God Uses Whom He Chooses

There are two women who play prominent roles in Judges 4.  First, there is the judge who was leading Israel at this time: Deborah.  This is so significant because it was a patriarchal society.  The men were in charge.  God gave gifts of leadership, wisdom and discernment to Deborah and she used those gifts to lead Israel.
The second woman is Jael.  Jael was the wife of one of the Israelites who was fighting against the Canaanites.  Sisera was the commander of the army and he had made the lives of the Israelites miserable for 20 years.  Deborah summoned a man named Barak to go and fight against Sisera.  Barak would only go if Deborah went with him.  Deborah said to Barak:

“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.”

​ – Judges 4:9 (NIV) 
Again, we see that women were looked down upon in that society.  It was an insult to Barak that God would deliver Sisera into Deborah’s hands and not Barak’s.  Or was He going to deliver Sisera into Deborah’s hands?
What about Jael?  Well, the Israelites, with God’s help, soundly defeated the Canaanites.  Sisera fled and came to the tent of Jael.  He asked for shelter in her tent so that he could rest.  He was weary after the battle and from fleeing the Israelites.  She offered him some milk and he went to sleep.  Jael went into the tent and drove a tent stake all the way through his temple into the ground!  Barak comes by and Jael shows him Sisera’s body.  Barak was upstaged by not just one woman, but two!  ​​
There are a couple of implications of this story that I would like to share.  First, don’t tell God whom He can and cannot use to carry out His purposes.  Sometimes we base our decisions on our culture and not on God’s Word.  We need to be extremely cautious when it comes to telling God whom He can and cannot use.  Second, when God says He will give you victory, trust Him for that victory.  Barak didn’t trust God to give him the victory over the Canaanites.  Rather, he asked for Deborah to go with him and face the enemy.  God, through the power of Jesus’ name, can and will give you victory over temptations, tests and trials.  Trust Him for that victory and go with God and in the power of Jesus’ name.

Judges 4

New International Version (NIV)


4 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. 2 So theLord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. 3 Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help.

4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. 5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. 6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. 7 I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”

8 Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

9 “Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 There Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah also went up with him.

11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.

12 When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera summoned from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River all his men and his nine hundred chariots fitted with iron.

14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. 15 At Barak’s advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot.

16 Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim, and all Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left. 17 Sisera, meanwhile, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was an alliance between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.

18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.

19 “I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.

20 “Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her. “If someone comes by and asks you, ‘Is anyone in there?’ say ‘No.’”

21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

22 Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you’re looking for.” So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple—dead.

23 On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 And the hand of the Israelites pressed harder and harder against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him.


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