God planned every detail of their victory, not just for Israel, but beyond. Deborah’s voice and Barak’s bravery secured the battlefield, but the courage of Jael would extend the victory to all. It is time to strike the enemy!
You never have to go looking for your enemy! The enemy is looking for you!
“Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
Our story began with a woman, “the wife of Lappidoth.” Let me introduce you to Jael, “the wife of Heber.”
If ever there were opposites, Deborah and Jael are a perfect illustration. Jael’s husband Heber had
“…moved away from his tribe…
Heber’s family was on friendly terms with King Jabin.”
Judges 4:11, 17
Heber means “alliance”. As a descendant of Moses’ brother-in-law, Heber believed in God but allied with the enemy. Heber had led his whole family to do the same. In this no-man’s-land of compromise, Jael’s home was in constant jeopardy.
They lived by the Oak of Zaanannim, “removings”.
Before you throw too much judgment at Heber, consider his predicament. He was a foreigner in a foreign land. The incessant and degrading worship of non-gods was invading his home. However, by “removing” his family from Israel’s wicked influence, he was also exposing them to a greater threat of destruction by invading troops.
Heber and his family walked a fine line for survival!
On one side, we see Deborah married to a powerful man of fire and faith. She was an anointed, fruitful and honoured woman, a beautiful and rare “palm” within Israel. On the other, we find Jael as common, as ordinary, as the sheltering oaks that surrounded her tent. Yet, she possessed a strength she did not yet know.
Defeated before she began!
Struggling to make ends meet!
The cards stacked against her!
The wrong family!
The wrong place!
The Enemy Knocks
Before Sisera knocked at her door, Jael saw him coming. His presence always signaled trouble for her and her household. Alone and running for his life,
“Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael.”
Though her ears never heard Deborah’s prophecy, God had this courageous, quick-thinking woman ready!
“The LORD’s victory over Sisera
will be at the hands of a woman.”
How trapped in the cycle did Jael feel? She knew already Sisera’s army lay defeated. Why else would he be on the run, fearfully glancing over his shoulder. Even without an army, Sisera possessed enough personal strength to annihilate her family.
God had asked her distant relative,
“What is that in your hand?”
What could she, a woman, possibly do now? Courage rose above fear! She steeled her heart and steadied her mind! Her existence depended on it!
Sisera’s wild eyes and hands whitened against his sword disclosed his unpredictable nature.
What is in Your Hand?
It was a woman’s responsibility to tend to every aspect of her tent, from construction to maintenance. She would be the one to set up, repair and dismantle it. Like every mother today, it was her responsibility to protect it!
“Come into my tent, sir. Come in. Don’t be afraid”
Jael disarmed Sisera’s fear and used his fatigue as opportunity. She calmed the wild bull of a man with warm milk, settling him in a secluded corner of her own tent. Jael covered him with her blanket assuring him to rest.
“If anybody comes and asks you if there is anyone here,
So many lies! The deceiver asleep in her tent! How tired was Jael of running, moving and longing for security? There was no where to hide. No more lies! No more making peace with the enemy!
The Courage of Jael
How many times had lies increased trouble for her household? Countless! Each lie strangling, poisoning, numbing to truth.
“No more! No more lies!”
As Jael watched her tears fall to the dusty ground something caught her eye. There they lay where she had fastened the last cord of her tent.
Numbly she reached for the long spike and crept toward Sisera, her heartbeat echoing in her ears.
As Deborah spoke in a voiceless land, Jael would no longer be silent! If Barak moved in audacious faith to engage Sisera in battle, she would not sit still! Because 10,000 men rose to the call without sword of shield, she would not rest!
While Israel’s warriors raised their voices in triumph, one obstacle prevented lasting peace. He was asleep on Jael’s floor.
God, who brought victory for the army of Israel, steadied her hand and her resolve.
“…with her left hand she reached for a tent peg,
and with her right hand for the workman’s hammer.”
Courage is contagious. It started with Deborah, ignited Barak, and activated an army. Once awakened, courage flowed to the common, the ordinary, the survivors, the crippled, and the wounded. From the same dust that drank the blood of Sisera, courage continued to rise.
A Hammer and A Nail
Jael did not know that she was the fulfillment of Deborah’s prophecy. She was simply a mother watching over her tent.
Jael also didn’t realize she signalled another blow that would crush another head.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
Every believer since Adam and Eve has lived, like Heber and Jael, in the borderland between faith and alliance with the enemy. Some are caught in this broken place paralyzed by fear, incapacitated by sin, and numbed by lies.
In the North American Church today only 5% of Christians live in vibrant faith:
bible reading full of exciting revelation
readiness to share the Good News of Christ
stepping into areas of ministry
praying with fervent faith
caring for the poor and under privileged
raising up disciples
enjoying God’s abiding presence.
Borderland is the prison confines of the too many!
Christ has paid the price for freedom! In His death and resurrection, He has crushed the deceiver once and for all!
May Deborah, Barak, 10,000 warriors and an ordinary woman named Jael, ignite an appetite for more. May we not settle for borderland living but move toward freedom! If Satan has gained access anywhere in our homes, our families, our communities, our nation, or our world… arise!
Through the victory of the cross, STRIKE the enemy! God has already crushed his head and won the battle! Reach for the hammer and the tent peg. We may only get one swing, so let’s make it good!
If you missed the first two parts of “Arise! Wake up!”, read on!