I will give you victory: Judges 4.1–24 (20 July 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Judges 4

The Bible often surprises us. While the right of women to be able to serve as leaders on equal terms with men has been fiercely fought for in our own times, in Judges 4 it is just assumed – and this at a time when we tend to think men were in charge. Deborah was a prophet called by God to be a judge; she used to 'sit under a certain palm tree' and 'the people of Israel would go there for her decisions' (verse 5). What counted was not her gender but her calling. Barak, the people's war leader, thinks so highly of her that he refuses to go out to battle unless she goes with him (verse 8). The death-blow to the Canaanite general Sisera is struck by another woman, Jael (21).

We shouldn't imagine, though, that this is all about 'rights'; that's a different sort of discourse. The point of the story is that God chooses whomever he wishes to accomplish his purposes, and equips them accordingly – with wisdom and authority in Deborah's case, or courage and a tent peg in Jael's. Of course their stories speak into the wider conversations about gender that some parts of the Church are still having today, but above all, this is God's victory. A cruel and oppressive enemy is vanquished by people who have listened to the voice of his prophet and found the courage to act. Without him they could have done nothing. With him, anyone can do anything.

Pray

Pray

God, thank you for calling and equipping women and men to serve you. Help me to hear your voice and respond to your call; to follow your leaders, and to have the courage to act.

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