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I Am Unqualified


Deborah is one of the more under valued characters in the Old Testament, I believe, for a couple of reasons. For one, her story comprises a small section compared to the extensive coverage of characters like Joseph, Moses and David. The other issue, of course, is that Deborah is a woman, and many traditions don’t know exactly what to do with her.

The Book of Judges describes her as carrying dual offices. She was a prophet, whose responsibility was to receive and communicate direct revelation from God, and she was a judge, called upon to arbitrate disputes. Even with those offices she seems an unlikely and unqualified person to fulfill the task at hand.

What task? That requires a bit of background. In Judges chapter 4 we find that Israel had once again done evil in the eyes of the Lord and had been turned over to the tyrannical rule of a Canaanite king named Jabin. King Jabin’s commander was a rude dude named Sisera who in turn ruthlessly oppressed Israel. And predictably, Israel once again cried out to God for help.

No leader from Israel would stand up to the oppression. God spoke to Deborah and shared his promise of deliverance. When Deborah transmitted the message to Barak, he refused to go without her. She agreed to go, but with the clear understanding that “You (Barak) will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman” (Judges 4:9). Yes, Deborah was a woman, but she also lacked any kind of military background or experience. Since Israel had no centralized government, she didn’t possess any form of commission from a formal leader. Not to mention, but four of the tribes of Israel refused to respond to the call to arms. Ultimately, she didn’t permit any of these things to stand in her way because she valued to calling and the promises of God more than anything else.

Deborah causes me to wonder and think about the God given opportunities that I have passed on because I have done the quick math of self assessment and considered myself “unqualified.” At the end of it all, God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

Categories : Jars of Clay

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