Download PDF



Women Take the Lead

Judges 4; 5; Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 545


The Message

We respect leaders God has placed in authority.

Memory Verse

“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:17).

Have you any special jobs you do at home? Does your mom or dad ask you to do things? God has special work for each of us. Let’s discover more about one person to whom God gave a special work.


God gave Deborah a special responsibility— to lead Israel. It was hard work! The people did not obey God. They worshipped idols instead.

Twenty years earlier King Jabin had attacked Israel. He won the battle and made the Israelites his slaves. Now everyone lived in fear of the king and his general, Sisera, who had 900 chariots of iron.

Deborah was called a judge. She did not have an office in a courthouse as judges do today. She sat outside under a palm tree. When people had a problem, they came to her to help them find a solution. They asked her for advice. Again and again she heard how the people were sorry for turning away from God and for worshipping idols. They asked her to teach them to worship the true God. One day God spoke to Deborah. “I have heard the prayers of My people. I will deliver them from slavery.”

Deborah listened to God’s instructions. She passed on the instructions to Barak, the army commander: “God commands you to take 10,000 men to Mount Tabor. He will lead Sisera into your hands.”

Barak was afraid. He knew how cruel Sisera’s army was. They had attacked his town. But Barak respected Deborah. He knew that God spoke through her.

“If you will go with me and my army, I will go,” Barak replied.

When Deborah agreed to go with him, God gave her a second message for Barak. “Because you want me to go with you, you will not have the honor of winning the battle. That victory will go to a woman.”

Deborah, Barak, and the 10,000 soldiers did very little fighting. As Barak and his men went out to meet Sisera, God intervened. Sisera and his army left their chariots and ran away. Barak and his men caught them and destroyed the army. But in the confusion, Sisera escaped.

Sisera traveled until he came to Jael’s tent. Jael’s husband was one of his friends. So Sisera thought he would be safe there for a while. Sisera asked Jael for something to eat and a place to hide while he rested.

Jael knew that Sisera was a wicked man. While he slept she killed him. And that is how Deborah’s prophecy came true. A woman, Jael, killed Sisera; Barak didn’t.

God uses a variety of people as leaders in His church: men and women, old and young, rich and poor. Children can be God’s leaders too. God will help all who love and follow Him to be good leaders.

We need to listen to God’s chosen leaders so we can learn from their experiences and better understand God’s plan for our lives. When God asks us to do something, we want to be ready to obey Him.