Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Great People of the Bible Week #6- Deborah

Wise leaders are rare. They accomplish great amounts of work without direct involvement because they know how to work through other people. The are able to see the big picture that often escapes those directly involved, so they make good mediators, advisors, and planners. Deborah fits this description perfectly. She had all these leadership skills, and she had a remarkable relationship with God. The insight and confidance God gave this woman placed her in a unique position in the Old Testament. Deborah is among the outstanding women of history.

Her story shows that she was not power hungry. She wanted to serve God. Whenever praise came her way, she gave God the credit. She didn't deny or resist her position in the culture as a woman and wife, but she never allowed herself to be hindered by it either. He story shows that God can accomplish great things through people who hear his call.

Deborah's life challenges us in several ways. She reminds us of the need to be available both to God and to others. She encourages us to spend our efforts on what we can do rather than on worrying about what we can't do. Deborah challenges us to be wise leaders. She demonstrates what a person can accomplish when God is in control.

Deborah was one of the judges of Israel who led God's chosen people after the Exodus and before the establishment of the monarchy. Deborah was the only female judge of Israel. To get some backgroud read Judges 2:6-16, 18-19. This sets the stage for the cycle of the Judges. This period ends with the last judge, Samuel.

Read Judges 4:1-10
-At this time how formidable was Isrel's army?
-For how long had Israel been dominated?
-From verses 4 & 5 describe Deborah's various roles.
-What kind of credibility had she established among the people?
-According to Judges 2:16 & 18, by whom had Deborah been appointed?
-What gave a judge confidence? Why would this be important?
-What executive order did Deborah issue to Barak? By whose authority?
-Why was the military strategy significant?
-What gaurenteed outcome did she declare?
-What did Barak's initial response (v. 8) reveal about his attitude to Deborah?
-How might his reluctance have affected the military conquest for the people as a whole?
-After Barak marshelled his forces, what happened in the enemy camp?
-How effective was Barak's counter attack (v. 16)?
-Why did Sisera feel safe with Jael?
-Why is it significant that Barak was persuing Sisera?
-What do you think went through Barak's mind when he saw Sisera?
-How many of Deborah's predictions came true? How successful was her leadership?

Read Judges 5

This Song of Deborah celebrates Israel's victory. It has been preserved not only as a record of historical events, but as a beautiful expression of praise to God.

-What is it in leaders and all the people that brings praise to the Lord?
-How did Deborah describe God?
-How did Deborah describe herself?
-What added dimension does this title give to her character?
-What character qualities do you admire most in Deborah?
-Though our culture and lifestyle are different today, in what ways should contemporary Christians follow her example?

Have a great week everyone! If you are wondering how things are going for me in Mexico City, log on to my personal blog

Next Week = Ruth


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