The “Honey Bee” Prophetess (Part One)

“If the ironworker won’t, the carpenters will”

There is an old saying in the construction workforce, if the ironworker won’t do the job. the carpenters will.  I was in the plumbing contractors business where I retired, and the men in the field changed the saying to “If the pipe fitter won’t do the job, the plumbers will.”  In any case, you get the point.

It suggests that if ironworker won’t do the job, then the carpenters will.  However, that also suggests the structure might not be exactly what we want or what we were looking for to begin with.  It takes SKILL to do the task.

Lets see how this plays out in Scripture in The Book of Judges:

DEBORAH: Her Name Means “Honey Bee”–

The HONEY BEE
The HONEY BEE

I’ve always been fascinated with the meanings of names and how in some instances, how we can grow into their meanings.

For an example, my full name is MELVIN DALE THOMPSON.  “Mel” or “Melvin” means “chief”,  “Dale” means “valley”.  So put them together…Chief of the Valley.  Looking back at the age of 71 years, the name meaning has some significance.  How?  That’s another story.

DEBORAH comes from the Hebrew root, meaning to speak or promise.  It’s also where the phrase “Word of God” comes from and is identical to the word, meaning “BEE”.  Did she live up to her given name?  Let’s dive into the Word and do our own investigation.

DEBORAH’S VISION:

Her vision of the world during her day wasn’t shaped by the political climate, but by her relationship with God.

Though women of the ancient world didn’t usually become political leaders, DEBORAH was what Israel needed, a woman, a prophetess who heard God and believed Him.

She is a woman who had the needed courage and with her courage, aroused the people, enabling them to throw off foreign oppression.

DEBORAH IS A WOMAN AMONG MEN!

Some consider it unexpected for God to raise up a woman as a prophetess.  But the New Testament makes it clear:  God grants the gift of prophecy to women, and they are to practice it appropriately.

Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head… (1 Corinthians 11:5 NIV).

From that verse, we find that the essential element of a woman’s ministry as a prophetess in the early church was her clear submission to the male leadership in the church (evidenced by her wearing of a veil).  If I raise the “dander” in some ladies reading this Bible study, I’m just stating what Scripture says.  If you don’t like the connotation behind “submission”, try another word: “selfless love”.

In the New Testament Church–

A woman was to use her spiritual gifting in context of order established by the church leaders–just like anyone’s Spiritual Gifts.  This is always made possible because the gift of PROPHECY never “overwhelms” the one who receives it, and the spirits of the people are subject to the prophets–                   (1 Corinthians 14:32).

Why God Uses Deborah–

Might it have been she was the only one listening to God at the time?

Deborah serves us up notice in the church today a godly example of her servant like heart, her ability to delegate, her authoritative leadership, her willingness to serve God at any cost.

Deborah’s Character Development–

She was BRAVE…,

She was INTELLIGENT…

She was TRUSTWORTHY…

She was CONFIDENT–not just confident in her title of “JUDGE”, but CONFIDENT OF GOD’S WORD AND PRESENCE.

The Court of Judgement–

No large enclosed structure with columns and staircases on the outside.  Deborah ruled Israel under a PALM TREE that bears her name:

She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided  (Judges 4:5 NIV).

joan_arc_good
Joan of Arc

Now Deborah was more than an ARBITRATOR, she’s a prophetess, one who acts between God and man who lets the people know God’s will.  If I were to make a comparison of great women in history, my choice would be Joan of Arc.

Deborah is out in the “hill country” judging while her peers are at home weaving.  She goes into battle while other women are staying at home with their children.  Now before you jump to conclusions–I’m not knocking “stay at home Mom’s,” I exalt them.  It is not about what Deborah does, it’s why she does it.

God has asked her to do this task, no matter what the cost and Deborah acts in FAITH.  She probably would have been just as willing to stay at home and let the men lead.  But God calls her!  Why?  Were there no men to answer the call?

“Use them or Love them”–

Some have said that in times when men seem spiritually weak, God uses women instead.  I say it’s more accurate to say that the deeds and the faith of the women were more evident in these historical times.  Would I dare to say that history repeats itself?

The Lord gives GIFTS by His Spirit to ALL people.  If we don’t use them, they will be given to someone else.  I believe this was the case and setting, although, Scripture doesn’t actually state this as fact.

Is this a WARNING to the church?

Is it possible that God will raise up women to lead the church if the men don’t?  I don’t want to find out.

So as a man, I challenge the men to remain steadfast in their FAITH, be the spiritual leader of your family and in your church as God ordained it to be.

