A Woman of Fiery Spirit
by Debbonnaire Kovacs
By Debbonnaire Kovacs
Submitted Nov. 12, 2014
Based on Judges 4 and 5
They say with age comes wisdom. I don’t know, but I can say that with age comes weight. Weight of years, weight of worries over an all-too-dull and faithless people. Weight of old bones.
I sit under my favorite palm tree, and they come. They bow before me and ask my advice. They seek redress of wrongs, real or perceived. They ask me to deliberate, to discern, to judge between them and their brothers and sisters and wives and husbands. They all want me to vindicate their side, of course.
I do the best I can. Then they go away and do whatever they choose to do, whether it’s following my judgment or not. Oh, many of them do follow my advice. I have gained some name for wisdom, not because of any extra ability in myself, but because the Spirit of God is with me—and I actually listen to it, unlike many. The Most High must grow so weary of us! We say, “Oh, yes, oh, yes, we will follow!” Then we proceed to do the exact opposite…until the next crisis.
We’re under a new crisis now. Sisera and his nine hundred iron chariots are coming against us, as is only just, since we have backslidden yet again from our determination to follow God’s life of love instead of running solely after our own selfish wishes. I’ve told King Barak to go up, taking ten thousand soldiers from Naphtali and Zebulun, and he says he’ll go if I go with him.
I’ve promised I will, but the sad part is, I think he believes that having me at his side equates to having God at his side. If only I could help him, and all of them, to understand they can go to God for themselves! It is God who wins the battles; our part is only to be faithful and trusting.
Here comes the chariot sent to pick me up. I must stand tall in the strength of the Most High this day.
Of course we all know the story of Deborah and Barak, and how God brought victory by the hands of two women (plus 10,000 foot soldiers!) I found the following interesting notes in The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 2. I feel it important to note, given the context, that this book was published by the leadership of this church in 1954. In the front matter, it states: "Both contributors and editors have sought to make this commentary reflect the consensus of Seventh-day Adventist thinking.” They list the ten “representative men in the ranks of the Adventist leadership and ministry” who read the galleys of each volume. [p. 10] You’ll see in a moment why I find this interesting, particularly in the present context of Seventh-day Adventist leadership in the 21st century.
The following is a quote from two parts of page 330:
[Verse] 4. Deborah. Literally, “bee.” Of the judges whose exploits are recorded in this book she is the only one mentioned as possessing the prophetic gift.
Lapidoth. Signifying “torches” or “flashes”’ Some have thought the phrase “wife of Lapidoth” should be translated “woman of fiery spirit”’ which indeed may not have been too inapplicable an appellative in the light of the sequel.
[Verse] 8. Go with me. Barak probably realized that by himself he could not sustain the morale of the Hebrews. Deborah’s presence would serve to make clear that the undertaking was of God. He probably wanted it to be clearly understood by all that it was she, the prophetess, who was initiating the campaign, and not he himself. It is to the credit of Barak that he followed prophetic guidance in the dangerous undertaking. It is also worthy of note that Deborah did not draw back from the course she had prescribed for others. As for Barak, he preferred the humbler role of one who was executing the command that had come from the Lord. He voluntarily retired behind the authority of a woman whom God had animated and inspired. The need today is for men who will obey the divine voice as Barak did.
Interesting. That’s all I have to say.