Week of Monday, May 2 – Sunday, May 8
Warrior Women – Man as Defender
“In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned, and travelers kept to the byways. 7 The villagers ceased in Israel; they ceased to be until I arose;  I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.”
– Judges 5:6-7 ESV
Abraham Lincoln reportedly said: “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” Law partner William Herndon reported these words of Lincoln about his mother: “God bless my mother; all that I am or ever hope to be I owe to her.”[1] I resonate with those statements by Lincoln. My mother was an amazing prayer warrior. In the Spirit, she sensed when I was in a tight spot and interceded for me. In later conversation with her, what she sensed was confirmed by what I was experiencing in the military. I truly believe I am alive today largely because of my mother who waged war in the heavenlies on my behalf. My mother had a close walk with God that I am still striving to reach. 
 Deborah was also a woman who had a close walk with God as a Judge in Israel. Judges 4:5 says, “She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment.” Deborah was not only a spirit-empowered Judge in Israel, but she is also described as a prophetess, which means she clearly heard the voice of the Lord and communicated His word to the people. Deborah was a woman of great wisdom, discernment, and revelation from the Lord.
Deborah led during a challenging time because Israel was being oppressed by King Jabin and his Canaanite armies, commanded by a general named Sisera. As a result, the people of Israel “cried out to the Lord for help, for he had 900 chariots of iron and he oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for twenty years” (4:3). Believe it or not, the biggest problem for Deborah was not so much this formidable Canaanite enemy with all their advanced weaponry, it was actually having to deal with limp-wristed, weak Israelite men, namely Barak, the commander of Israel’s armies, who needed to step forward as a Defender.

She called in Barak and reminded him of what God had ordered him to do: “Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?” (4:6b-7). But timid Barak said he would only go if Deborah went with him (v. 8). Deborah agreed, but because of his hesitation, she told Barak the glory of victory would not go to him, because the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman (v. 9). 
When Barak and the Israelite forces finally advanced, the Lord routed Sisera’s army, and Sisera was forced to flee on foot. In the providence of God, Sisera sought refuge in the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber, because there was a Canaanite alliance with Heber’s family. But once the Sisera let his guard down and slept from exhaustion, this bold woman took a tent peg and drove it through his temple. Deborah prophetically proclaimed: “Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed” (5:24). Jael was another brave warrior woman who was invaluable to achieving victory over the enemy. The Israelites fought against King Jabin until they destroyed him. Deborah and Barak sang a song of praise, and Israel had peace for 40 years.
When the men of Israel were apparently too discouraged to lead, the Lord chose a woman named Deborah. It bears repeating that no one in Israel would fight until Deborah “arose” (5:7). If she had not acted on what the Lord told her to do, nothing would have changed. Deborah was a remarkable woman—judge, prophetess, intercessor—but she chose to call herself a mother (5:7). Don’t miss that, guys. Of all the lofty titles, she was first and foremost a mother. God bless all the mothers and especially the warrior women in our lives! 
As you read this story about Deborah as a leader, have you ever noticed that in the average church, women are the majority of attenders, workers, and often the leaders? How should that motivate you as a man?
What can you do to bless the warrior women in your life, especially on Mother’s Day?
Ask God to help you step forward into voids of leadership, especially when a Defender is needed.

  [1] William Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, Herndon's Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life: The History And Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, (Chicago: Belford, Clarke & Company, 1889), 4.