Women are often considered to be great ‘multi taskers’. “Woman's brain has a larger corpus callosum, the space between right and left hemispheres of the brain”,” Woman’s brain has more dendritic connections between brain cells than man’s” : The explanations by science go on like this…But I believe, that’s because God envisioned her to be like that! You want evidence??? Well, there are many... Do you think you want a stronger proof than Proverbs Chapter 31? Look at the description of a noble woman there - She gets up early in the morning, when it is still dark...She takes care of her husband, children, servants and animals, well...Her husband is respected because of her and he has full confidence in her... She does trading in a very profitable manner...She speaks with wisdom and gives out wise instruction and decisions...She even foresees winter and makes scarlet clothes for her family...Single-handedly, how many tasks she manages at the same time! And what’s the secret of her success as a great multi-tasker and manager here? It’s nothing other than her fear of or in other words, her complete dependence on God the Almighty.
But frankly, I have often wondered, “Is this really possible by a woman?” And the life of Deborah tells me “Yes!”
The character study of Deborah left me completely enthralled and inspired! She single-handedly handled four major roles, loaded with heavy responsibilities- Wife, Prophetess, Judge and Military leader. Just one of these is huge enough to make your life the busiest in the world! But Deborah maintained a perfect balance among all these God-given roles of her life- not a bit more and not a bit less than what each role required...As her name suggests (Deborah = Bee) she was just like a honey bee. She had all the three main attributes that a honey bee stands for -zeal, perseverance and patience.
How was Deborah- just an ordinary woman like us –able to do such wonderful and awesome things in her life? There are lots to say about this: But I would like to list out just a few things which seemed very striking to me.
First and foremost is her highest degree of faith and dependence on God. The age we are talking about here, is one where even the strong men among the people (Israel) were afraid of going and fighting with the enemies, in spite of the severe oppression they suffered under them. And their fear can’t be ruled out as senseless, because we read the commander of the enemy himself had nine hundred iron chariots and he persecuted the Israelites for twenty consecutive years (Judges Chapter 4). It is in this context that Deborah, a mere woman as we think, is showing the eye-popping courage to go out and fight this great army! How could she do that? Because she clearly knew, “It is God who told me that He has given the enemy into our hands and if He said so, it is done whatever be the odds against it...”That was her confidence and reliance on God. This is evident in her assurance to Barak. “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?”
Secondly, she realized that every single role she plays in her life is assigned by God Himself and that it is equally important before Him. So she was faithful and maintained a perfect balance among all spheres of her life. She was the best with regard to family, spiritual, professional, social, physical and intellectual aspects of her life. How do we know? The Scripture doesn’t say much about her family life; but one thing we can boldly say, she never neglected her family life on account of her other roles. She was a good wife...She took care of her family well, and probably with the support from her husband and other members of the family. (Otherwise, I believe, the Spirit of God would have definitely mentioned the mess she created in her family in the name of the other heavy responsibilities she took on her shoulders, as a warning for us- the women of today!)Her second role characterizes her spiritual life. She was a prophetess. We read the attributes and requirements of a prophet or prophetess in various portions in the Bible. There are many, but the most important one among them is that a prophet is or should be one who spends time with God and in His presence, listens from Him, talks to Him and conveys to the people what God has to tell them. So Deborah, being a prophetess, was definitely a person who spends time with her God in spite of all the busyness of her life. This speaks volumes about the well being of her spiritual life. Her third role - Judge, though it’s more of a spiritual kind, I would like to consider this as her profession. She was an excellent judge. She used to settle disputes among the people, spelling out decisions with the wisdom she acquired from God. Her fourth role, in a way refers to the social aspect of her life. Her concern and burden for the society she lives in and her people is clearly evident here. And God saw this care and when the time came, He raised her to the position of a military leader, to guide her people against the enemy successfully. And there are a few minute things (as we think of them usually, but actually very important) to be noticed here. Physically also, she was fit. How many of us can even think of climbing up and down mountains, in pursuit of a large army? This thought makes me assume that Deborah took good care of her physical health also…And is there any mention about her intellect and knowledge about the world she lives in? The citation that the whole Israelites went to ask decisions from her, as well as the wonderful song sung (written) by Deborah with Abinoam mentioned in Judges Chapter 5, which is full of masterly figures of speech and connotations are enough to state about her intellect and the awareness she had about the happenings around her. Her remarks in the song about the events in the history of various Israelite tribes strengthen this supposition.
Deborah knew that each and every role she has to play in her life- be it a wife, a judge, a military leader or a writer- was assigned to her by God .So she took good care of every gift He gave her and faithfully and wonderfully accomplished all her tasks. So she was used for His glory, just like Joseph, Daniel and many others.
Thirdly, she was raised by God. Or in other words, it was not she who raised herself, thinking,” I have got all these wonderful talents!” It was God himself who instructed her in every way and she didn’t do anything which God didn’t ask her to do and she did whatever God asked her to do. I like to think in this manner- At first, Deborah might have been just a wife; May be because of her faithfulness in that role and her closeness to God, He might have raised her as a prophetess, gifting her with the power of prophecy; Her faithful use of this gift would have made her known and accepted among the people and thus God upgraded her as a judge who gives out wise decisions for His people; And finally her faithful service as a judge could have made God step up her to the position of even a military leader! The fact that she didn’t seek out position for herself doesn’t suggest that she kept on waiting her whole lifetime for her chance to come, which is a common mistake we all do; Instead, she was prepared and eager to take up the chance whenever God gave her an opportunity.
Let Deborah inspire each one of us to utilize the multi tasking capabilities that God has put in us, to the fullest, by clinging onto Him and making use of each and every opportunity He gives us…Remember, God’s work will be done anyway, through you, me or anyone else…But my life is the only one chance I get, for me to be the means for it!
Soumya Bob Philip