Deborah was chosen by God to judge Israel during a time when Israel was much weakened and plagued by the idolatry of surrounding nations. During her song in Judges 5:6 we learn that the
"highways were unoccupied, and the travelers walked through byways."
Vs. 7 continues to tell how oppressed Israel had become.
" The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel."
The villages had ceased to be occupied because of the dangers from the Jabin, king of Canaan. The people had been reduced to living in fortified areas for protection to guard against attack. (See Clarke's Commentary on Judges chap. 5 [here].1)
Deborah arose at God's instruction. She did not become a judge or prophetess of her own will. God chose all of His prophets and judges. The very next chapter describes the process by which the angel of the Lord convinced Gideon that God would be with him (Jud. 6:11-40).
God chose Moses to be His prophet for the exodus from Egypt (Ex. ch. 3). God next chose Joshua to lead the people into Canaan (Josh. 1:1-3). God chose faithful David to be king over Israel (2 Sam. 6:21; 1 Kings 8:16; 11:34; Psa. 78:70) God chose Ezekiel the priest for His prophet during the Babylonian captivity (Ezek. 1:3) God chose Daniel during the Babylonian captivity to have an understanding of visions and dreams (Dan. 1:17).
When God sent a man to speak to Eli he very plainly stated in 1 Sam. 2:30,
"Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed." (KJV)
It was always the faithful ones that God chose to be his messengers, prophets, and judges (Num. 16:7; 17:5). Even though the scriptures do not relay all details about every prophet, we can know that He chose Deborah, both a prophetess and a judge (Judg. 4:4-5), during that time of oppression because she was faithful and would do His will.
Recommended reading: Debohah: The Woman God Uses here