Women of the Bible – Delilah

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Delilah

Delilah – her name means “delicate or dainty one”

Her story is found in Judges 16

Have you ever been betrayed? Have you ever known that feeling, an emptiness in the deepest part of your soul, when you realized the one you loved & trusted has been unfaithful to you or shared your secrets with your enemy? Samson knew that feeling. He was betrayed by the woman he loved. He was betrayed by Delilah.

Not many people call their daughters Delilah – a name that has become synonymous with a femme fatale who will ultimately bring disaster to any man who becomes involved with her. The strongest man who ever lived, Samson, and the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, were both brought down by bad women. Perhaps Solomon was thinking of Delilah when he wrote Proverbs 5 and the following verse in Ecclesiastes 7:26:

And I discovered that [of all irrational sins none has been so destructive in beguiling one away from God as immoral women for] more bitter than death is the woman whose heart is [composed of] snares and nets, and whose hands are chains. Whoever pleases God will escape from her, but the sinner will be taken captive by her [evil].  – AMP

A Woman Named Delilah

The Bible says: Samson WANTED his wife, he HAD SEX with a prostitute, but he LOVED Delilah.

“Some time later, Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah who lived in the valley of Sorek.” Judges 16:5

Delilah’s nationality is a mystery. Jewish rabbis and Josephus think she was a Philistine but the Bible does not say one way or another. I, personally, think she may have been a Jewess who betrayed her own country’s spiritual leader for money. (Delilah is a Hebrew name, she lives in the territory of the tribe of Dan, calls out “The Philistines are upon you” to Samson and then there’s the Micah’s mother thing – see below.)

Most commentaries call her a harlot – citing her actions as those of a loose woman (sleeping with a man for money) – but the Bible does NOT call her a prostitute nor does it explicitly state that she had illicit sexual relations with Samson. In fact, some scholars think she and Samson were married. More likely he went from wanting a wife, to visiting a prostitute, to becoming a live-in lover.

The Study Bible for Women says, “ironically the one time Samson appeared to love and trust someone, she proved to be as callous and uncaring to him as he had been to others.” Philistine rulers came in secret and offered Delilah a boatload of silver to betray her strongman. She accepts and the game is afoot.

And Samson loves to play games. He fooled his parents by giving them honey out of a dead lion. A riddle with his groomsmen destroyed his relationship with his now-deceased wife and her family members. He burned the Philistines crops by tying torches to the tails of foxes, killed a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey and after visiting a prostitute carried the gates of Gaza several miles away at midnight to show the city their security system was a joke. Now he’ll try and brush off Delilah’s persistence with a series of jokes.

Delilah starts the game with flattery – batting her eyes, squeezing his big bicep and saying, “Please tell me why you’re so strong and no one can ever capture you.” When that failed, she worked on his character then his feelings. “You are lying to me. You don’t really love me.” Then she turns on the waterworks – using the same technique as Samson’s dearly departed wife who wept the whole seven days of her wedding feast. Delilah nagged Samson day after day and pleaded with him until she wore him out – one Bible version says until “he was annoyed to death” – then he gave in and told her the whole truth.

“While you were sleeping”

I used to think the euphemism for having sex with someone you’re not married to – sleeping together – was kind of weak. Sleep is such a benign term. The biblical words fornication and adultery pack way more punch. But a recent phenomenon on social media changed my mind – sleeping around someone else involves trust. Father’s Day 2016. A new father decides babies are kind of boring so he sees how many Cheerios he can stack on his sleeping infant’s face. The pictures go viral and spark copycat behavior. The first time I saw the images, I slammed my Ipad shut and had to walk away. I was mortified that a parent would betray their trusting infant in such a trivial way.

Sleeping all night in the same bed with someone you don’t know (and can’t trust) is almost as foolhardy as having sex with a total stranger. All of us, every one of us, are completely vulnerable when we are asleep. Samson trusted Delilah. She didn’t deserve it but he trusted her. It was while he was sleeping that she betrayed him – four times. Instead of running for his life after the first attempt, invincible Samson kept on playing Delilah’s dangerous game. Josephus believed the phrase “she made him sleep upon her knee” means that she drugged him that final night. The men who were paying her for the information on how to defeat Samson hid in the room next door, watching for their moment to pounce.

