Week 4 – Deborah
In Judges 4 we pick up shortly after Joshua’s death. Joshua was the primary leader of Israel after Moses, who helped Israel drive out the Canaanites from the Promised Land. Unfortunately Israel didn’t drive out all the Canaanites, as God had commanded, and after Joshua’s death Judges 2:7 concludes rather disturbingly, “The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua,” hinting at bad things to come after Joshua’s days were over. The eventual downward spiral of Israel is described in Judges 2:16-23 and explained in the Bible Project video included here.
Into Israel’s downward spiral of disobedience God called forth judges like Deborah to lead the people. These judges were more like tribal chieftains than the folks in black robes we know today. Some of Israel’s judges were awful leaders and made things worse; others, like Deborah, helped lead the people in faithfulness. Deborah was the most praiseworthy of all the judges, and when we read Judges 4 we see she was a fierce woman. You can tell by the way she talked with Barak in Judges 4 that she didn’t play around. Being a prophetess, she knew that the Lord had called Barak to go up and fight the Canaanites, helping fulfill the mission originally given to Israel under Moses and Joshua. So she told Barak to go do what he was called to do, and when Barak whined about it, she agreed to go with him to battle. Deborah knew full well that God would deliver them, so she set forth to help God’s people fulfill God’s mission.
The Bible Project: Judges
Check out this video to learn more about the time period of Deborah (0:00-3:15).
Questions for Discussion
• Let’s look at Judges 2:11-19.
• What pattern is going on in Israel during this time period?
• Why do you think God sent judges to help Israel, even when they repeatedly didn’t listen to them?
• Could someone read Judges 4:1-10?
• What do you think Deborah and Barak’s motivations were in their conversation? (verses 6-9)
• In what ways was the Lord with Deborah here? What do you think was God’s purpose for Deborah?
• How can Deborah’s story help us understand the calling God gives his followers?