Deborah - We All Need a Battle Partner
When I was a young Christian woman, I hardly went a day without listening to Elisabeth Elliot on her Gateway to Joy radio ministry. I received much needed comfort from her life experience and wise counsel. She was a lifeline for me in the early years of my marriage while I was raising small children.
The life story of Elisabeth Elliot and her first husband, Jim Elliot, is an amazing one. They were partners in the Ecuadorian mission field until his martyrdom there in 1956. Elisabeth Elliot was a strong, faithful, and like-minded partner for Jim Elliot in a difficult and hostile environment. After his death, she continued on with their work, ministering to the very tribe responsible for killing her husband. Now in her eighties, her books and radio ministry have been a source of teaching for millions. Elisabeth Elliot is a remarkable woman. Her story is a reminder of just how much women need the inspiration and example of other women who are brave, fearless and strong in the faith.
It’s invigorating to look at the record of such women in Scripture. One example can be found in Deborah, the woman God appointed as judge over Israel in Judges 4. She was unique and rare in patriarchal Israel. Her time as judge occurs after Ehud’s death in Judges 3, and Israel has once again fallen into sin and disobedience. A wicked Canaanite king, Jabin and his military leader, Sisera, are ruling the Israelites. Deborah calls forth her own military commander, Barak, and reminds him that the Lord God of Israel has called him to action.
“She summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, 'Hasn’t the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you: ‘Go, deploy the troops on Mount Tabor, and take with you 10,000 men from the Naphtalites and Zebulunites?'" (Judges 4:6, HCSB)
Barak’s response speaks volumes, about himself, the gravity of the situation and just how much he valued Deborah’s leadership.
“Barak said to her, 'If you will go with me, I will go. But if you will not go with me, I will not go.”” (Judges 4:8, HCSB)
Clearly, Deborah inspired confidence in Barak, and he trusted her judgment. Her relationship with God made her a decisive, wise and fair judge over God’s people. She was a prophetess, so Barak knew that God spoke to her and through her. He wisely wanted her right by his side because he knew she was an indispensable battle partner. So much so, that he didn’t care about his own honor!
“'I will go with you,' she said, 'but you will receive no honor on the road you are about to take, because the Lord will sell Sisera into a woman’s hand.' So Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh.” (Judges 4:9, HCSB)
The picture presented in the passage is of a woman judge whose relationship with God was so palatable that her presence was highly valued. She was a battle partner in every sense of the word.
Everyone needs a battle partner. Are you a Deborah for those in your sphere of influence? Do you have a Deborah in your own life? Someone whose relationship with God is so solid that their counsel inspires complete confidence? Do you have someone in whom your trust is unwavering and whose prayers for you are mighty and powerful?
My friends, there is nothing more valuable in our relationship with others than the strength of our own relationship with Christ.
“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian. But the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
Written by Shirley Ralston
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