Delilah’s End

The Bible does not tell us what happened to Delilah after she betrays Samson. Did you she have any remorse?  Was she present when the lords of the Philistines brutally gouged out her lover’s eyes – those wandering eyes that had gotten him in so much trouble? Was beautiful Delilah counting her stacks of silver the last thing Samson saw on this earth?

Some say Delilah was probably in attendance at the great celebration giving glory to Dagon, the Philistine’s grain god. Blind Samson was brought out for entertainment and tied up between a couple of pillars. Did Delilah mock him and gloat over her victory? Was she alarmed when she noticed that his hair had grown out? The Bible indicates that we will, surprisingly, see Samson in heaven. Hebrews 11 lists him as a man of faith. At this, his weakest moment, he cries out to God. True to form – he asks amiss but he still asks – he seeks revenge for the loss of his two eyes rather than the glory of God. But God, who is rich in mercy, gives Samson the strength for one last task – to quite literally bring down house. (Isn’t that the goal of every good entertainer?) Samson killed more of God’s enemies that day than he did in his whole life. Was one of the victims Delilah?

John Milton wrote the tragedy Samson Agonistes where a repentant Delilah visits Samson asking for forgiveness and begging to touch his hand. She “apologizes” but blames him for telling her his secret in the first place. She’s just a weak woman, prone to gossip so it’s really all his fault anyway. Samson doesn’t buy it saying: “How cunningly the sorceress displays her own transgressions to upbraid me mine.” Some things never change.

Then there’s a third possibility. A wild possibility. When studying the Bible, they say “context is king.” Well, tacked right on to the story of Samson’s death is the tale of Micah’s Mother (Judges 17), a woman who has placed a curse on whoever has stolen her 1100 pieces of silver. Hmmm. Sounds very familiar.

Wycliffe Bible commentary says:  “The fact that the amount was eleven hundred shekels of silver has led some commentators to identify Micah’s mother with Delilah.”

Could it be that a Jewish Delilah was so unpopular with her own people that she had to move to Ephraim? Could it be that she had a son named Micah who stole her money and then confessed it? Could it be that she finally spends 200 pieces of the blood money she earned betraying Samson on making an silver idol that becomes the downfall of the tribe of Dan, the very tribe that Samson came from?

How is Jesus Involved in the Story of Delilah?

Herbert Lockyer says: “Delilah was a woman who used her personal charm to lure a man to his spiritual and physical destruction and she stands out as one the lowest, meanest women of the Bible – the female Judas of the Old Testament.”

Samson’s actions were not anything like those of our Savior Jesus but he was a judge sent to deliver his people – a type of Christ in the Old Testament. Sinful, flawed Samson was betrayed for 1100 pieces of silver – a king’s ransom equivalent to hundreds of pounds of silver or approximately 550 years of a laborer’s daily wage. The perfect son of God – Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – however, was betrayed for the paltry sum of 30 pieces of silver – the price paid to a master when his slave was killed accidentally.

Questions to Ponder

  1. Why is Delilah’s sordid story included in the Bible?
  2. Why would God use a man like Samson to accomplish His Will?
  3. Perhaps Samson’s mom witnessed the disaster her turbulent son made of his life. Do you have a rebellious child like Samson? Where do you turn for help?

Prayer:

Lord, I confess my need to control things in my life. I, right here, right now confess that you are sovereign and more than able to untangle the mess I’ve made of my life. I confess that I manipulate things to get what I want all the time. Please forgive me. Help me to surrender to Your Will and to live my life Your Way. Help me to extricate myself from unhealthy relationships that do not honor You. Please give me a passion for purity.  Amen.

The Bottom Line

Things I learned from Delilah: You can’t put a price on your integrity.


Women of the Bible – Manoah’s Wife & Samson’s Bride

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Manoah's Wife

Manoah’s Wife and Samson’s Bride

The stories of Samson’s Mom and Bride are found in Judges 13-14 and the first part of 15

If the Bible has a super hero, it’s probably Samson. God gave him super-human strength – strength enough to kill a lion with his bare hands, to tear a city’s gates clean off and walk away with them and strength to kill Philistines whenever and wherever he wanted even if his only weapon was the jawbone of a donkey.  He had strength in every area except when it came to beautiful women. Samson had a weakness for bad women – whining, crying, nagging women. He is most famous for falling for the wiles of Delilah but before we get to her, let’s take a look at a couple of other women in Samson’s life.

