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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Hidden Heroes: Deborah, The Call to Rise Up!

by Marilynn Chadwick

There were no warriors in Israel until I, Deborah, be a mother to Israel (Judges 5:7 NCV). 


Ever feel like you’re in a war? For your faith, your family, your freedom? Sometimes victory only comes when you rise up. “Rise up” is a call to action. To step into the game. It’s a call to war. The Bible is filled with stories of women who dared to rise up.


One of those women was Deborah. She was the only female judge in the Old Testament and the first to be called both prophet and judge. Her people had been beaten down and terrorized by the barbaric Canaanites—for 20 long years! But Deborah arose and called them to war (Judges 5:7 NCV). We don’t know if Deborah had children of her own. But she had a fierce, mother’s love for her people. And when a “mama bear” rises up and says, enough is enough, look out!


Deborah called a young man named Barak to lead Israel’s rag-tag army into battle. She said, “Get up! Today is the day the Lord will hand over Sisera. The Lord has already cleared the way for you” (Judges 4:14). Deborah could see what God saw in this man. But Barak wasn’t convinced. He said to Deborah, “I will go if you will go with me, but if you won’t go with me, I won’t go” (Judges 4:8). “Of course I’ll go with you,” Deborah replied (Judges 4:9).


Victory looked impossible. Barak and his men were vastly outnumbered by this cruel army, with its 900 iron chariots. Swift, intimidating, deadly. But when Barak stepped out in faith and led the charge, Deborah by his side, the Lord routed all the chariots and army until not a man was left. Their victory was legendary. Israel was finally free because Deborah, a mother in Israel, dared to rise up!


My friend Leslie reminds me of Deborah. She’s an ordinary wife, mom, and swim coach. But she knows what it means to rise up and to call forth others to do the same. She made champions out of our little neighborhood swim club—for 25 years in a row. Our youngest son Michael joined her team when he was nine. After the first week, Leslie said, “I think you’ve got yourself a swimmer.”

Coach Leslie saw something in this skinny little kid. She called him to rise up. “Come on Michael, you can be a great swimmer!” He must have believed her because one day I found a small poster in his room with his ten-year-old scrawl, “Olympics Here I Come!!” He eventually earned a college scholarship for swimming, competed in the Olympic Trials, and even has a world record relay under his belt. From a struggling, nine-year-old to a champion. All because Coach Leslie called a little kid to “rise up.” Now a husband, father of two little boys, and pastor to our church’s student ministry, Michael calls kids of all ages to “rise up” and answer God’s call.

Is God asking you to rise up? Think of others you could challenge. The ripple effect could be extraordinary. It’s time to stop losing wars we should be winning. For our marriages, our children, our nation. Let’s dare to rise up as an army of believers who can change our world!

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