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Nailed It

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Click here to read Judges 4 on BibleGateway.com

lego“Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” – Judges 4:14

During today’s performance at the EverydayDevotions Theatre, we present the story of One Day in Tabor.  Now, since there are a lot of characters in this little drama, here’s a cheat sheet for you.

Jabin – King of Hazor (boo)
Sisera – Jabin’s best general (boo)
Deborah – Prophet of Israel (hurray)
Barak – Israel’s general (hurray)
Heber – former ally of Israel, now with Jabin (boo)
Jael – Heber’s wife (hurray)

To set the stage, Jabin is being a rascal, oppressing Israel for 20 years.  Deborah is the wise ole woman in Israel, and one day Barak comes along and Deborah tells him to go teach Sisera a lesson.  After a little convincing, Barak goes to Mount Tabor and waits for Sisera, who shows up with his 900 chariots (think “tanks” of the ancient world).  Cue action scene.

“AT BARAK’S ADVANCE…”

Notice that God starts putting things into action after Barak starts moving.  This is a recurring theme in the Bible; people need to start doing before God makes Himself evident.  For example, When God dries up the Jordan River for the Israelites to cross, the water doesn’t stop flowing until the priests are actually already in the water.  Not every time, but normally that’s how God works.

Once  Barak trusts God and starts moving, then God’s plan unfolds in a hurry.  This battle was fought in the Jezreel Valley, near the Kishon river.  The idea (from Sisera’s point of view) was to fight on the plains where he could use his chariots to out-maneuver the Israelites.  The Israelites start the battle on the hills around the valley, safe from the chariots.  Yet, when Deborah tells Barak that the timing is right, the Israelites rush down the hill into the valley.  Seem crazy?  Why not just stay on the hill, where it’s safe?

The next chapter indicates that the Kishon River itself played a role.  Many scholars theorize that the River suddenly become swollen or flooded by mountain runoff or a downpour further upriver.  The result is that the mighty chariots are suddenly worthless, stuck in the mud in the valley.  And here comes that Israelite army, rushing down the hill.

THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY

Realizing that things are getting out of hand, Sisera runs (on foot; no chariot) to Heber. Heber was a Kenite, a tribe that generally were allies of Israel, but the Bible says that Heber had allied himself with Jabin, Sisera’s king.  To make it worse, Kenites were historically metal workers; note how this chapter mentions more than once that Sisera had iron chariots.  Perhaps some of that iron came from Heber?

In any case, Sisera runs to the tent of Heber, and finds Jael, Heber’s wife.  She invites him to hide in the tent, and after the exhausting and somewhat disappointing day, Sisera drinks a glass of warm milk and falls asleep.  While he’s peacefully sawing logs, good ole Jael takes a tent peg (perhaps an iron one?) and drives it through his temple and right into the ground.

AND ALL THESE THINGS

Poor Sisera,  Tactics backfire, he has to abandon his most powerful weapon, he loses all his friends, and his last chance ally puts a nail in his noggin.  When God moves, nothing can stand in the way of that.  All the planning, technology, and might of Sisera was ended in one day, and the feared commander ends up losing his life to a glass of milk and a tent peg.

We often pray that God will bless our plans, rather than asking to be a part of God’s plans.  All Barak had to do was follow God’s directions and move out in faith, and God did the rest.  Maybe we should spend a little less time worrying about our problems, and a little more time listening to His voice.  Who knows what God may do if we truly trust Him?

And beware strange women offering glasses of milk; that’s just common sense.

(Curtain)


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