In Judges chapter 4, we are given the story of how God calls Deborah and Barak to deliver the people of Israel from the oppression of Jabin king of Canaan, whose commanding general was Sisera. What is so interesting about this story is that Barak gathers an army of 10,000 troops and is able to route Sisera at the battle of Mount Tabor. However, Sisera flees and is able to escape from the battlefield, and while fleeing he comes to the home of a woman named “Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite” (v.17). What is fascinating about this woman is that Judges chapters 4 and 5 are the only places in the entire Bible where this obscure woman is mentioned. Who is she? Where does she come from? There is very little that is known about this woman. Yet, this woman comes to Gen. Sisera and offers to hide him in her tent from Barak. He takes her up on the offer, goes inside her tent, and she covers him with a rug, which all sounds like a great idea to Sisera. But then we are told in v.21 that “Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died. And behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, 'Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.' So he went in to her tent, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg in his temple.” God commands Barak to muster an army of 10,000 troops (v.6) but then kills Sisera by the hand of one obscure little woman. This is, however, God’s typical style. Throughout redemptive history God uses the weakest and smallest and least expected to do great and amazing things. Moses believed he was wholly inadequate for the job God was calling him to (Ex 4:10), Gideon believed the same (Judges 6:15), David was the forgotten son of Jesse (1 Sam 16:11), Isaiah was horribly sinful (Is 6:5), and Jesus was the son of a lowly carpenter, of questionable birth, and from Nazareth of all places. Why does God operate this way? “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor. 1:27-29). God desires to receive all the glory and praise for everything he does in this world, and he alone is deserving of it. But it is also encouraging to know that if God can use an obscure little woman like Jael to kill a commanding general of an army for his glory and to accomplish his purpose, God and use you and me. In the end, it has been rightly said that God is not as interested in ability as he is in availability.
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