18 And Jael came out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord; turn aside to me; do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. 20 And he said to her, “Stand at the opening of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’”
21 But 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.
22 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.
23 So on that day God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the people of Israel. 24 And the hand of the people of Israel pressed harder and harder against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they destroyed Jabin king of Canaan. (ESV)
You can be sure that nobody ever took a nap around Jael again! Just as Deborah prophesied, Barak would have victory over Jabin, but the glory and credit would go to a woman. When you read the first bit of this sequence, you think maybe that Deborah was saying she would get the glory instead of Barak. That wasn’t the case. Deborah knew what God told her but didn’t get proud by imagining the details too soon.
This whole story is full of humble people. Deborah sent Barak even though she wasn’t sure she’d have any part in the victory. Barak led 10,000 men into battle knowing that he would get any glory for the victory. Sometimes we think we know what God is doing, or what He wants us to do, and we play it out too much. Instead of following His guidance with baby steps, we get delusions of grandeur and think it’s going to be something really huge. Ok, maybe it’s just me.
God was at work in the family of Heber the Kenite as he moved away from his family. God was at work in the Israelites to become frustrated under King Jabin and God was at work in Barak to unite 10,000 from 2 different tribes. God was at work in Sisera to bring about his downfall and of course, God was at work in Jael as she brought deliverance to Israel with a hammer and a nail.
God is doing a lot in your neighborhood, in your city, in your state, in your country, and in your world. It’s ever little part of us participating in it that brings deliverance to God’s people. I hope none of us have the messy tent peg job, but we all surely have the jobs of encouraging each other, doing our calling with diligence, and working together as God gifts us with talent to do His will.