I don’t know about you but I never really thought much of Jael. I did not hate her but I was not crazy about her either. I am not sure why but I just was unable to wrap my mind around how a woman could drive a tent peg through another human being’s skull. I mean, enemy or no enemy, was that not a tad ‘too gory’? Could she not have accomplished the same goal in a more ‘humane’ manner, I would always ask God each time I read that part of Judges 4. But yesterday, at the Return of the Helper (‘ROTH’) 2012 Conference, I stopped questionning what Jael did and why.
And I began to respect her.
I now respect Jael because I realise that she is a woman to be reckoned with even if we never hear of her again after Judges 5. As you and I know, she was pivotal to Deborah and Barak’s success and Israel’s victory as it was by her hand that Sisera met his waterloo so to speak. As awesome a feat as that was, that is not what now draws me to her. It is the fact that for Jael to have done what she did, she must have been on top of what was going on around her. The Message bible refers to her as a ‘home-making woman’ so this tells me she was a stay at home mom yet she was not oblivious to the happenings around her. She did not spend all day watching E News and the Food Channel (like me). She also watched SkyNews and read the daily papers. If for nothing else, to guide her prayers. And on this day when she prayed God must have told her he had an assignment for her. And when the time came for her to act, she acted. She did not waste time thinking “Who me? Little old, plain old, insignificant, stay-at-home mom that I am, can I possibly do this great thing for my nation?
Like many of us think today. I am too young, too old, too poor, too tall, too short, too skinny, too fat, don’t have enough of this or have too much of that, not smart enough, not cool enough, not fine enough. not enough connections and on and on our list goes.
But the truth I believe Jael is showing us that is that we are ‘just enough’ for God to do whatever he has called us to do right there where we are. All that we need to do for God is already inside of us. All we have been through is part of God’s ordained plan to equip us to do for him. I don’t know for sure but I am guessing this was not the first time Jael was using a tent peg and a hammer. It takes some measure of skill I would think to drive a tent peg through someone’s skull like that. I want to believe that it was something she did often and I am sure she thought it was boring some days. Perhaps she felt it was just a mundane skill. But that mundane, ‘ordinary’ skill is what led to her being immortalised in Bible history today. How many other women do you know have their names written into a bible hit song? Check out the lyrics of the track that Deborah and Barak released to celebrate Israel’s victory (Judges 5:24-27) and you will see how come I now respect Jael.
Let us put skill and talent apart in this matter. I still find it difficult to believe that Jael could have done what she did in her own strength. The human skull was not designed to be easily cracked. This woman must have had some ‘higher power’ coursing through her arm to drive that peg right through Sisera's head and into the ground! That power, as I see it, could be no other than the power of God. What am I saying? If God sends you on an assignment, HE will empower you to do it. So we need to stop second-guessing ourselves and just go and do as God as sent us to do.It's not about you. It's about the God in you.
Jael was a woman living ready to fulfill her assignment. Are you? How many ‘Siseras’ have you let get away because you felt you did not have the skills to ‘kill’ them? Or worse still, how many ‘little foxes, little enemies’ are you still allowing to sleep in your life when you should be ‘driving the tent peg down’ on them? Why are you still refusing to be decisive about that situation in your life? So you have been nice to him/her, given him/her milk to drink. That’s nice but the enemy is still the enemy. Deal with the situation! Or it will deal with you.
Can you imagine if Jael had lightly tapped that tent peg on Sisera’s temple? Hmm, the man would have woken up and strangled her dead! Yet, we go around trying to handle the devil and his vices with kid’s gloves. We need to be decisive about this walk of ours. We need to be like Jael and drive the tent peg down hard and kill off anything keeping us from living our lives as authentic, purpose-driven and fulfilling, Christian women.
I did not stay for the entire ROTH 2012 conference as I had to leave early but I am so glad for the thirty minutes I was able to spend there. It was well worth it and I brag on God for its organisers for now I not only like and understand Jael...
I respect her deeply.
(c) the dnw