September 23, 2014

Deborah & Jael     (Judges 4-5)

I love these two women!  These women lived in a time of spiritual & national disunity and decay in Israel.  Sound familiar?? I think so. At this time in the Old Testament God would call up heroic spiritual leaders, called Judges, to save the people.

We also live in a troubled world today and I believe we have been called up to be heroic spiritual leaders. I believe we are here NOW purposefully and specifically because the Lord NEEDS strong Spiritual Leaders – who are WOMEN! Let’s look at these two remarkable women.

Deborah is given 3 titles:
1. Judge:  These judges were selected because for their wisdom, their Leadership abilities, and because of their trust in God.
LESSON: As mothers, wives and women today do we need these same “Judge”-like qualities.

2. Prophetess:  Women can receive personal revelation and inspiration for their families.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie “Where spiritual things are concerned, as pertaining to all the gifts of the Spirit, with reference to the receipt of revelation, the gaining of testimonies, and the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness and which are brought to pass as a result of personal righteousness in all these things men and women stand in a position of absolute equality before the LORD. He is no respecter of persons, nor of sexes, and he blesses those men and those women who seek him and serve him and keep his commandments.” (Ensign, Jan 1979- he so declared in Nauvoo at the dedication of the Monument to Women)

Deborah prophesied and testified that God had not forgotten His people and He would bring them victory over the Canaanites. (Judges 4:14) As modern day “prophetesses” for our own families, we can do the same.
3. Mother in Israel:  (5:7) It is Interesting to note that nowhere does it say Deborah had children. So how can she claim to be a “Mother in Israel” if she has no children?  She selected this name-title for herself in response to her efforts in saving her people from their enemies.
Deborah: nurtured, protected, taught and inspired her people. Our duties and possibilities as mothers, as WOMEN is more than cleaning, cooking & laundry!
Our duties and possibilities as mothers, as WOMEN is to lead one’s charges to the source of salvation! Whoever our charges might be: our own children, siblings, sisters at church, nieces & nephews etc…

Sheri Dew said “Motherhood is more than bearing children… It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us. We are all Mothers in Israel, and our calling is to love and help lead the rising generation through the dangerous streets of mortality… If we really want to make a difference, it will happen as we mother those we have borne and those we are willing to bear with us.” (General Conference, Oct 2001)

One of those whom Deborah inspired and led was Barak. Remember, at this time the Israelites were being attacked by Canaanites. She REMINDED Barak, the military leader, of the command he already had from the Lord. (4:6-9) She REMINDED him that the LORD would deliver and make it all possible.

What was Barak’s response? He would go but he wanted Deborah to go with him. (Some Jewish tradition holds that perhaps Barak was actually Deborah’s husband)
We learn a sweet & valuable Lesson from this small part of the story: As Spiritual women of God we can and should have a good influence on our husbands, brothers, fatherspriesthood leaders in helping them fulfill their assignments and reach their potential.

Now comes…  Jael
While Deborah & Barak were defeating the Canaanite army the ruthless leader Sisera, who had terrorized Israel for 20 some years, escaped. He ran and arrived at Jael’s tent exhausted and beaten from the battle and from taking flight. He demanded Jael feed him & hide him. She proceeded to give him fermented goats milk. (I drank fermented horses milk in Mongolia. It is NOT good! But it was common among ancients and it does act as a sedative) Sisera was soon sound asleep. Jael grabbed the tent nail and drove it through Sisera’s skull! Ouch!
Now, we will likely never be called upon to do something as EXTREME as Jael.
But anyone who aspires to be a heroic Spiritual Woman can learn from her example.

1. Jael recognized an opportunity when she saw it.  The Lord equips and prepares us to serve him. She recognized that God put her in the right place at the right time & she went to action. Are we so living that we recognize those opportunities to serve and protect our families?

2. Jael acted courageously in the face of danger. Sisera was a desperate, dangerous man – killing was his job! Truly most people, and surely a woman, would have been absolutely terrified by Sisera’s intrusion. Imagine a dirty, sweaty, bloody, ruthless military leader in YOUR TENT! Yet, nowhere in the text does it suggest the Jael was frightened. Where does such courage come from?  God alone.

Nephi’s promise to the faithful is that the lord will “make them MIGHTY even unto the POWER of deliverance.” (1 Nephi 1:20)

Do we, as women in 2014, need that mighty power?? Do you hope for it? Do you live for it?
 3. Jael acted decisively.  She didn’t ask for help. She didn’t leave the job to someone more experienced or better suited. SHE TOOK ACTION! She truly is the David & Goliath for women! Jael grabbed the only weapons she could find and took down a monstrously intimidating foe! She didn’t say “Oh, well, I’ll be right back. I’m going to run to Walmart and get some better weapons.”  OR  “I’m going to go get Sister Jones. She’s much braver than I am!” And she certainly did not say “Well, I don’t want to offend him so I’ll let him stay”!!!  No! She took action and did what she needed to do with the best she had: IF that doesn’t describe the life of a mother – a woman – I don’t know what does!

Jael is a powerful example for us when the “enemy” invades our homes and/or families.
*Don’t allow it to linger  *Don’t mess around!  *Get rid of it immediately *Act decisively!!

Lesson: The Lord qualifies those he calls. Whatever he calls/asks us to do.

Be Jael: don’t be afraid and God WILL make you MIGHTY! 

I LOVE these two women! Separated by thousands of years and thousands of miles we can learn from them how to be strong, faithful & courageous. They are amazing...

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