A Tale of Two Mothers

Speaker: Ps. Darin Browne

It is Mother’s Day and having started into Judges as part of our Bible reading plan, I wanted to draw on Judges 4 and 5 to explore a tale of two mothers…Deborah, and Sisera’s mum. One was a mother in Israel, while the other was the mother of a pagan general.

A second grade teacher gave a lesson to her class on magnets. The next day she ran a test starting with the question, “What starts with M, has six letters and picks things up.” To her surprise, more than half of the students wrote, “Mother”. Mothers have a greater role than picking things up, they are nurturers, they are carers, and they are in fact leaders, in the home and beyond.

True leadership is defined by John Maxwell not as power, or position, or wealth, but as influence. Mothers have influence. That’s why William Ross Wallace said, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” As a mother, you hold incredible influence over your children. Even if you do not have children, as a woman you still have influence, amazing influence, and an influence that this world desperately needs. So today let’s look at one of the most incredible and most influential women and mothers in the Bible.

Judges 5:7 (ESV)
The villagers ceased in Israel; they ceased to be until I arose; I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.


Judges 4:4-5 (ESV)
Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Before Israel had a king, a judge was a civil and religious ruler, essentially the prime minister, at a time of great fear and turmoil in Israel, between 1209 and 1169 BC. They had had 80 years of peace, but again had turned to idolatry, causing them to be oppressed by Canaanites, who had a big army and 900 iron chariots.

Deborah was smart, strong, and confident, but more than that, she heard from God. She was a prophetess. Deborah heard from God and governed the people; the way God showed her. She listened and obeyed. She might have had a mother’s heart, but she had to have a strong, steel plated backbone if she was to rescue her beloved people.

Now more than ever before, we need mothers who hear from God and stand strong on the truth. In an age where a child can simply state that they identify as a boy, or a girl, or a cat, or a fencepost, I am amazed at some mothers entertaining such madness. One mother wrote, “If my teenage son thinks he’s a cat, then he really is a cat!”

Today we need mothers who hear from God and stand for the truth. Today we have my truth, your truth, relative truth, but to quote a song I wrote called Cat, “If truth can morph or change just depending on your moods, then it never was truth in the first place.” Truth is always truth, otherwise it’s not truth! Mothers need to be brave enough to state what is true.


If you are a mother, I hope you spend time in the Word, because it’s gives you an amazing advantage in bringing up your kids. Listen to God and apply godly wisdom as you bring up your children, so they become successful, productive adults instead of 30-year-old pseudo-cats. God instructed a previous leader of Israel, Joshua…

Joshua 1:8 (ESV)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

If you want to hear from God, and if you want prosperity and success in your parenting, read the Word, come to church. Even better, share the Word when you parent, as Moses taught the people.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (ESV)
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

As Deborah was a leader and a prophetess, mums, you can be the same in your home. You can be the voice of God in your family. Invest your time wisely, into your family and into God’s family. If you don’t have a family, look to be a leader and a prophetess to people in your circle of influence.


Deborah calls in her favourite general called Barak, from the tribe of Naphtali, and she relays God’s Word about taking on the enemy, Sisera, who served Jabin, King of Canaan. The word she relayed was to fight and fight hard, because in the Lord, he will win.

Judges 4:6-7 (ESV)
She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?”

So, this mother in Israel calls Barak into action, but she is also going to be actively involved in the battle. Mums, you cannot abdicate responsibility for your children to someone else, especially a secular group like a state school or university. You have to be actively involved in leading and guiding and fighting for your kids. Fight in prayer for them and proclaim truth and righteousness to them.

But Barak has reservations. Deborah said, “Has not the Lord commanded you,” and he replied, “Hmm, I’m not so sure about that. I’ll only do this if you come with me.” Deborah agrees, but says…

Judges 4:9 (ESV)
And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.

Mothers, let me ask you, how many times has your godly, wise advice been agreed to, but then questioned? God gives a healthy level of wisdom to mums. My kids were convinced that their mum could see out of the back of her head. Their mum is a psychotherapist, so not much gets past her!