Judges 4:1-5:

Deborah under the Palm Tree
Deborah under the Palm Tree by Adriene Cruz

[1]  AND THE children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead.  [2] And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.  [3] And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.  [4] And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lepidoth, she judged Israel at that time.  [5] And she dwelt under a palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el in mount Ephraim; and the children of Israel came up to her for judgement (King James Bible).

This day was a normal day in the life of Israel.  Deborah set up court and the people came and went with their disputes settled under a Palm Tree.

Deborah then calls for Barak–

BARAK is considered by many Bible commentators as a “noble warrior.”  DEBORAH speaking for God, gives him a noble task, a “knightly” charge:

[6] And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kadesh-naphtali, and said unto him,  Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying,  Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?  [7] And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him unto thine hand.

WHERE IS FAITH?

God says GO, we say “Maybe”–Give us a sign?–Prove to me you are God?

Today we have the written Word if we want to know what God says, we can read it!

READ verses 8 thru 10:

[8] And Barak said to her, If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.  [9] And she said, I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the trip you take will not be for your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.  And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh,  [10] And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and he went up with 10,000 men at his heels, and Deborah went up with him  (Amplified Bible).

In a way, this is what Barak is doing:  “If you go with me, THEN…I will go.” 

At first glance, Barak’s words to Deborah didn’t seem unwise for him to ask Deborah to come with him.  Yet the fact remains that he demanded which demonstrates Barak trusted more in Deborah’s relationship with God than his own relationship with God.

Don’t we do the same at times in our faith walk.  We are asked by someone to pray, to share our testimony with strangers, to do something our pastor asks us to accomplish in the service of the Lord…and yet, deep inside our souls, the CONFIDENCE is absent.  We even ask the pastor,  “Who else is going to help?”  Why?  The answer is OUR RELATIONSHIP with our Father in heaven.

There will be no glory for you”

Because of this, Barak would not be the one who personally defeats Israel’s enemy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army.  It would be a woman who God Almighty would reward with His glory.

Now we would probably expect this to be fulfilled by Deborah, but this PROPHECY will be fulfilled unexpectedly.

Will pick up the story in The “Honey Bee” Prophetess (Part Two).

8 Replies to “The “Honey Bee” Prophetess (Part One)”

  1. Olivia, you might consider reading an article by John Piper, entitled “Satan’s Design in Reversing Male Leadership Role”. It appears by your comments that you are a true representation of the Christian Progressive Movement. Next time you look of a few verses in the Bible, try using them in the context of the whole truth and not just to reinforce societally trends in the world. God Bless.

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    1. Again, your arrows are missing your intended target! You obviously didn’t read the suggestive reading by John Piper, nor do I want to continue your contemptuous conversations on my site Your issue isn’t really with “context”, nor is it with “male or female” leadership. In essence, it’s obviously, Authority…period! Not any authority, but with all authority. I’m not a Christian psychologist, but your spirit is coming from years of negative responses, not from my writing or answers. So let’s be a brother and sister in Christ and agree to disagree. If that’s not agreeable, then let’s end this conversation and promote Christ Jesus.

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  2. “Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head… “(1 Corinthians 11:5 NIV).

    You wrote,
    “From that verse, we find that the essential element of a woman’s ministry as a prophetess in the early church was her clear submission to the male leadership in the church (evidenced by her wearing of a veil).”

    Sir, I think you misinterpret the Scripture.
    I Corinthians 11:3 (NIV) says, “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”
    You interpreted that verse to mean that “man” = “male leadership in the church” but I’m not sure how you got to that. The head of woman is her husband, as shown in the following verses –
    Genesis 3:16, “…… Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
    Ephesians 5:22-28, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her ….. husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.”

    It is this relationship between husband and wife that enables the wife to submit to his headship. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the word “man” in I Cor. 11:3 is referring to the “male leadership in the church.” An unmarried woman is to submit to God directly as it says in Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

    You’ve written quite a few seemingly disparaging statements about women in this article – I could tell immediately that it was written by a man without even seeing who the blog was by. It’s very sad to see the misogyny that still exists in the Church today.

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  3. Hey Mel,
    Thanks for this post, I really appreciate it.
    God is incredible that He rises up people to do His will.
    I’m also thankful that at times when we are low we can ask others to pray for us, but more importantly I love that Jesus is that person who is the mediator and He can be there pleading for our lives. So thankful. Hallelujah
    Can’t wait for part 2!
    God bless

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  4. I love the meaning of your name Mel. Even more do I love the name the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart years ago – in times of ‘ruffled feathers’ I remember it and know the Lord has called my name – in His presence there is peace. No matter what He calls us to do I pray we are obedient and cease from judgement of the call others have in their lives.

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