Samson’s Mom – Manoah’s Wife

Children are free moral agents and at some point in life they will choose on their own how they are going to live. Even a good woman like Samson’s mom can end up with a selfish, rebellious son. I love reading her story in the Bible because she shows women how to respond when surrounded by crazy men. First off is her husband, Manoah…

“There was a certain man…whose name was Manoah…The Angel of the Lord appeared to (his wife) and said to her, “It is true that you are unable to conceive and have no children, but you will conceive and give birth to a son. Now please be careful not to drink wine or beer, or to eat anything unclean…You must never cut his hair, because the boy will be a Nazirite to God from birth, and he will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.” Judges 13:2-5

Simple. Straightforward prophecy and directions. No problem, right? Wrong. Manoah’s Wife goes straight home to tell him that an Angel of God appeared to her. Here is the first mom in history to receive a training manual along with her child and her hubbie doesn’t believe it. So he prays to God that the messenger would come again and explain how to raise the boy.

He prays, but he doesn’t seem to believe God will answer his prayer. If I was Manoah, I would’ve been following my wife around waiting for God to show up. But no, he stays in the house playing video games* and lets her go out alone to the fields (*They didn’t actually have video games in those days but it never ceases to amaze me that she was out in the field (again) and he was sitting around in the house when the angel comes back.) The Angel of God appears to the woman alone. Again. She runs to fetch her husband who has to get up to go see God.

The Angel of the Lord patiently waits but when Manoah arrives he proves to be the first “bait and switch” artist on record. He prayed to learn how to raise the boy but when the angel reappears, he asks to know the child’s future saying: “What will the boy’s responsibilities and mission be?”

The Angel of the Lord doesn’t answer this request but says: (Like I already said…) “Your wife needs to do everything I told her.” But Manoah still isn’t satisfied. He wants more proof. He wants to know this man’s name. He wants to present this being with an offering and see what happens. When the Angel of God goes up to heaven in the flames of the offering, Manoah then proves to be a Drama King with a capital D. Herbert Lockyer says Manoah’s Wife has “sanctified common sense.” She’s so practical. She’s brilliant. She certainly knows how to handle a classic case of over-reaction.

“We’re going to die,” he said to his wife, “because we have seen God!” But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had intended to kill us, He wouldn’t have accepted the burnt offering and the grain offering from us, and He would not have shown us all these things or spoken to us now like this.”

So the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson (which means Man/Strength of the Sun). The boy grew, and the Lord blessed him.

Samson’s Bride

Her husband was not the only aggravating male in Manoah’s Wife’s life. Her gift from God, the answer to her prayers, Samson, is all grown up now and he wants a bride. Does he allow his parents to pick a godly woman for him? Of course not. He breaks his mother’s heart and wanders into enemy territory choosing a Philistine woman based on her appearance alone. Never a good idea. He tells mom and dad, “Get her for me. She pleases me. I want her.” Not I love her. Just I want her. They try and talk him out of it, “Can’t you marry a nice Jewish girl?” but he is adamant. And so the arrangements are made.

Samson’s bride is only the first of three bad choices Samson makes regarding women. She reveals her character – or lack thereof – very quickly. At the wedding celebration Samson tells a riddle to his groomsmen and makes a bet they can’t figure it out. Unable to solve the riddle, they threaten the bride (nice bunch of people, those wedding guests.) This is how she responds.

So Samson’s wife came to him, weeping, and said, “You hate me and don’t love me! You told my people (obviously more important to her than her husband) the riddle, but haven’t explained it to me.”

“Look,” he said,“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother, so why should I explain it to you?” (woah – that should give her a hint as to where she ranks.)

She wept the whole seven days (nice wedding party!) of the feast, and at last, on the seventh day, he explained it to her, because she had nagged him so much. Then she explained it to her people.

Samson’s wife betrays her newly acquired husband to save her own neck (which actually ends up backfiring on her.) Samson leaves in a rage, kills 30 men, steals their robes to pay off his bet and then goes home in a huff. When he finally cools down, he goes back to consummate his relationship with his wife only to discover that dear, old dad has given her to one of his conniving groomsmen instead. Dad says, “I was sure you hated her,” and offers Samson his other daughter. Yikes!

In a rage, Samson gets his revenge by burning the fields of the Philistines. He ties torches to the tails of foxes and lets them go. The Philistines are angry. They kill Samson’s bride and her whole family as retribution. Then Samson gets REALLY mad and He “tore them limb from limb with a great slaughter.”

