Do you have some women in your life who speak truth to you? You know, the kind that might get on your nerves sometimes, but you can count on them to tell you what you need to hear and not just what you want to hear.
As women of the Word, God calls us to not only surround ourselves with women who speak truth; He calls us to be that woman.
Women Who Speak Truth
Deborah is a great example of a woman who spoke truth. As a prophetess and a judge, she not only spoke for God, but she judged matters between individuals. I’m sure she had to sometimes speak hard truth.
“Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes settled.”Judges 4:4-5, NIV 84
During the time of the judges, Israel was in a cycle of disobedience, suffering, crying out for deliverance, and restoration through the leadership of a divinely-appointed deliverer.
God’s anointing would come upon these judges as they would settle disputes and often lead in victory against their enemies. The Holy Spirit did not dwell in believers at that time, so the people would listen to the Word of the Lord spoken through these prophets.
We may not all be judges or prophets, but we all have probably had to settle a dispute or counsel a friend who is going astray.
God might call us to share hard truth that we fear won’t be well-received. In Deborah we see an example of how to be a woman who is brave enough to speak God’s truth.
First, Deborah spoke the Word of the Lord.
“She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, ‘The LORD, the God of Israel commands you: “Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.”Judges 4:6-7
Deborah could not have shared this word from the Lord with Barak unless she had spent time with God and listened to His voice.
As women of the Word, we have to be in the Word. We can’t share what we don’t know. We can’t guide our children, counsel our friends, or share the gospel unless we are seeking God and listening for His voice.
But Deborah also had to share hard truth with Barak.
“Barak said to her, ‘If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.’
‘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.'”Judges 4:8-9
I’m sure those weren’t the words Barak wanted to hear, but Deborah was brave enough to speak the words God wanted him to hear. We definitely shouldn’t try to counsel someone without the leadership of the Holy Spirit and His Word.
“We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.”1 Corinthians 2:12-13
We must seek God and His truth, be led by His Spirit, and not speak what we think someone wants to hear or what will garner more praise for ourselves. We must speak truth.
Second, she spoke words of encouragement.
When Barak was hesitant to go into battle against 900 iron chariots, Deborah encouraged him, not with flattery about what he could do, but with encouragement about what God had already done.
“Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?'”Judges 4:14
God calls us to speak words of encouragement that build others up–not with false hope but with real truth. Again, in order to do so, we have to be spending time in the Word.
“The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.”Isaiah 50:4
Within our circle of friends, we all have those who need a word of encouragement. As we are led by the Spirit, He will give us words that can comfort, strengthen, and build up those around us.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”1 Thessalonians 5:11
Third, Deborah spoke words of praise to God.
“‘Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I will sing to the LORD, I will sing; I will make music to the LORD, the God of Israel.'”Judges 5:3
Deborah realized the truth: victory didn’t come as a result of their own efforts; the victory belonged to the Lord. Rather than taking credit for the win, she sang words of praise to God.
“If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”1 Peter 4:11
As women who speak truth, we must seek God and listen for His voice, willing to speak truth to others, even when it may be hard to hear. When our friends are experiencing trials, our platitudes won’t suffice. They need truth.
We need to share words of encouragement in the Lord, not just empty flattery that makes others feel good but may not be honest. Flattery is really pride–just a way of getting people to like us.
And we need to give God the glory for all He has done rather than taking credit for ourselves. Praise Him and sing to Him. Show the world that you give God the glory for what He has done.
If we do this, we will be women who speak truth. And even if that truth isn’t immediately welcomed, we can rest in the assurance that if God is in it, He will use it for good and for His glory.
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”Isaiah 55:10-11