Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mentoring: Speaking Power Into the Lives of Women - Deborah

The 4th and 5th Chapters of Judges share with us the story of a multitalented and gifted woman of God named Deborah. Deborah is one of my favorite characters in the scriptures. I guess you could say that it is because I am her namesake. Yes, when I was very young I came to appreciate myself through reading about this powerful woman of God.

In the survey of bible stories concerning women, Deborah is noted as one with great authority. She is able to judge. She causes others to make righteous decisions. She is among only a few women listed in scripture who is noted as giving instructions to men, especially to Barak, a commander of Israel's army.

Barak tells Deborah that he will go to war only if she will lead him. In itself is a potent statement coming from a male counterpart. But what impressed me was her statement to him. She said, "I will surely go with you, Barak, but you won't receive the glory". She then continues by saying that the victory or the glory, will come by the hand of a woman. For our discussion I would like to point out the impact Deborah has on the life of another woman.

At first glance, you might think that Deborah is speaking about her own powerful abilities. You could possibly entertain the thought that since Deborah is going to war with Barak, she is claiming the victory for herself. After all, she will be on the battlefield risking her life and taking her chances against Sisera's army. By the way, Sisera had won several battles against the Israelites. Deborah could be caught up in having her name more renown in the land. She could be concerned with keeping the status quo of being the only, or first, woman to command men in battle. Yes, Deborah says, the battle will be won by the hand of a woman. Yet, she looks beyond herself and sees the possibility of another woman.

Remember that Deborah is God's called woman. She is a prophetess. This means that she is gifted with the gifts of discernment, seeing ahead, and speaking into existence. So, I believe that she sees a young woman who she believes capable of obtaining victory. She sees Jael, and rather than keep the victory for herself, she releases Jael to her strengths. She sees her. She believes in her. She speaks up for her.

The scripture does not speak explicitly of Deborah and Jael as knowing each other. But through reading the whole text, you will see that Deborah has knowledge of Jael. My point is that women who are in power must empower others. Yes, we are great corporate queens. Yes, we are great administrators both at the corporate and religious boards. But all that I know about growing the kingdom requires that we teach others. Discipleship demands that we train others concerning the things we have observed. (Mat.28:19,20).

Deborah shows us how to delegate responsibility. But what I deem most important about Deborah is her ability to celebrate another woman. Deborah writes a song of praise unto the Lord. She celebrates Jael's giftedness. She expresses pleasure at the works of another. She sings praises. She is not afraid to tell others about Jael's abilities. She is not afraid that Jael's accomplishments will thwart her own abilities. copyright dls.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
Are you making room for someone else to grow?
Are you telling others in power about another sister?
Are you celebrating the accomplishments of other women?

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