Note: I wrote this for a Spring Retreat in 2006. As scary as it was, I actually went up infront of people and said this, in some way or another... Just felt like uploading it.

Not to Ourselves, but to God

The woman that God has given me to speak about is one that until recently, I had never heard or read about. She was a woman who had many talents. She was a military leader, prophet, judge and poet. God called her to His purpose during yet another time when Israel had fallen away and turned to evil. As a punishment, God had sold his people to Jabin, a king of Canaan who reigned in Hazor with the commander of his army, Sisera. Under the rule of these men, Israel was cruelly oppressed for 20 years. But God did not forget his people. He called the wife of Lappidoth, a woman with a fiery spirit, to throw off Israel's yoke of bondage. He called the multi-talented Deborah.

She was an inspiring woman, who possessed a great deal of wisdom. People came from far and wide to seek her guidance. She would sit beneath a large palm tree, known as the Palm of Deborah. There people would come to her and seek her wisdom on how to settle their disputes. Yet not only was she wise, but obediant. God spoke to her, telling her to summon Barak and to order him to take the 10,000 men of Zebulun and Naphtali, and lead them to Mount Tabor. There the army would receive victory over Jabin's men. Barak was afraid and would not go on his own. He would go only if she would. Now, many women in today's society would perhaps have focused on themselves and sought the reason behind why Barak wanted her to come, but instead, Deborah's focus remained on God's plan. Like a prophet, she was able to understand and therefore relay God's command. She spoke of God's displeasure in this request of Barak, and in turn agreed to go with the warning that the victory over killing Sisera would not go to Barak, but to a woman. Under Deborah's command, the Hebrew army swept down upon Sisera's army, and gained a great victory, destroying essentially all of the Canaanitish army. Sisera, as Deborah had prophetized, escaped and was killed by Jael, a woman of a nearby clan.

I believe that through Deborah, God is trying to teach women, or at least me, that a true godly woman leads men to God, not to herself. Many women of this world use their bodies in deceptive and impure ways, to draw men to them. True women of God do not choose to draw men to themselves. They seek to please God. In turn, they encourage men and turn their focus on God. Deborah illustrates this in her encouragement of Barak. For some reason, Barak was afraid to go and follow God's orders on his own. Deborah embraced Barak's weakness and encouraged him to do as God had asked. Her focus was entirely on God. In no way she did shame Barak for not wanting to go alone. She embraced him as God would have, even speaking of the punishment for his disobediance. Deborah did not seek to please Barak, even though she did go with him, but her desire was to please God. He told her to go, thus she did. He told her to tell Barak of his punishment, thus she did. Her entire focus was on God's plan. God wanted her to lead Israel to victory, and thus be an example of a true godly woman. Women of today, even Christian women, often struggle with this. They get all dressed up, all beautiful, to attract men. But God doesn't want that. Yes, I do believe he wants us to look beautiful, for He designed us to be this way, but he wants us to be beautiful for Him, not men. This is the lesson God wants to teach me through Deborah. To stop focusing on finding a boyfriend, and instead focus on God. God has given women the ability to draw men to them, but the world has changed the original purpose of this ability. I believe that God gave us this ability, so that He could raise up many men as His children. He wants to use women, to use you and I, to bring men to Him. But we need to stop trying to bring the focus onto ourselves rather than God. Deborah was a beautiful poet, and in Judges 5, she wrote a poem about the victory over Sisera's army. Let us be like Deborah, let us write poetry, sing, dress and beautify ourselves, in a way that draws men, but draws them to God. Our Father has given us these gifts, and let us remember what the purpose of these gifts are; to bring men to God. God is calling all of us to be His daughters, to be His women... and in turn be used for His purposes, but we need to stop being selfish and instead allow God to live through us. God wants to raise up followers, use your gifts, women, in the way God wants you to; to bring men to Him.