Samson’s Relationship #1 was a disaster.  Yet, the Bible says God was using this whole mess to cause Samson to take action against the Philistines who were ruling over Israel at that time. God can even make good out of bad choices made by disobedient men.

How is Jesus Involved in the Story of Samson’s Mom?

Once again the pre-incarnate Christ comes to visit a humble, ordinary woman. Manoah’s Wife describes her visitor like this:

“A man of God came to me. He looked like the awe-inspiring Angel of God. I didn’t ask Him where He came from, and He didn’t tell me His name.”

This Angel of the Lord allowed Manoah and his wife to worship Him. When Manoah asked his name, He said: “Why do you ask My name…since it is wonderful.” Isaiah 9:6 tells us who will be called Wonderful – “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Questions to Ponder

  1. Do you have difficult men in your life? What can you learn from Manoah’s Wife?
  2. Do you use whining, crying, and nagging to get what you want like Samson’s wife did? Do you find you get the same results as her – temporary success and then destruction?
  3. How does Jesus show up in your everyday life? What would you do if He showed up in person?

Prayer:

Lord, thank you that you can use an ordinary woman to accomplish your purposes. Thank you that You can use me. I want all that You have for me. Nothing more. Nothing less. Amen.

The Bottom Line

Things I learned from Manoah’s Wife and Bride – Trust God when it comes to the men in my life.


Women of the Bible – The Levite’s Concubine

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levite's concubine

The Levite’s Concubine

You’ll find her story in Judges 19

The story of the Levite’s concubine begins with: “In those days there was no king in Israel” which is usually followed by “and every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” The men in this story thought it was acceptable to rape two men. When they were thwarted in their desire, they settled for raping an innocent woman all night long. That was “right” in their eyes. They wanted something and they took it.

I’ve often heard in Christian circles that when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and His Spirit indwells you, that you don’t HAVE TO sin anymore. He gives you the power and ability NOT to sin. I don’t think I really understood this concept until recently.

We were at a Los Angeles Dodgers game. The metrosexual man behind us ignored the game and talked non-stop for three solid hours to his companions at the top of his lungs. I have never heard so much talk about absolutely nothing: stippers, Beyonce, his “ladies.” Finally my husband could not take it any longer and asked him to tone it down.

Do you know what he said to us? He said that’s just the way his voice was and he couldn’t help it. At first I was outraged. Of course you can lower your voice. Anybody can. It just takes an act of willpower – some “want to.”  But now, I actually believe him. I believe he couldn’t help himself.

Without the Spirit of God living in you, you do not have a choice. You will do what your appetites dictate. This man could not shut himself up or tone down his voice or think about the effect he was having on everyone around him. He has been blinded by his god – his insatiable taskmaster – himself. That is the condition of the “perverted men” in our story below.

This is, hands down, the ugliest story in the Bible. It is eerily similar to Sodom and Gomorrah only this time, shockingly, it’s God’s Chosen People doing the evil, not heathens. The story shows how far the people of God have fallen from His ideal for them. It also shows what happens when you remove God from your culture – when your god is your own cravings, feelings, thoughts and passions. It happened in the time of the Judges and it is happening now.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

I was supposed to be writing about Samson and Delilah. And that story will come but a story about a Stanford swimmer raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster has grabbed national headlines recently. I “just happened” to be reading Judges 19 at the same time the story hit social media. (I find God causes those kind of “coincidences” a lot when I stay consistently in His Word.) I couldn’t help but notice the similarities contained in the ancient story and today’s news.

Here’s an shortened version of Judges 19 with my comments:

…a Levite…acquired a woman…as his concubine. (God’s ideal is one man, one woman for life. Our story does not start well.) But she was unfaithful to him and left him for her father’s house (commentaries disagree as to whether she was sexually unfaithful or leaving her husband was an act of unfaithfulness). She was there for a period of four months. Then her husband got up and went after her (took him awhile) to speak kindly to her and bring her back…So she brought him to her father’s house, and when the girl’s father saw him, he gladly welcomed him. His father-in-law, the girl’s father, detained him, and he stayed with him for three days. They ate, drank, and spent the nights there. (the father-in-law tries to detain him a couple more days but eventually they hit the road for home.)

