Speaking of Female Judges

With all the talk about President Obama's recent Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, I thought we'd just go with the whole female judge thing here today on Trailblazer Tuesday. The media is touting Kagan as a sort of trailblazer - the first female dean of the Harvard Law School and the first female U.S. Solicitor General. While that may be impressive to some, I'm more impressed with our biblical trailblazer, Deborah.

Deborah's story can be found in Judges 4 and 5. Since the nation is all abuzz with the talk of a third female sitting on our current Supreme Court, now might be a good time to read up on Deborah. She is identified in Judges 4:4 as "a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, ...judging Israel at that time." Funny how our liberal government likes to toot its own horn for being so open-minded, progressive and inclusive as to seat females on the highest court in the land. God put Deborah on the judge's seat for Israel thousands of years ago and doesn't seem to have even batted His holy eye at it. She was simply the one for the job, enough said.

And it was no easy job. She was called to judge a nation in rapid moral decline. Umm, sounds familiar. God's people had begun a steady downward spiral since entering the land of promise under Joshua's command. While they set up house and settled into their new land with integrity and godly obedience under Joshua's watchful eye, their allegiance to God quickly faded once their hero was dead. They began a cycle of behavior that is notated throughout the book of Judges and explains at least part of their eventual demise.

The people would do what was right in their own eyes, but what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He would allow one of the nations the Israelites had failed to eliminate from the land to oppress His chosen people. The Phillistines, the Midianites, the Hivites, or some other ites would oppress Israel for some number of years, until finally God's people would yell "uncle!" Actually they would cry out to the Lord, He would raise up a judge who would deliver them - either through their bravery or their wisdom - and once again the people of Israel would thrive. For a while. As long as the judge lived and ruled. But as soon as God's judge would die, the people would return to their old ways. In fact, Judges 2:19 says they would act even more corruptly than the previous generation. Doesn't this all sound so familiar, so current?

Deborah was one of those judges, one of those people chosen by God to keep things on the up and up. Like I said, I hope you'll read her story in Judges 4 and 5 because I'm not going to go into all the details. Judges is one of those very readable books in the Bible. It reads like a good novel, full of ups and downs, intrigue, mayhem, and heroism.

So take the time to read Deborah's account. You'll find a strong woman, a reticent hero, a strange prediction, another brave and wiley woman, a gruesome but effective murder, and a song of celebration. You'll quickly forget the name of the hesitant warrior (well maybe not, since it's our current president's name as well), but you'll remember two strong women forever.

Yes, I'll let you read the story for yourself, but I'll tell you my take-home points on Deborah, today's trailblazer.
And here are three delightful nuggets we gain from Deborah and Barak's song in Judges 5:
 Wow, I don't usually like to write such long posts. (Stop snickering! That's not nice....) But I've been watching the media highlight one strong woman on the news for the past two days and felt like I should give equal time to one of God's strong females. There's nothing wrong with being a strong woman. I do think there are some parameter's for our strength as detailed in God's Word, but I know God is not offended by strength in women as long as that strength is godly. And I think Deborah, wife of Lappidoth, judge of Israel, is a great example of a strong woman.

So, with this in mind, go and be strong in the Lord today!