Reading For Monday Judges 4:1-24
Sin is repetitious as this apostasy demonstrates. So, the Lord sold them into the hand of a Canaanite king named Jabin whose capital was in Hazor. The commander of Jabin’s army was Sisera. The primary source of Sisera’s power was nine hundred iron chariots and for twenty years he dominated Israel. We are introduced to a woman named Deborah who received direct revelation from the Lord, who enabled her to interpret the past, give direction in the present and announce the future. Evidently, Deborah had a regular spot under a palm tree between Ramah and Bethel where she held court and judged Israel.
At some point, Deborah sent for Barak who came from the tribe that had suffered terribly under the Canaanite oppression. Deborah shared with him a word from God and instructed him to assemble ten thousand men and march them to Mount Tabor. God promised to draw Sisera out and give him into the hand of Barak. Barak agreed but only if Deborah would accompany him. This was not necessarily cowardice. He may simply have wanted Deborah to be present for insight and counsel. Whatever the case, Deborah was quite willing to go with Barak. However, she warned Barak that the honor associated with the victory would not belong to him, but to a woman. Barak raised his army of ten thousand men, and Deborah kept her word and went with Barak. The details of the story encourage one to reflect on the providence of God which led a family to relocate and thus position itself to be the agent of God’s salvation.
Sisera hears that this army had positioned itself on Tabor, and he rallied his nine hundred chariots and supporting infantry. He slowly began to move his forces from his headquarters to the Kishon River. Sisera may have thought that this show of force would intimidate the Israelites. Deborah urged Barak to launch the attack and predicted that this was the day God would deliver Sisera into the hand of Barak. The LORD “routed” Sisera and his army. While his army fled west, Sisera fled, and as he approached, Jael went out to meet him. She invited him to come into her tent and coaxed him not to be afraid. There was peace between King Jabin and the Kenites, and Sisera must have thought he would find sanctuary in Jael’s tent. Jael covers Sisera with a rug, and he requested a drink and Jael gave him milk. Sisera insisted that Jael stand in the doorway of the tent to divert any would be pursuers.
When Sisera fell asleep, Jael seized the opportunity to strike taking a tent peg and hammer. She cautiously approached the sleeping general that was fast asleep. Jael drove the tent peg through his temple and the twenty-year tyrant was dead. As Barak the tent, Jael came out to meet him and invited him to see “the man whom you are seeking.” Upon entry, Barak saw Sisera lying in a pool of blood with a tent peg in his temple. Now that the army was totally obliterated, it was only a matter of time before King Jabin would fall before Israel. Finally, Jabin, King of Canaan was destroyed. God is faithful to his faithless people and fought for them and delivered them from their oppression.
Thing To Consider:
- Why is sin repetitious? What ongoing sins do you struggle with?
- What do we learn about God when in the same story, we are told that God sells his people and later delivers them?
- Although the people of Israel were suffering great oppression, Deborah was able to bring wisdom and counsel to them. Who can you serve in this way?