Deborah was an Old Testament wife, prophet, and judge. Awake to the call of God upon her life, she fulfilled each position with distinction. Deborah’s unmovable stance earned her the name “Mother of Israel. Hear her call, “Wake up! Take your position!”
We can all learn from Deborah’s position of preparation that would secure national victory.
Deborah’s position was neither a title nor a job description. She chose to seat herself under a date palm. Deborah and the palm became synonymous of each other.
“She would sit under the Palm of Deborah
between Ramah and Bethel”
When her nation was busy in the chaotic worship of idols, she sat. With the strong arm of Canaanite oppression destroying her people, she sat. As people came to her, crying in their pain, she sat.
Deborah was neither complacent nor indifferent. She rested in the security of her calling, anointing, and gifts. Deborah knew her place and her God.
She sat between Ramah, meaning “hill or height” and Bethel meaning “house of God.” It would have been easy for her to push toward Ramah for status, promotion, and position. She did not! It would have been just as easy for her to escape from the pressures and ugliness of her imposing culture in Bethel, secluded in God’s presence. She would not!
Deborah chose the place between self-promotion and self-protection. Moving prematurely upward or continuously inward would not only be sinful, but also incapacitating. She resisted the compulsion to either.
Unlike other judges who sat at the city gate, or held circuit court from city to city, Deborah sat among her people. To this remote location, they came. Day after day, morning until evening, she was accessible to all. The Mother of Israel was always on duty!
Ramah and Bethel were in the hill country of Ephraim. Ephraim means “double fruitfulness.” As we align ourselves with God’s purpose and direction, there will be double fruitfulness.
The palm is beyond a doubt fruitful. It begins producing at 6 to 8 years and bears abundant clusters of fruit until well over a hundred.
Double is actually the smallest dimension of blessing available to us. Though double is good, a hundredfold is possible!
“…truly hear and understand God’s word
and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty or even a hundred times
as much as had been planted.”
Deborah knew who she was and what she was called to. Here she stayed unwavering. May we all see clearly God’s plan and position for our lives and be willing to stay in His choosing
as a homemaker or a doctor,
a bus driver or a trucker,
a teacher or a lawyer,
a janitor or an executive,
a garbage collector or an engineer…
Don’t move from God’s position! Excel where you are. Remain faithful to the task in front of you. Increase comes by staying the course.
Under the Palm
The date palm was rare in Palestine. In majesty, its height reached 60′- 80′ above the plains, as far from earth and as close to heaven as possible. Here it flourished in perpetual greenness.
“Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green.”
Syrians credit 360 different uses to the palm. One for every day of the year and more! Under the Palm of Deborah, there was no shortage of wisdom and justice. Beneath the straight and upright palm, Deborah proved herself true to God and compassionate to the needs of others.
As tokens of peace and victory, Solomon had palm fronds carved ornately in God’s temple. As she sat under the palm, Deborah declared peace and victory over her distraught nation.
Growing from Within
The Palm of Deborah beautifully stood in stark contrast to the barren landscape. Similarly, Deborah arose, unhindered amid spiritual drought, oppression, and cultural discrimination.
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree.”
The rough bark of a palm forms an almost impenetrable barrier. We all face extreme pressures and hindrances in our development to maturity and fullness in faith. Many Christians succumb to cultural demands to conform and comply. Deborah did not!
As an endogen, the palm grows from within. What a fitting image of a Christ follower! From the inside out, we are empowered and enabled by Holy Spirit to grow beyond imposed barriers. Hard outer restrictions yield to the invisible, internal movements of God. Ever expanding outward and triumphantly stretching upward, we grow.
Nothing can hinder God or keep us from our calling. Nothing!
Positioned in righteousness, Deborah flourished like the palm! With ears open to God’s voice, she surrendered to His leading — even when His leading was sit.
Position to Lead
Daily Deborah sat under the palm with its truck permanently scarred by fallen leaves – each scar a visual reminder of those who had fallen into idolatry.
“I have no greater joy
than to hear that my children
are walking in the truth.”
3 John 1:4
The greatest sorrow is the opposite. Deborah’s tears mingled with those weeping over the stranglehold of idolatry. My shoulders, too, have been stained with the tears of the broken; my pillow drenched with tears for the fallen.
A Roman coin bears the imprint of a woman weeping beneath a palm. If it was Deborah, we do not know. But while she sat, Deborah interceded for her people, seeking their freedom. Our ministry must never exceed our willingness and ability to pray on behalf of others.
Deborah joined the crescendo of the cries of her people as they
“cried out to the LORD for help.”
The Word of Victory
God gave the word of victory! My tendency would be to jump up and dance; Deborah did not move. She sent for the military leader, Barak.
“One day she sent for Barak…
“This is what the LORD,
the God of Israel, commands you:
Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes
of Naphtali and Zebulun…”
Out of Naphtali, “haven, habitation”, and Zebulun, “obtained by wrestling (in prayer)” warriors were called out, “Arise!”
At the base of the parent palm tree, young palms began to flourish. Deborah’s unmovable position allowed her to spiritually parent people ready and willing to do business with God.
In her place of habitation and prayer, warriors of habitation and prayer were mothered. Deborah’s position of sitting where God chose created strength and stamina in herself and others that would soon be released.
The Palm of Deborah was a perfect symbol of this woman’s internal strength, divine call, anointed leadership, and powerful intercession. Her greatest time of fruitfulness was about to explode, because she positioned herself in humility and excellence like the palm tree under which she sat.
(To be continued next blog….)
Further Reading: The Lord is my Helper! “I Will Help You!”