…They stopped to go in and spend the night in Gibeah. The Levite went in and sat down in the city square, but no one took them into their home to spend the night. (Hospitality is a big deal in the Eastern culture. This was an affront.) In the evening, an old man came in from his work in the field…

“Peace to you,” said the old man. “I’ll take care of everything you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.” (I think he knows what his own town is like.) So he brought him to his house and fed the donkeys. Then they washed their feet and ate and drank. While they were enjoying themselves, all of a sudden, perverted men of the city surrounded the house and beat on the door. They said to the old man who was the owner of the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him!” (New meat. They want to have sex with a Levite priest – how perverted can you get?)

The owner of the house went out and said to them, “No, don’t do this evil, my brothers. After all, this man has come into my house. (A host was obligated to protect his guests.) Don’t do this horrible thing. (Sounds a lot like Lot.) Here, let me bring out my virgin daughter and the man’s concubine now. (What!!!!????) Use them and do whatever you want to them. But don’t do this horrible thing to this man.” (Why is it worse to rape a man than to rape a woman I ask?)

But the men would not listen to him, so the man seized his concubine and took her outside to them. (Brave fellow – I see why she left him.) They raped her and abused her all night until morning. At daybreak they let her go. Early that morning, the woman made her way back, and as it was getting light, she collapsed at the doorway of the man’s house where her master was. (I can’t even imagine the horror of that night.)

When her master got up in the morning (he actually slept?), opened the doors of the house, and went out to leave on his journey, there was the woman, his concubine, collapsed near the doorway of the house with her hands on the threshold. (She’s reaching out for help. Does her husband even care what had just happened to her. No.) “Get up,” he told her. “Let’s go.” But there was no response. (Note it doesn’t say she was dead.) So the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.

When he entered his house, he picked up a knife, took hold of his concubine, cut her into 12 pieces, limb by limb, (if she wasn’t dead before, she sure is now) and then sent her throughout the territory of Israel. Everyone who saw it said, “Nothing like this has ever happened or has been seen since the day the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt to this day. Think it over, discuss it, and speak up!”

I feel like the woman raped by the Stanford swimmer pulled together the hacked up pieces of her life, wrote them down in Her Story and sent it out to the people just like the Levite did. It was a call to action. Let’s do something about this gross miscarriage of justice, people! We are all shocked. Horrified. Grieved. Her assailant got 6 months because “he had never committed a crime like this before and a long prison term would severely impact his life.”

Say what? Like her life wasn’t permanently impacted? And did this 20 year old take responsibility for what he did? No. He blamed the party culture. He blamed her. He blamed the alcohol. It was reported that the men who came to her aid and caught him in the act were so disgusted by what they saw that they vomited. May we never lose that kind of sensitivity to evil in our culture.

How is Jesus involved in the story of the Levite’s Concubine?

Jesus provides the ability to live a life that pleases God. To not sin. He says in John 8:34: “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” Galatians 5 goes on to say: “Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery…I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other.”

Prayer:

Lord, Help us to be faithful to walk by the Spirit, to not be overcome by the culture. I pray that evil acts would continue to make each of us sick to our stomachs, that we would never grow hard about the horrors happening all around us. Help us to be faithful witnesses of the freedom found in Christ and offer hope to the people You bring into our path. Amen.

 


Women of the Bible – Jael

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Jael

Jael –  her name means “Wild Mountain Goat”

Please Read: All of Judges 4 & 5

Assassin:
One who murders by surprise attack, especially one who carries out a plot to kill a prominent person.

Quick, tell me the name of a female assassin. Angelina Jolie’s character in the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith popped into my mind – Jane Smith dancing to the sultry tones of the Assassin’s Tango (danced to marvelous, controlled perfection in the YouTube video at the bottom of this post.) I definitely didn’t think of a woman in the Bible. Until I studied Jael.

The Battle Belongs to the Lord…

“The earth shook, the heavens poured, the clouds poured down water. The mountains quaked before the Lord, the One of Sinai, before the Lord, the God of Israel.” The 900 iron chariots of General Sisera had bogged down in the mud and Barak (accompanied by Deborah) destroyed King Jabin’s army…

“Meanwhile, Sisera had fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite… Jael went out to greet Sisera and said to him, “Come in, my lord. Come in with me. Don’t be afraid.”

So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a rug. He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink for I am thirsty.” She opened a container of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him again. Then he said to her, “Stand at the entrance to the tent. If a man comes and asks you, ‘Is there a man here?’ say, ‘No.’”

While he was sleeping from exhaustion, Heber’s wife Jael took a tent peg, grabbed a hammer, and went silently to Sisera. She hammered the peg into his temple and drove it into the ground, and he died.

