Women in leadership is not a new thing. In fact, chronicles of by-gone days testify of women in societal leadership from the earliest historical records, including positive examples in Biblical scripture. Despite those who would argue against feminine capabilities, more and more women are answering the call to serve their communities and their country, as a whole in what I call, Deborah Rising.
In various arenas one may find unequivocal support for women in leadership across all spectrums in society. In other circles, there is staunch objection to any feminine leadership position. Still, in others, arguments are made for acceptance of women in appointed positions, but not elected office; nurses, but not doctors; Administrative Assistant, but not CEO; or perhaps acceptance of women in municipal offices, but not a state or federal office. What basis do people have for these beliefs? I’ve found that it is typical for some people I know to point to scripture, but without specific references to specific examples. In other words, they attempt to compare apples to oranges.
In the Biblical book of Judges, chapter 4, the story is told of Deborah, Judge of all Israel. For a little background, it is important to understand, that God Himself had Israel set up Judges to govern the people, and it was only when Israel rejected God as their King, and decided they wanted to be more like other ungodly nations with earthly kings, that the Lord gave in to their cries for a King to lead them. However, he warned them of the consequences in 1 Samuel 8:6-16 …
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (NIV)
Back to Deborah. Judges 4: 4-5 identifies her, as a wife and the nation’s leader.
4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading[a] Israel at that time.5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. (NIV)
The entire chapter is well worth the read, but to summarize in a nutshell, Deborah had to quash Israel’s aggressors, and told Barak that the Lord said to take 10,000 men to defeat the enemy, Jabin, King of Canaan. Barak would obey only if Deborah went with him… and his 10,000 men. Deborah agreed, but told him that the credit for the defeat of the enemy would go to a woman. Indeed, a woman named Jael, received the glory after she drove a tent peg through the head of the enemy’s military leader, as he slept.
God uses women in mighty ways. Though women’s strengths are often in different areas than men’s strengths, women are not only complimentary to men, but God’s boundless abilities are often shown through female leadership in all areas of life whether, societal, in business, family, and so on. Why would He limit Himself by only using men in societal or business leadership? Nothing in scripture supports this idea.
Proverbs 31 is another good read. The chapter is written to King Lemuel, by his mother, advising him on seeking a virtuous wife. Verses 16 and 24-26 specifically deal with an honorable woman buying and selling and using wisdom.
Vs. 16 – She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.
Vs. 24-26 – She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
And then, we have the book of Esther, who was there for such a time… to influence a king and save her people, the entire nation of Israel, that was living in captivity in Babylon, at that time. Her presence in the kingdom was desperately needed in order to save the Jews from death. Her words to the king were persuasive and a nation was spared.
God the Father chose to bring us salvation through a very special God-chosen young lady to bear His only begotten Son, thereby bruising the head of our old adversary, the devil.
God has given women the ability to attend to all details, big and small. We should esteem those women who truly seek to serve. Examine their records, by all means. Inquire after their purposes, their goals, and intentions. In the case of those seeking elected office, we should realize that being elected to a public position is not a “step up,” but rather a step into a servant position. If God leads a woman to serve, He will guide them, as they serve, just as He guides virtuous men who seek to serve others.
It is my hope that more men and women of good moral character will rise to their calling. To women specifically, be bold, be of good courage, do not fear what mankind may do to you or say of you. Do that which the Lord has shown you to do in His Word; seek Him; pray; be humble, and be brave. For you too, were made in God’s image, and you have a great purpose, just as other women before you. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Arise, and take your positions.