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A Woman of Many Names: Judges 4–5

A Woman of Many Names: Judges 4–5

Annica Kuiper

 

For years now, she has listened for the Voice.

Sometimes it came out of the whirlwind. Sometimes it came still and small. And sometimes it came with the thunderings of Sinai.

In the beginning, it was a quiet Voice. Calling her to do quiet work—speaking, ministering, prophesying. She thinks of the shadow of the palm tree, and the people—so many people—coming to hear her words. No, not her words. HIS. His Word, that burned like a fire inside of her, that came forth from her lips with boldness and courage, washing over a dry land that used to flow with milk and honey. A prophetess among prophets.

She is a woman of many names. But first, a prophetess.

And the people came from all over to listen. Hearts starving from years of sin and rebellion, they cried out in repentance, thirsting for God’s mercy and grace. And he heard them. He always heard them. And he raised up a deliverer for them.

A woman of many names, she is also a judge.

This time, the Voice is louder. “Awake, awake!” Bringing her up from under the palm tree, it calls her to action. There is a nation to lead. A people to shepherd. An enemy to defeat. A remnant to deliver.

She is an unlikely deliverer. Perhaps because she is a wife. Maybe because she is a mother. Certainly because she is a woman. But in a land where men do what is right in their own eyes, the responsibility of leading a nation is placed upon her shoulders. Unlikely, she thinks. But God often calls the unlikely. Qualifies the unqualified. Makes confident the unsteady.

And so, unwavering, she obeys the Voice. She enlists the help of a faithful general, relays the battle plans, warns of the advancing enemy, and reaffirms God’s almighty presence. But her work is not done. There is fear in his eyes, doubt caused by twenty years of sin and oppression, and he will not go alone.

So many names. Can it be this, too?

She hears the answer in the thundering of chariot wheels…warrior.

Nine hundred chariots of iron. Soldiers from Harosheth unto Kishon. And a captain of the host with unadulterated cruelty in his eyes. She is not surprised to see the fear on the general’s face, and she answers with the strength and courage of a woman who walked with God, “I will surely go with thee.”

Together, then, they assemble an army. No chariots. No horses. Just a few men, from a few tribes, who still remember the songs of victory sung by their elders. And one woman, who is soon to write her own song of victory.

But they do not enter the battle alone. For as they march, the earth trembles. The mountains melt. The heavens themselves gather together to fight for this people—the children of Abraham, the children of God. The stars in their courses lean down to war, the river rises up with fury in its floods, and the iron chariots are broken before the power of Jehovah.

Prophetess. Judge. Warrior. Singer.

Still breathless from the battle, yet she cannot keep silent. The words come, unbidden, rising up from her soul, filling her heart and her mind and her lungs till they ache with joy and praise. “Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the Lord…” The song burns within her, even as the fire of his word does, and she rejoices in God’s rapturous salvation of his people.

A woman of many names. Prophetess. Judge. Warrior. Singer. Wife. Mother. Leader. Deliverer.

But we know her best as Deborah.

You know her story. And you know the stories of many other faithful women who lived their lives in the confidence and strength of Jehovah. Sarah, who trusted that the Lord would give her a son even in her old age. Jael, who was not afraid of the captain of an army host. Ruth, who forsook everything to worship God in the land of the living. Mary, who held the Son of God in her arms and believed. And Deborah, a woman who led a nation to victory by the strength of the Almighty.

She was a woman of many names. And so are you.

God has given you many names, beautiful names, that tell the world who you are. But there are other names. Unkind, hurtful, sinful names. Names whispered to you by the devil, and the world, and your own mind. Weak. Ugly. Unpopular. Stupid. Worthless. Fat. Skinny. Boring. Timid. Broken. But those are not your names.

Child of the King, you are a prophetess with the word of God in your heart (Acts 2:17–18)[1]. Speak it, unashamedly, with boldness and confidence. Search the scriptures for his promises, believe them, and share them with others.

Daughter of Zion, you are a warrior in the army of God—put on the armor he has given you, and hold fast to the shield of faith (Eph. 6:10–18)[2]. The battles are many—sometimes small, sometimes great. Rejoice in the victory accomplished for you in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 15:57)[3].

Beloved of God, you are a leader among the people of God—as daughter, sister, helper, friend. Let your light reflect his light, as you lead others to know him more fully (Matt. 5:16) [4]. He has given you work to do, no matter how unsure or unqualified you may feel. Sometimes the work is quiet work, sometimes it comes like thunder. But he has clothed you with strength and honor (Prov. 31:25)[5], and you do not walk alone.

Woman of grace, your price is far above rubies. You are a cornerstone in the palace of the King. A peculiar treasure. Chosen. Precious. Redeemed. These are your names, and so many more. Lovingly chosen for you by the Father, written upon your heart and in his Book of Life.

So close your ears to the taunts of Satan, cast out of your mind those names of darkness, and instead, listen to that still, small Voice that echoes throughout the pages of scripture, that brings you into his marvelous light and calls you, Prophetess. Warrior. Beloved. Mine.

 

Annica Kuiper teaches 1st grade at Adams Christian School in Wyoming, Michigan and attends Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church with her husband Zach.

 

Originally published April 2020, Vol 79 No 4

 

[1] Acts 2:17–18, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy…”

[2]Eph. 6:10–11, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God…”

[3] I Cor. 15:57, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

[4]Matt. 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

[5] Prov. 31:25, “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.”