When Barak arrived in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to greet him and said to him,“Come and I will show you the man you are looking for.” So he went in with her, and there was Sisera lying dead with a tent peg through his temple! That day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites.” Judges 4:17-24 

Those who wrote the little Bible commentary I could find on Jael didn’t seem to know what to do with her. They either lump her into Deborah’s story or they focus on how gruesome, heinous and un-ladylike her deed was. I have a different take. I think God included the story of Deborah and Jael in His Book for a very specific reason. Together they show what the men of Israel were NOT doing.

In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 17:6

Every man did what was right in his own eyes. The men were not doing what was right so God chose to use women. Moses and Joshua had told the people what to do with the enemy:

  • you must destroy them totally
  • you must destroy all the peoples
  • completely destroy them

The men had not followed God’s directions. They had not killed off the evil people occupying the land but settled down, living side by side with them. Just as God warned, His Chosen People picked up the ways of the world around them. “Faithfulness to God results in His blessings while disobedience results in failure and discipline.” (The Study Bible for Women) They were now under a curse.

But Sometimes YOU Have to Take Action

Yes, the battle belongs to the Lord but sometimes YOU have to take action. In Judges 4 and 5 God raises up two women to “get ‘r done.” Deborah showed us one part of God’s will. She spoke God’s Word to the people and took action – going with a timid soldier to battle, encouraging him, telling him when to attack and watching God act on their behalf.

But God used Jael to complete the victory (and fulfill the prophecy to Barak that a woman would get the credit for the victory!) When Jael took a tent peg and hammered it through Sisera’s skull, she was using the the only weapon she had on hand. “In those days everything connected with a tent was a woman’s job and the women became expert in all the phases of making, pitching and striking tents. (Herbert Lockyer). “The opportunity to do something great for God is often preceded by everyday responsibilities faithfully performed.” (the Study Bible for Women)

In killing Sisera, Jael did what the men of Israel had not done – she obeyed God and completely destroyed the enemy. And while her act of violence makes us flinch, we know she was righteous because Deborah praises her in Judges chapter 5.

Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, most blessed of tent-dwelling women.
He asked for water, and she gave him milk; in a bowl fit for nobles she brought him curdled milk.
Her hand reached for the tent peg, her right hand for the workman’s hammer. 
She struck Sisera, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced his temple.
At her feet he sank, he fell; there he lay.
At her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell—dead.

“Usually the man has been responsible for leadership. But in this passage, a woman was the leader. God does not always work according to a set pattern. He is looking for people who are willing to be used as instruments in any way He chooses. (Deborah & Jael) simply lived up to (their) responsibilities.” (Gien Karssen)

How is Jesus Involved in the Story of Jael?

This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance:
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”
—and I am the worst of them. 1 Timothy 1:15

Jesus came to save us from our sins. Sin rapidly destroys individuals, families and nations. So what’s the problem? The problem is that we like some of our sins. We invite them in. We give them a glass of warm milk, nurture them and cover them with a rug. We pet them and coddle them instead of killing those sins dead – nailing them to the floor – nailing them to the cross. Jesus gives us the ability to NOT sin. So when we find ourselves falling prey to our flesh and the world around us, we have to get savage with our sin.

Romans 6 (HCSB) – The New Life in Christ – Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that…we too may walk in a new way of life… our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin…So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace…. 

Questions to Ponder

  1. What sins are you coddling instead of nailing to the floor?
  2. Psalm 51:3 says: “For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me.” Are you aware of your sin? You don’t know what you don’t know. Are you brave enough to ask God to make you conscious of your own rebellion – to be able to see your own sin?
  3. To help you see your own sin, check out this Charles Finney Sermon. Are you willing to “break up your fallow ground?”

Prayer:

Lord, help me do the work of self examination. Help me look at my life, consider my actions, and call up the past. Help me take up my individual sins one by one, and look at them. I do not want to merely glance at my past, see that it has been full of sins, and then go to God and make a sort of general, weak, watered-down confession. That is not the path to freedom. Help me take up my sins one by one – to get a pen and paper and write them down as You bring them to my mind. My sins were committed one by one; and I need to repent of them one by one. So, Lord, I ask the Holy Spirit to show me sins and help me repent. Right here. Right now. Amen.

The Bottom Line

Things I learned from Jael: Sin is seductive. I need to get violent with the sin in my life.