help:
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth! [Psalm 119:103]
Deborah's name refers to maker of "honey" that the LORD has promised---that is based upon the prophetic "word" that is spoken by the LORD. In this way, the Deborah kingdom calling brings honey [prosperity] based upon the word of the LORD [promise] for the marketplace!
LORD God, release the Deborah's among us in Jesus Name! Amen.