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  • Writer's pictureKristina Trott

#11 Women of God: Jael

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

Israel had been heavily oppressed by the Canaanites so God called Deborah into action beside the commander of the Israelite army. The Israelites routed the well-armed forces with the help of a God-sent flash flood which bogged the 900 chariots of iron.

Sisera, the fierce commander, hot footed it away to Heber, a friendly ally, for protection. Except Heber didn’t greet him. Heber’s wife, Jael, did.

Jael spoke soothingly to Sisera and invited him into her own tent, a dangerous move for Jael as only husbands would have been permitted to enter such a space.

Sisera was physically and mentally exhausted from the lost battle and was reassured by her kindness. Jael put him under a blanket and gave him milk to drink, a time-honoured soporific. But, she had other plans.

Jael was a covert Israelite sympathiser and when Sisera was soundly asleep she took a tent-peg and drove it into his head with a mallet, pinning him to the ground. Israel was now well on the way to ridding themselves of Canaanite oppression.

I can’t help thinking that Jael was a small, wiry woman. I think that because she was a nomadic tent-dweller eking out a subsistence existence, milking sheep and erecting tents in a vastly treeless plain. Sisera was a strong, muscly, battle-hardened commander with a forceful presence. Another seemingly implausible David versus Goliath situation.

God is like that. Jesus was born to poor parents and was first housed in a stable. Hardly the grand entrance we would expect from earth’s future king.

God has especially chosen the poor, despised and powerless so that He, alone, can make them formidable opponents against the Enemy (I Cor. 18-31).The message of the cross is foolish to the wise of this world.

If you feel unworthy? Good! If you feel useless? Good! If you feel you can’t do anything for God? Good! If you feel your sin is too great for God to forgive? Good! Because now God can work in you.

It is in this attitude of helplessness and dependence on the mercy and strength of God that earth’s rule will be penetrated by the government of heaven. The weakness of earthly scenes will give way to God’s reign when we fervently pray, “Father, let your kingdom come, here and now!”

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