Jael—In the Wrong Place at the Right Time!
March 11 - Nº 70 Judges 4:1-16; Judges 5:1-23
It seemed impossible for the Israelites to defeat the far superior Canaanite army with its 900 iron chariots . . . until God sent the storm! The wind and the icy rain created chaos. The Kishon River overflowed its banks turning the great Megiddo Plain into a muddy bog. Sisera and his troops turned to retreat but quickly became stuck. Their wheels would not turn, and the horses were trapped. They tried to escape on foot, but the Israelite army caught them and killed them all . . . except for Sisera. The commander of the Canaanite army ran until he came to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. (Heber was the man who made a business deal with the Canaanites and moved his family into their territory so he could become wealthy. Then he betrayed the Israelites by revealing their military plans—see #69 - March 10.) When Sisera saw Heber’s wife, he felt safe. She invited him to come into her tent. He was cold and wet, exhausted, and thirsty. So, she covered him with a blanket and gave him some milk. He asked her to guard the opening of the tent and commanded her to lie if anyone asked if she had seen any Canaanite soldiers. Then he fell fast asleep. But while Sisera was sleeping, Jael picked up a tent peg and a hammer and snuck over to where he was lying. She knelt quietly beside him and put the tent peg above his temple. With a mighty whack, she drove it through his head with the hammer. Just then Barak (the leader of the Israelite army) came by looking for Sisera. Jael ran out to meet him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you are looking for.” Barak went inside the tent, and there was Sisera—dead on the floor with a tent peg through his head! Deborah’s prophecy had come true. The credit for destroying the brutal commander who had cruelly dominated the Israelites for so many years did not go to Barak or any other strong military leader. Instead, it went to a previously unknown woman named Jael. Even though her husband’s selfish choices had placed her on the wrong side of God’s program for a brief time, she bravely made things right when God gave her the opportunity. Meanwhile, back in the fortress city of the Canaanite kingdom, Sisera’s mother kept peering through the window lattice as she waited for her son to return. “Why is he taking so long?” she asked. “Why can’t we hear the clatter of all the chariots returning from war?” Her personal aide replied, “They must have had a mighty victory. There must be so much plunder that it is taking a long time to gather and divide it all up. No doubt they are getting at least two slaves each and lots of colorful clothing. I’m sure they will bring home special embroidered garments for us to wear.” But Sisera and his army never returned! Instead, the Israelites were able to completely overthrow the rule of the wicked Canaanite nation. They enjoyed peace for 40 years.
Do you sometimes feel like you are trapped in a situation where God could not possibly use you? As Jael found out, God has a role for each of us regardless of our circumstances. We need to be ready for it—and be brave when God gives it to us!