What is the spiritual significance of Deborah’s war and does it apply to our lives today? In The Book of Judges lies a tremendous theology of the Holy Spirit.
The first introduction of Deborah is in Judges 4:1-4, she is introduced as the “wife of Lapidoth”. In rabbinic writings, Lapidoth means “torches”. According to this translation, Deborah was the “woman of the torches”. She is the only person to be called prophet and judge in Judges. Her courage cultivated Israel to stand up against the long residence of the Canaanites’ “chariots of iron”.
There are several prophetic meanings to the name Deborah that is extracted from the Hebrew language. Her name “Devorah,” as it is said in Hebrew, has hidden in it the Hebrew word “devar”. Devar (pronounced phonetically “debar”) means “spoken word,” this is spiritually synonymous with the prophetic word she spoke to the people of Israel.
In every Hebrew word lies a concept. Hermeneutically, the secrets of Hebrew words are revealed in a 3-letter root, and also in the “prefix and suffix”. In the suffix of Deborah’s name is the Hebrew word “orah”. “Orah” is also the suffix of Torah. This defines her mission of teaching God’s word throughout Israel.
Her call to “drive out tyranny in the territory” under 20 years of oppression by the “chariots of iron” under the Canaanites is one that would require unique levels of bravery and boldness. During this time, Israel had fallen under a culture of compromise that caused the nation to lapse into laxity under the rule of the Canaanites. Deborah’s mission was to break this mindset that the subjugation under this tyrannical rule was to be their “new normal”. The adoption of this mindset caused even the idea of confrontation with the Canaanites, and their “chariots of iron”, unthinkable for Israel. Israel had accepted this tyranny as “normal“. They believed they did not have the ability to drive the Canaanites out.
Deborah was a system breaker. She was called to lift the level of people Israel back to its original status given to them at Mount Sinai “to be high above all nations of Earth” (Deuteronomy 28:1, Exodus 19:5-6).
The Bible teaches us that these “chariots of iron” terrorized the territory for 20 years (Judges 4:2) intending to systematically break down the people of Israel physically, mentally, and spiritually. Scripture teaches that “iron” is spiritually synonymous with bondage. Sometimes, we become spiritually conditioned to captivity. After a period of time, we can become programmed by our pain. We can feel we are disqualified from destiny. This makes us susceptible to compromise by accepting a lower level of living.
Deborah leaves a legacy that teaches us how to wage war against compromise. We can accept a belief system that deters us from our highest destiny. She teaches us to fight the battle in Tanach (Judges 5:19).
“Tanach” in Hebrew is the word for all of the Hebrew Scriptures combined. Fighting the battle in “Tanach” is a focal point of how heaven entered the battle with Israel through the Word. This is a spiritual strategy left in Scripture by Deborah that the wars of God must be fought with His Word—“He sent forth his word and healed them and delivered them from all their destruction” (Psalm 107:20).
We live in a world that has been reckoned with a culture of compromise. We can believe we’ll never “break out of the bondage” or recapture again our highest destiny because of circumstances in our life.
As believers, we have the authority to take back every detail of the dream in our lives. We can turn our obstacles into opportunities. God can turn our mistakes into miracles. We can be so determined for destiny that nothing can intimidate us from God’s high calling.
Judges challenges us to see that “There was no king in the land and every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, Judges 21:25). This scripture heads as context and a warning. We live in a society that is contrary to Biblical values. In turn, this results what’s acceptable to be determined by the individual.
In 2023, let us regain our strength and overcome our chariots of iron and reach our highest-designed destiny in life. Deborah‘s war is still being placed upon us today. We are faced with a decision: to stand up for the word and the way of God or that lapse into apathy.
Dr. Michelle Corral is the president and founder of Breath of the Spirit International Ministries since 1978 and is the pastor of Breath of the Spirit Prophetic Word Center. Dr. Corral has preached the gospel in 51 countries. She is also the founder of Chesed Hope for Humanity, which is one of the missionary outreaches of Breath of the Spirit International Ministries dedicated to international humanitarian projects around the world.