4:1 The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died.
4:2 So the LORD sold them into the hand of King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha-goiim.
4:3 Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD for help; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, and had oppressed the Israelites cruelly twenty years.
4:4 At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel.
4:5 She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment.
4:6 She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you, ‘Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun.
4:7 I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.'”
Israel had once again fallen into a pattern of sin. They were consistently failing in the area of obeying and following after God’s commands for their lives. They gave into the temptations that the world had to offer and as a result, each time they were faced with judgment and punishment from God.
The Israelites were known to be God’s chosen people. As such they were to reflect and set an example of what it mean to follow and live for God. They were called to be different and to be a shinning light to the nations around them. That is why when they gave into sin, God had to remind them of who He is and that living for the world only brings emptiness and hopelessness.
God is always in the habit of trying to bring His children back to Him. He does this because He loves us and wants the best in mind for us. He sees the dangers that can come with giving into the worlds temptations. That is why God sometimes has to use extreme measures to bring us back into His loving presence.
Obedience is not something that is naturally a part of our human nature. Yet despite our sin, God’s Grace still covers all of our wrong doings and we see here that God answered the cries of the Israelites for help and deliverance. He extends a hand of forgiveness towards His children and rescues them from being oppressed.
When we come to the Lord with a heart of repentance and desire to let go of our sin and obey Him, He answers us. God is driven by His unfailing love towards us and like a loving Father, He disciplines us because He has a plan that is far greater then what sin can offer us. Sin is what sets up a barrier between us and God. Breaking through that Barrier is something that God is always on the move to do because He does not want to see any of His children be swept away by sin and miss out on God being our true source of joy, peace and comfort.
The story of Deborah is one that breaks a lot of barriers. In ancient times women were not often in positions of power or leadership, unless the were married or born into royalty. Deborah was neither of those two things. In fact, Israel had no royalty at this time in history. They were a loosely knit population in Canaan who were supposed to be operating a theocracy. However, what actually happened was that they just kept rebelling against God and so God would remove His protection from them and they would get over taken by the surrounding nation.
But God is merciful he provided them with their freedom when they finally decided to turn from their ways. He rose up leaders from within them and lead them to safety. But God did not use just anyone. He used imperfect and unlikely candidates. One such candidate was Deborah. A powerless woman she was not. With the calling of God upon her she lead the Israelites to defeat Sisera and the Canaanites. In another unlikely event, Sisera was actually killed by another female, Jael. Thus, tho women delievered God’s people in a time were women had no power and very little respect.
God is the one who bestows our calling on us. It is not the wisdom or doctrines of man. No church or governing board can tell you what your calling is, male or female. God will use the weak and powerless in this world to confound the wise and powerful. He does not care what your theological or political views are either. He will use who ever is willing to fight for the kingdom. Anyone who is willing to lay down their life and follow the calling. Do not believe the lie that God cannot use you because you are female, or too young, or too old, or uneducated, or weak, or slow, or anything else. Just follow the Lord and he will equip you for any work that He has for you.