Time Out: God wants availability more than ability (Deborah and Jael)

Topic / Time Out

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

Even today it isn’t easy for a woman to be a leader, but in the times of the Judges it was almost unheard of. Deborah was such a woman. Her story is in Judges 4 and 5. She was the spokeswoman for God. Even though Barak was the leader of the army, he wouldn’t do anything without her. He lacked courage to lead. Deborah trusted in God and had courage to be used by God however he chose.

Not only did God use Deborah, he also used another woman, Jael, to kill Sisera the general of the army of Hazor. She showed lots of courage and ingenuity in luring him into her tent then driving a tent spike through his temple when he was asleep. Clearly these women get the credit for the Jews victory over their enemies.

There are several clear lessons from this event. Not only can and will God use women, He will use anyone who is available and willing to serve Him. It’s not our ability that God looks for – He can give that to anyone He wants. It’s our availability He requires.

We also learn from Deborah the importance of courage. Both these women risked their lives in following God. Had anything gone wrong they would have been killed. Following God is not risk free. Even today there are dangers and threats for those who would be servants of God. Being courageous doesn’t mean we aren’t afraid, but it means we don’t let our fear keep us from doing what needs to be done. Courage isn’t being fearless but it is having victory over our fear. There will always be obstacles in our lives – opportunities to fear. But when there is an opportunity to fear there is also an opportunity to trust. Which is it for you?

Judges 4:9, “‘Very well,’ Deborah said, ‘I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman.'”

2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Acts 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

Romans 8:14-15, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'”

1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”


  • Do you ever look down on someone, thinking God can’t or won’t use them for a special ministry?
  • Do others think you show courage in serving the Lord?
  • Where or when do you have the hardest time showing courage? When you get the most afraid?
  • What can you do about it?

Jerry SchmoyerJerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!

Posted on March 1, 2009

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