Deborah, Ruth were examples of noble women within Israel

Deborah and Ruth, two of the most celebrated women in the Old Testament, exemplify faith, humility, courage and loyalty.

Deborah was a prophetess who lived in Mount Ephraim where she served as a judge in Israel. With the aid of Barak, she defeated Sisera, commander of the Canaanite army. (Judges 4:1-14.)Ruth was a Moabite who married one of Elimelech's sons after Elimelech left Bethlehem to live in Moab during a famine. Elimelech's widow, Naomi, returned to Bethlehem after her husband and sons died. Ruth gave up her former god and former life to unite with her mother-in-law in the service of the God of Israel. (Ruth, chapters 1-4.)

In a Church News interview, Ardeth G. Kapp, then Young Women general president, commented on the examples set by Deborah and Ruth. Pres. Kapp said:

"I believe that a lot of good can be accomplished when we are not so concerned about who gets the credit. Deborah seems to have been more concerned about the things that needed to be accomplished than about the glory that would come to her. (Judges 4:1-10.)

"She possessed one of the gifts of the Spirit spoken of in Moroni 10:13, in which it is stated that to some is given the gift to `prophesy concerning all things.' Deborah had the spirit of prophecy, a gift given to men and women.

"Because of the gift, Deborah was blessed with spiritual insight and leadership ability, which she freely shared, not concerned about who got the credit. She did not need a title or a position, or recognition to help Israel. All she needed was a willing, charitable heart that desired to be of service to the Lord, and that she had. The scriptures tell us that Barak would not lead an army against Jabin until Deborah was present. (Judges 4:8-9.)

"Deborah is a beautiful example of how the Lord could use us if we were more concerned about serving and less concerned about titles and who gets the credit."

Pres. Kapp said when one considers the story of Ruth, the first thought is usually of her steadfast loyalty to her mother-in-law, Naomi.

"Ruth's plea is a classic in literature: `Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.' (Ruth 1:16.)

"Ruth was an ordinary person with an extraordinary commitment to those things she valued most - her God and her family," Pres. Kapp said. "She had neither fame nor fortune, and among the Israelites could have been considered an enemy because she was a Moabite. Yet God moves around prejudices and geographical borders into the homes and hearts of those who love Him.

"Ruth lived a relatively simple, quiet life of goodness and virtue. Yet numbered in her posterity is King David, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Truly `the Lord looketh on the heart.' " (1 Sam. 16:7.)

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