TEXT: JUDGES 4:1-10, 14, 5:7, 12
One of my sons is allergic to bees and even though we were very careful when he was growing up, he still got stung once or twice while playing outside. We couldn't keep him inside all the time! Because of my son's allergy, I've learned a lot about bees and wasps. There is a big difference between a honeybee and a wasp. They both have painful stings, but when a honeybee stings it leaves its stinger in the person and dies right after, whereas when a wasp stings it takes its stinger with her and can keep stinging and stinging and stinging!
Deborah -- whose names means "wasp" in Hebrew -- was just like her namesake. She was a strong woman, a fighter, and someone who people took seriously. When the Israelites were confronted with Sisera's army and his nine hundred chariots, God raised up this "waspy" woman to lead His people.
Deborah's front man, Barak, refused to fight against this powerful army by himself. Instead, he insisted that Deborah go with him. What was so special about this woman that a man asked her to go with him? I think it was her fearlessness in the face of danger -- her true fear of and hope in The Lord. Like a wasp, Deborah did not fear death or the formidable enemy, because her hope and security were in God. And so, like a small wasp, she stung and stung until the enemy ran away in fear.
You also have been created to live as a wasp -- or an Ezer warrior. Don't be afraid to confront the enemy's army. Remember, you don't fight by yourself; you have Jesus by your side to rescue you, to give you victory over the Enemy, and to give you eternal life!
Deborah is one of those people in the Bible who fully embraces her gifts and calling. She is a prophetess, a judge, and a leader. She is known for her wisdom, and Barak does not doubt her courage when he asks her to come with him into battle. The Lord has commanded Barak to go into battle against a huge army (with 900 chariots!), and Deborah doesn't even flinch when Barak asks her to come with him. Now that is an Ezer -- a warrior woman who brings real help and hope! When Israel was in trouble and needed help after being oppressed for 20 years, God raised up Deborah and Deborah led her people with wisdom, courage, and faith. She was even called the mother of Israel!
God is still looking for Deborahs today. Our world and our city are full of injustice, violence, and spiritual battle -- and we need God's warriors to bring hope. These battles are not just meant for men. God calls all of his children -- men and women -- to be His ambassadors and to put on their spiritual armor (Ephesians 6). He has given all of His children spiritual gifts to build His kingdom. As women, we need to follow in the footsteps of Deborah and Eve and become the Ezers God intended us to be -- walking by faith, speaking with wisdom, leading as spiritual mothers, and entering battles with courage and hope in Christ. Jesus is the embodiment of God's Hope, and He calls His daughters and sons to be ambassadors of that hope -- proclaiming the good news of Jesus to those living in darkness and despair, declaring His victory over the Enemy's strongholds, wearing His armor into the battles He is leading us into.
Where is God calling you to lead boldly, bringing His Hope to others? How can you encourage others to boldly follow God with you? Or maybe you are leading, and you feel all alone -- the only leader or the only woman surrounded by men. How can you lead with wisdom and femininity? How can you lead as a mother encouraging others to follow God with you? How can you affirm the men and women in your life to take their own leaps of faith? How can you inspire others to Hope in Jesus?