Matters of Faith: An Unusual Leader!

Judges 4:4-5
“Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading[a] Israel at that time. 5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.”

For the first Sunday of Women’s History Month, I salute an unusual and great woman of God, who is one of the most fascinating characters in the Bible. Deborah was not only an unusual leader, she was also a judge and prophetess. Deborah held court under the Palm of Deborah somewhere between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim. Deborah is noted to be the fourth, but the greatest of Israel’s judges because she was more than a judge; she was also a prophetess and a leader with an extraordinary anointing from God.

This remarkable woman, like the judges who preceded her, was primarily a divinely appointed deliverer and an executive leader of Israel. So when the Children of Israel cried unto the Lord when their 20 years of cruel oppression under King Jabin II of Canaan became unbearable, Deborah acted in her leadership and prophetic roles, paying a visit to Barak, the commander of the Israelite army. She relayed to him the Lord’s charge to gather ten thousand men of war from Naphtali and Zebulon and lead them to Mt. Tabor. She told him that it would be at Mt. Tabor that the Lord would deliver Sisera, the powerful commander of the army of the King of Canaan, into his hands.

Barak consented to go to the battle, but only if Deborah would go with him. Deborah agreed, but warned Barak that his lack of faith in the Lord would result in Sisera being defeated by a woman. Deborah, Barak, and those ten thousand men went to Mt. Tabor where Sisera gathered with his nine hundred iron chariots and his men. At Deborah’s command, Barak and the ten thousand men advanced while the Lord totally defeated the army of Sisera, who himself fled on foot.

Sisera found himself at the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber, Moses’ brother-in-law. Sisera thought he found a place of refuge, but it turned out to be the place where Deborah’s prophecy would be fulfilled. Sisera was slain by the hand of Jael, a woman.

There are many judges, prophets, and leaders in the Bible, but none as unusual as Deborah. This woman of God not only delivered her people from the cruel oppression of Canaanites, but she did it by uniting a nation that had been incapable of engaging any type of unified battle. She summoned them to come together in the name of the Lord. Deborah was an unusual leader with an exceptional anointing.

In some ways, Deborah broke through the glass ceiling. Today, women are in leadership in every sector of society, even in the church. They are pastoring and ministering, preaching and teaching. and bringing people to Christ as never before. Their anointing and capabilities are as evident and transformative as those in Deborah. The Lord also used Jael in a mighty way. Let us salute our powerful and passionate sisters who are revolutionizing the world in whatever capacity they serve in the name of Jesus.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook LIVE and author of Matters of Faith: The Book (eBook available at

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