Wake Up Deborah! Part 3 – Jael Strike the Enemy!

Deborah Arise - Jael Strike the Enemy

God planned every detail of their victory, not just for Israel, but beyond. Deborah’s voice and Barak’s bravery secured the battlefield, but the courage of Jael would extend the victory to all. It is time to strike the enemy!

You never have to go looking for your enemy! The enemy is looking for you!

Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8

Our story began with a woman, “the wife of Lappidoth.” Let me introduce you to Jael, “the wife of Heber.”

Opposites Attract

If ever there were opposites, Deborah and Jael are a perfect illustration. Jael’s husband Heber had

moved away from his tribe…
Heber’s family was on friendly terms with King Jabin.”
Judges 4:11, 17

Heber means “alliance”. As a descendant of Moses’ brother-in-law, Heber believed in God but allied with the enemy.  Heber had led his whole family to do the same. In this no-man’s-land of compromise, Jael’s home was in constant jeopardy.

Heber a lover of God but ally of the enemy

They lived by the Oak of Zaanannim, “removings”.

Before you throw too much judgment at Heber, consider his predicament. He was a foreigner in a foreign land. The incessant and degrading worship of non-gods was invading his home. However by “removing” his family from Israel’s wicked influence, he was also exposing them to a greater threat of destruction by invading troops.

Heber and his family walked a fine line for survival!

On one side, we see Deborah married to a powerful man of fire and faith. She was an anointed, fruitful and honoured woman, a beautiful and rare “palm” within Israel. On the other, we find Jael as common, as ordinary, as the sheltering oaks that surrounded her tent. Yet, she possessed a strength she did not yet know.

Defeated before she began!
Struggling to make ends meet!
The cards stacked against her!
The wrong family!
The wrong place!

The Enemy Knocks

Before Sisera knocked at her door, Jael saw him coming. His presence always signaled trouble for her and her household. Alone and running for his life,

Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael.”
Judges 4:17

A heart as dry as the desert

Though her ears never heard Deborah’s prophecy, God had this courageous, quick thinking woman ready!

“The LORD’s victory over Sisera
will be at the hands of a woman.”
Judges 4:9

How trapped in the cycle did Jael feel?  She knew already Sisera’s army lay defeated. Why else would he be on the run, fearfully glancing over his shoulder. Even without an army, Sisera possessed enough personal strength to annihilate her family.

God had asking her distant relative,

“What is that in your hand?”
Exodus 4:2

What could she, a woman, possibly do now? Courage rose above fear! She steeled her heart and steadied her mind! Her existence depended on it!

Sisera’s wild eyes and hands whitened against his sword disclosed his unpredictable nature.

What is in Your Hand?

It was a woman’s responsibility to tend to every aspect of her tent, from construction to maintenance. She would be the one to set up, repair and dismantle it. Like every mother today, it was her responsibility to protect it!

“Come into my tent, sir. Come in. Don’t be afraid”
Judges 4:18

Jael disarmed Sisera’s fear and used his fatigue as opportunity. She calmed the wild bull of a man with warm milk, settling him in a secluded corner of her own tent. Jael covered him with her blanket assuring him to rest.

“If anybody comes and asks you if there is anyone here,
say no.”
Judges 4:20

No where to run! No where to hide!

So many lies! The deceiver asleep in her tent! How tired was Jael of running, moving and longing for security? There was no where to hide. No more lies! No more making peace with the enemy!

The Courage of Jael

How many times had lies increased trouble for her household? Countless! Each lie strangling, poisoning, numbing to truth.

“No more! No more lies!”

As Jael watched her tears fall to the dusty ground something caught her eye. There they lay where she had fastened the last cord of her tent.

Numbly she reached for the long spike and crept toward Sisera, her heartbeat echoing in her ears.

As Deborah spoke in a voiceless land, Jael would no longer be silent! If Barak moved in audacious faith to engage Sisera in battle, she would not sit still! Because 10,000 men rose to the call without sword of shield, she would not rest!

While Israel’s warriors raised their voices in triumph, one obstacle prevented lasting peace. He was asleep on Jael’s floor.

God, who brought victory for the army of Israel, steadied her hand and her resolve.

“with her left hand she reached for a tent peg,
and with her right hand for the workman’s hammer.”
Judges 5:21

Courage is contagious. It started with Deborah, ignited Barak, and activated an army. Once awakened, courage flowed to the common, the ordinary, the survivors, the crippled, and the wounded. From the same dust that drank the blood of Sisera, courage continued to rise.

