Summers in Michigan are best when they are spent by a lake and when I was growing up my family did a lot of lakeside camping. Meals around a campfire, waterskiing, and catching fireflies are all wonderful childhood memories. The experience of living from time-to-time in a tent blessed me to better connect with a tent-dwelling woman of the Old Testament.
After Joshua died, having served the Lord faithfully, there was still more of the Promised Land to conquer. Unfortunately, this conquest did not go well. By embracing pagan influences the Israelites allow themselves to be led astray and immediately the people of God found themselves far from Him. Time after time though, as they repented, God continued to provide for them. God told Deborah (the nation’s judge at that time) that He would bring about the victory they needed. However, when Israel’s commander Barak, heard the battle plan he balked. God was not thwarted and used a woman to achieve the goal in an intriguing manner.
Jael was very brave, strong and yet gentle. When Sisera the fleeing enemy commander approached her tent for a respite, Jael tended his needs by offering milk to drink and a blanket to make him feel cozy. When he fell asleep exhausted from battle, she softly entered the tent and drove a tent peg through his temple with a hammer. Jael accomplished what a mighty military army failed to do and Sisera lay dead at her feet. Deborah wrote a song praising Jael and giving the glory to God for the victory.
I re-pictured Jael’s story while pitching a tent for a camping weekend with my sisters and their families in the summer of 2012. My reflection on this interesting part of God’s Story, is to use the tools God provides us so we can faithfully serve Him. I hope my tools will not be hammers and tent pegs, but that is what they were for Jael and she was blessed for using them. “Jael is most blessed of women, the wife of Heber the Kenite; she is most blessed among tent-dwelling women.”