Living in the war-torn ancient near eastern lands was brutal. The daily life of an individual was undoubtedly harder than we have it today. Uprisings and skirmishes between kingdoms and tribes were common. God allowed these opponents of Israel to come against them when they failed to follow Him. It was a way of disciplining them and centering their focus on God. God would not leave them in oppression, as He would raise up a judge to deliver Israel and to lead them back to Him. Deborah, a prophetess, was one of these judges.
Read Judges 4:1-5:31
Surprisingly, in the ancient near eastern cultures, women were valued in society. In fact, a majority of cultures did not respect a woman at all. However, this is one of the significant changes that God would work through Israel and the Church. Men and women are both created in the image of God and are of the highest value (Galatians 3:26-29). This passage highlights two powerful women, Deborah and Jael. Later in the Old Testament, we will find two books named after women and regarded as Holy Scripture. Israel’s treatment of women was counter-cultural for its day, and the Church’s inclusion of women caused greater changes within Roman culture.
Deborah’s song is recorded in Scripture, giving God thanks and praise. It also serves to teach the people of Israel to continue their obedience to God. Music is incredibly important in the Church? Why? For those two reason mentioned. First, music is a fantastic expression of our heartfelt worship before God. When we have trouble speaking our thoughts toward God, many times we are able to sing them. Singing and music-making before God is a thread throughout Scripture. The second reason is we can teach through song. This is perhaps one of the greatest strengths of hymns, as they provide a structure that works with teaching doctrine. I can’t remember who said it, but it is good to share, “every good theology needs to be accompanied with good hymnology.”