A Hammer and A Nail

Jael did not know that she was the fulfillment of Deborah’s prophecy. She was simply a mother watching over her tent.

Jael also didn’t realize she signalled another blow that would crush another head.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
  Genesis 3:15

Every believer since Adam and Eve has lived, like Heber and Jael, in the borderland between faith and alliance with the enemy. Some are caught in this broken place paralyzed by fear, incapacitated by sin, and numbed by lies.

In the North American Church today only 5% of Christians live in vibrant faith:

 bible reading full of exciting revelation
readiness to share the Good News of Christ
stepping into areas of ministry
praying with fervent faith
caring for the poor and under privileged
raising up disciples
enjoying God’s abiding presence.

Borderland is the prison confines of the too many!

Christ has paid the price for freedom! In His death and resurrection, He has crushed the deceiver once and for all!

May Deborah, Barak, 10,000 warriors and an ordinary woman named Jael, ignite an appetite for more. May we not settle for borderland living, but move toward freedom! If Satan has gained access anywhere in our homes, our families, our communities, our nation, or our world… arise!

Through the victory of the cross, STRIKE the enemy! God has already crushed his head and won the battle! Reach for the hammer and the tent peg. We may only get one swing, so let’s make it good!

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If you missed the first two parts of “Arise! Wake up!”, read on!

 

Wake Up Deborah! Part 2 – Arise Warriors Without Weapons

Deborah Arise - Warriors without Weapons

The people began to cry out to the LORD in their oppression. God called forth Deborah as prophet and judge over Israel. She arose inspiring warriors without weapons to fight.  Deborah’s voice became a tremor that shock her nation to stand!

Though most of the judges were acknowledged following a major victory, Deborah was an exception. She was a valiant and powerful leader prior to any military exploit.

A Mother of Israel

The bible and history show how God raises up a woman during revival or crisis. When a woman leads, it is birthing time – time for a new generation, a new move, or a new thing. Women are designed to produce seed, carry it to maturity and then bring it forth. Men contribute to the process, but only women birth!

She senses movement! She perceives time!

“People avoided the main roads,
and travelers stayed on winding pathways.
There were few people left in the villages of Israel –
until Deborah arose as a mother for Israel.
When Israel chose new gods,
war erupted at the city gates.”
Judges 5:6,7

People avoided the main roads.

Israel was desperate! City streets were unsafe, let alone the country roads. Because they had forsaken God, He turned them over to their Canaanite enemies.

It took twenty years, but Israel began to cry out to the LORD. They didn’t repent; nor did they seek mercy. They cried for relief from oppression.

“Bee”

We are born naked but with gifts. God has entrusted each of us with natural and spiritual gifts necessary to fulfill His purposes. Deborah busily exercised her gifts of prophecy and wisdom living up to her name, meaning “bee”.

Breaking through stereotypes, she arose as political and spiritual leader over Israel. Often, it is in difficult times that ones’ true nature is revealed.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
—Joseph Kennedy

Deborah - "bee"

When the queen bee starts moving, warriors become activated responding to her instincts.

Wake up, Deborah, wake up!
Wake up, wake up, and sing a song!
Arise, Barak! Lead your captives away…”
Judges 5:12

Out of apathy and complacency Deborah arose prophetically speaking God’s word over her nation. God’s voice through Deborah pierced the atmosphere, gaining her recognition as a righteous judge.

Woman Under Cover

The bible prioritizes whatever is mentioned first. The first detail spoken of Deborah is that she was

“the wife of Lappidoth.”
Judges 4: 4

Lappidoth means “torches or flames.” A wife first, she honoured her powerhouse husband. They were equals! Deborah was a prophetic torch over her nation; her husband was also a man of fire.

Lappidoth - torches or flames

strong husband releases and opens doors for his wife to serve God wholeheartedly.

Whether male or female, it is imperative that we honour leadership staying under the spiritual cover they provide. Godly leaders will always build, advance, and promote others whether in our homes, churches or workplace.

Prophet and Judge

“The Israelites would go to her for judgment.”
Judges 4:5

Deborah’s position took courage and strength.  Standing against the wickedness of her nation, she challenging Israel to godliness. Displaying faithfulness  and wisdom, she received honour and respect from all.

God fights for Israel

The day came! Something was shifting! She declared the word of victory to Barak, the military leader.

“This is what the LORD, the God of Israel,
commands you call out 10,000 warriors
from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun …
I will call out Sisera … along with his chariots and warriors,
to the Kishon River.
There I will give you victory over him.”
Judges 4:6.7

Women arise! Wake up and step into God’s purpose! In your rising, inspire and elevate men as leaders and warriors. God is calling our men to stand and fight. Deborah’s daughters will always speak God’s word of victory into men.

