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Deborah's Gospel Lesson
7/21 Reading Portions: Judg 4; Acts 8; Jer 17; Mark 3
“… the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Judges 4:9
Some “Christian” denominations appeal to Deborah when they want to justify their position in ordaining women to the office of elder or deacon within the church, as well as to the pastoral ministry. Bible students and scholars get so caught up in the issue that they forget that this text, like any other, must be interpreted through the lens of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Practical instructions for the church exist because they model the gospel. The roles of husbands to wives, and vice versa, exist because they model the gospel of Christ, who gave His life for His beloved bride, the church (Eph 5:23-32). Women are not to usurp the authority of men within church polity (1 Tim 2:11) because it would be akin to suggesting that the church tells Jesus what to do rather than the other way around. So how does this inform our understanding concerning Deborah’s situation with Barak? I’m so glad you asked!
Joshua, leading Israel into the Promised Land, was a prophetic type of Jesus Christ leading His redeemed into God’s promise of salvation. Now settled in the land, yet still facing worldly idolaters, Deborah represents a prophetic type of the church (viz. our interpretive base from Eph 5). As the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone” (Eph 2:20), Barak receives instruction from Deborah for fighting Israel’s enemies, just as individual saints receive instruction in the church to fight the corruptions of flesh which still remains in our mortal members (Col 3:5). Barak broke the gospel model by asking Deborah to go with him. He was shamed and received no glory, just as Moses could not enter the land for likewise breaking the gospel model (Num 20:12; 1 Cor 10:4).
Woe to the one who trusts in man,
Seeking pow’r from his flesh;
His faith will fail, he will not stand,
Neither will he be blest.
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