We meet two women with very different perspectives about this man, Sisera. His mother and the woman who killed him. It’s a bit interesting that Jael wasn’t even one of the Israelites being oppressed. However, we understand that her people, the Kenites, were allies with the Israelites and had some family tie back to Moses. Yet, her tribe was also known to be on friendly terms with Sisera’s boss, the king!
Jael was in an interesting place to be sure. We know that Deborah spoke God’s plan aloud to Barak that the victory would come at the hand of a woman. We can then be confident God knew in advance he would be using Jael that day. I’m not sure Jael got out of bed that day thinking she would be the “most blessed among women.”
And I thought Deborah was going to be the hero of the story! In our last reading, you’ll recall a conversation between our current judge, Deborah, and her military leader recruit, Barak. When she said that God’s victory would be at the hands of a woman, didn’t you imagine she was talking about herself? Or was it just me?
Actually, I had been waiting for the story of Jael. I had forgotten where it fell in the timeline of God’s story. There is a lot we can learn from Jael. She turned fear into triumph! But she didn’t do it on her own. God had already planned it, and whether or not Deborah knew “who” the woman would be, God had shared with her ahead of time that victory would involve a woman.
Jesus knew the cross was coming. He knew the agony that awaited Him. Keep that in mind as you read these words from Jesus’ final hours. You may even want to read the entire chapter for a richer understanding. Read the whole chapter here Luke 22.
What spoke to me today was how often we fall asleep like the disciples. How many times have we missed the message from God we were supposed to hear because we were too busy making our own plans. How many times have we fallen prey to the temptations of the world closing in around us?
We have probably all wondered a time or two during our lives (or maybe even on a daily basis) if we’re living in God’s will for us. Certainly, he has the greatest vision of all. He can see our whole life and knows our potential. Living inside us, giving us power beyond our comprehension, he has great plans for each of us. It’s only when we get in the way that his plans take a nose dive.
So how do we know what God’s will is for us? That is the best question of all time. It certainly should be one that we are asking on a regular basis. Today, Paul’s counsel to the Thessalonians gives them insight into what that can mean. It’s not the whole story, but we can be certain of this. “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
God sees it all. The good and the bad. In the case of our reading today, we learn of a man named Achan. Surely, his claim to fame in this story is nothing to be proud of. Did he seriously think he could do what the Lord had forbidden and be okay? His belief in God must have been a little shaky. His trust was in his own abilities, and his desires for wealth or prestige must have totally clouded his good sense.
Now, it’s easy for us to point fingers at Achan, isn’t it? We’re probably wondering how he could have done such a thing. But how often have we stretched the truth, broken a commandment, or dishonored God in some way only to try and keep our sins hidden from view. Maybe those around us are oblivious, but the one who counts is God. He sees it all.