Woman of Wisdom

We know little about Barak. Some would call him weak; I think he was wise. Barak means “lightning”! Lightning is different from a “flame” or a “bee” but extremely powerful.

“Yet, not a shield or spear could be seen among
forty thousand warriors in Israel!”
Judges 5:8

Deborah’s word from God was so powerful that 10,000 warriors without weapons gathered to engage a vicious enemy! “If God is for us, who can be against us?” It takes a man of audacious faith and courage to head out into battle without a weapon in hand!

Israel had one weapon! The word of the LORD, through Deborah!

I will go, but only if you go with me.”
Judges 4:8

Deborah neither pinpointed Barak’s response as weakness, nor did she ridicule, nag, command or manipulate. Deborah prophesied that the glory of victory would be shared with woman – accolades Barak was willing to share. Together they became a fearless force drawing from each other’s strengths.

God’s choice of a man to partner with Deborah for military victory was no accident. Barak

  • did not covet personal glory
  • held no prejudice or gender bias
  • desired God’s continued word and presence to guide him
  • determined to stay under spiritual cover

Know Your Position

God’s voice spoke through Deborah,

Get ready! This is the day
the LORD will give you victory over Sisera,
for the LORD is marching ahead of you.”
Judges 4:14

This is the day! It is birthing time! She convinced Barak to fix his eyes on the LORD. Victory would come through God’s intervention alone. Barak needed only to muster his small army of 10,000 foot soldiers and obey.

Sisera and 900 chariots

The Canaanite came like a flood, 900 chariots strong. But God! God had a flood of His own!

LORD, when you set out
and marched across the fields…
the earth trembled, and the cloudy skies poured down rain.
The mountains quaked in the presence of the LORD….
The stars fought from heaven,
The stars in their orbits fought against Sisera.
The Kishon River swept them away –
that ancient torrent, the Kishon.”
Judges 4:4, 5, 20, 21

Flash flood and overflowing river? Chariots immobilized!

Shared the Victory

Deborah partnered with Barak on the battlefield; then they sing the only recorded biblical duet. Deborah was already known for her songs of worship; Barak joined her triumphant chorus.

“On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song.”
Judges 5:1

No other woman in the bible exemplifies honouring God and others like this woman! Deborah willingly acknowledges those strategic in battle:

  • the LORD (5:2-6, 9, 11,20-21)
  • Barak (5:12,15)
  • Israels’ leaders and commanders (5:1, 9)
  • the people who fought, especially from Zebulun and Issachar (5:1,9,13,14,18)
  • Jael (5:24-27)

As a godly leader, she built up her team, commending the brave and inspiring them to further greatness. Deborah’s anointed leadership brought forty years of peace for Israel.

Together, Deborah and Barak present a profound illustration of the synergy available when men and women work together. They demonstrate the essence of honour, bridging genders and uniting spiritual, political and military strength.

Arise! Wake up and step into your anointing! Lock arms in victory! Together we will be undefeated in Christ, and when we do revival may just be around the corner….

Rise up, O LORD, in all your power
with music and singing
we celebrate your mighty acts.”
Psalm 21:13

But there is one more piece! Without it victory will never be complete!

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More Reading:

Wake Up Deborah! Part 1 – Take Your Position

Do it Again Lord! Renew! Restore! Revive!

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Wake Up Deborah! Part 1 – Take Your Position

Wake Up! Take your Position!

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.

Deborah Sat

She would sit under the Palm of Deborah
between Ramah and Bethel”
Judges 4:5

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.

The Palm of Deborah positoned between self-promotion and self-protection.

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!

Chose the place between self-promotion and self-protection! Resist the compulsion to do either. Click To Tweet

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!

Double Fruitfulness

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.”
Matthew 13:23

Position in double fruitfulness

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 chosing:

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.”
Psalm 92:14

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.”
Psalm 92:12

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!

The rugged hard bark of a palm tree.

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 it’s truck permanently scarred by fallen leaves – each scar a visual reminder of those who had fallen into idolatry.

A palm trunk scarred by fallen leaves.

“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.”
Judges 4:3

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…”
Judges 4:6

Out of Naphtali, “haven, habitation”, and Zebulun, “obtained by wrestling (in prayer)” warriors were called out, “Arise!”

Smaller palms flourish at the base of the parent palm.

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….)

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Resources

Further Reading: The Lord is my Helper! “I Will Help You!”

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