As mothers, you can have access to supernatural wisdom from God. One mother showed great wisdom when she was asked, “if you can’t find the children in the home, what can you do to find them?” This wise mother answered, just turn off the WiFi, and in less than a minute they will find you! Wisdom! Mums, relay words of wisdom from the source of wisdom…

Proverbs 2:6 (ESV)
For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;


Judges 4:8 (ESV)
Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”

This mother in Israel realised she needed to use words to encourage a hesitant general. Mums, that’s what your words should do, they should encourage those around you, especially your kids. Our words can build up, or destroy, so we should be looking to build others up.

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Proverbs 18:21 (ESV)
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Mums, always be someone with an encouraging word. Many mums say words that hurt their children, sometimes for years. Kids are sensitive, so choose your words with care. You can build up or break down by what you say with your words.


Deborah was not only a great leader, inspiring her nation to fight and winning a key battle against a skilful enemy, but she was also a godly woman, and everybody knew it. She wrote a song of victory, praising God. Mums, when your children look at you, do they see someone who praises God, even in the tough times, or someone who always finds a negative?

Deborah praises the Lord for raising up people to stand with her.

Judges 5:2 (ESV)
“That the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the LORD!

Judges 5:5 (ESV)
The mountains quaked before the LORD, even Sinai before the LORD, the God of Israel.

She also praises God for the courage and actions of Jael, whose husband was aligned with the Canaanite King, but she wanted to serve the true Lord.

Judges 5:24-27 (ESV)
“Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed.He asked for water and she gave him milk; she brought him curds in a noble’s bowl. She sent her hand to the tent peg and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet; she struck Sisera; she crushed his head; she shattered and pierced his temple.
Between her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still; between her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell—dead.

As Deborah had predicted, something entered Sisera’s head that he never imagined, and he was defeated, but the honour of triumphing over the enemy Sisera fell to a faithful woman, not a hesitant general. And Deb sings a song of triumph, praising God, but also praising the key players. Deborah was the leader, the instigator, the one who made it happen, but she was quick to praise others and ultimately give her praise and allegiance solely to the Lord!

Mums, you also should be singing your child’s praises, even if they hesitate or let you down. It’s so easy to see the wrong things they do, but uplifting words celebrating even the small wins goes a long way towards your child’s development. Find something to celebrate in each of your children.


In the middle of her triumph and victory, this godly woman paused to think with compassion about another mum, the mother of her enemy, empathising with her because she knew her heart would be breaking.

Judges 5:28 (ESV)
“Out of the window she peered, the mother of Sisera wailed through the lattice:
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’

This lady’s advisors told her that her son was probably dividing the spoils, but she knew in her heart that her son was dead. Deborah, in the midst of her triumph, paused to think about the pain of another mother. She put her prejudice aside and cared for someone who had been intent on hurting her and everyone she loved.

Can I tell you mothers, ladies, your superpower is love and compassion. Never lose that. Show unconditional love towards your kids, towards your partner, towards even those who hurt you and oppose you.

The mood in our society is pretty much permanent outrage, even among Christian women, even among mums. You cannot hate people into the Kingdom, only love them. If your child, or someone you love does something you disagree with, keep loving them. I’m not suggesting that you be tolerant of bad ideas. Abortion, transgenderism, gay marriage, these are all ungodly, bad ideas. You can be intolerant to bad ideas but remain tolerant of people. Love them, not what they do. Love your kids, not necessarily what they do. Don’t be outraged all the time, be out reaching!


In this tale of two mothers, one was blessed, the other suffered loss. One was triumphant, the other lost. One followed the Lord, the other pined and hoped in vain.

The only way to truly bring your kids up to be successful in life is to bring them to Jesus. Deborah knew that she could hear God’s Word, relay it, encourage with it, praise with it, and show compassion with it. You might think that saying you need Christ in your life to be the best mum you can be is a bit rich, but you face a choice this morning…try your best or come to the best! It’s your choice, and your family’s destiny hangs on your decision. As Moses told the people of Israel…

Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV)
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

When you come to Christ, or come back to Him, you will become the mum, the wife, the woman God has destined you to be. So, you and your descendants, your kids, and their kids, will live, and live life to the full.

Deborah shows us that you can be a mother, a leader, a fighter, a victor, and a carer, all at the same time. Today I want to pray for every mother in the room, and online.

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