Scripture: Judges 4:4 At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. 5 She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment.
Observation: We are told that Deborah was both a prophetess and a judge (v.4). A prophet is one who hears from God and speaks to God’s people on his behalf. A judge is essentially what is sounds like – one who settles disputes among people. What is striking in this instance is that Deborah is… a woman. To be more specific, Deborah is a woman whom God himself chose to function in these critical roles among the Israelites.
Application: It’s hard to believe there are still Christian bodies in which women are not afforded the same opportunities to lead as men. God himself has appointed women to function as leaders in both the Old Testament and New Testament. Granted, even in the tribe to which I belong (ELCA Lutheran), women leaders will tell you the opportunities for leadership are not exactly equal. I spent some years working in a bishop’s office and participating in the “call process”. This is the process of connecting pastors with congregations to serve. While not a common occurrence, there were congregations who essentially refused to interview females for service as pastor.
That said, our presiding bishop is Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (pic above). I’ve had the opportunity to meet her and chat with her a bit. A little bit. And I am very impressed. I believe she is precisely what our church needs at this time and I thank God for her. What a shame were she not able to serve as presiding bishop because of her gender.
Today I’m reflecting on my own heart condition. Do I hold a bias against females? Am I affording women the same opportunities to exercise their leadership gifts as men?
Prayer: Lord God in heaven, both men and women can be effective leaders in your church and in the community as a whole. Reveal our blindspots where they may be. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.