Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Isaiah 3:12 and the Judgeship of Deborah


"As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them."        - Isaiah 3:12 ASV

In Judges, chapter 4, we have the story of Deborah, the only female judge of Israel. In verse 4, she is described as a prophetess and judge, so she is both the political and religious leader of Israel (though I assume there was still a high priest). Believing as I do that both of these offices are parts of God's calling for men, not women (I Timothy 2:12), I was pondering this evening what the significance is of her holding these offices.

Note further in Judges 4:7, where she has delivered God's commandment to Barak, the chief general of Israel, to go out to battle against the oppressors of Israel. His response in the next verse is telling: "If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go." It is as if he said that he needs her to hold his hand, so he won't be afraid of the bogeyman. Deborah bluntly tells him in verse 9 that the glory for the victory will go to a woman. Even Sisera, the enemy general, turns out to be a wimp. Verse 20 reads, "And he said to her, 'Stand at the opening of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, 'Is anyone here?' say, 'No.'" He sends a woman out to guard him as he sleeps!

I think that we have here a disparaging view of the spiritual condition of Israel. Her men had been so feminized and spiritually-castrated that there was no man for God to call into leadership (humanly-speaking; I certainly would never say that God cannot graciously raise a man above his natural ability). Do we not see that condition developing in our own country? I see more and more female preachers on TV. My home state has a female governor. Our federal secretary of state is a woman. The previous speaker of the US House was a woman. Will we soon see our own Deborah?

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