Deborah’s Victory Song

Wendy Blight

Day: 29 | Plan: Joshua-Judges

Today’s Reading: Judges 5

Judges 5:1 (NIV) “On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:”

Why does the Lord call His people to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs? Two reasons come to mind. First, worship ushers in a tenderness of spirit that allows us to intimately connect with Him in ways that the reading and studying of His Word cannot. Second, song lyrics are a memorable, creative way for God to teach His people who He is, what He has done and what He will continue to do.

In Judges 4 we read the dramatic narrative of Israel’s victory over the Canaanites. Deborah composed the song in Judges 5 to forever commemorate that victory. Jewish history reveals God’s people often celebrated special occasions with song. We find two beautiful examples in the song of Miriam and Moses in Exodus 15 and the song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32.

Theologians consider Deborah’s song among the oldest poems in Scripture. It was her way of honoring the Lord’s faithfulness, fulfilling Psalm 145:4, “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.”

Songs don’t need paper. Once learned, they remain hidden in our hearts. So, if people cannot read, if people have no Bible, they can still know and celebrate the working of God’s magnificent hand. Deborah’s song became a national hymn and, through Scripture, lives in perpetuity for generations to come.

Deborah opens with praise for Yahweh, the leaders who led God’s people and the volunteers who willingly followed, reminding us even today that God desires followers who willingly come alongside Him to accomplish His work.

She continued by praising God for intervening in their darkest hour, just as He did for Moses at Mount Sinai and continues to do today. God caused the earth to tremble and the heavens to pour down rain to ensure victory for His people!

Deborah praised the tribes that responded to the call to battle (Ephraim, Benjamin, Makir [from the tribe of Manasseh], Issachar and Naphtali) and pointed out those who did not.

She continued the story with cursings and blessings. She cursed Meroz for their failure to aid God’s people and blessed Jael for slaying the commander of the Canaanite army and God’s enemy, Sisera.

Finally, Deborah closed her song with prayer,

“So may all your enemies perish, LORD!
    But may all who love you be like the sun
    when it rises in its strength” (Judges 5:31a).

This song isn’t just an ancient hymn for us to appreciate. The God who gave Israel strength and victory is the same God who gives us victory today. Our victory is found in Jesus! Read Paul’s words and be blessed and encouraged:

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).

Prayer: Father, thank You for the gift of worship. Thank You for the beautiful truths and promises that flow from Deborah’s victory song. Promises that carry through to us today. Give me a heart of worship. A heart to follow hard after You, praise You and remember the great things You have done. In Jesus’ name, amen.

More Moments:

Deborah was not the only one who used song to praise the Lord. As the curtain closed on... Read More

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