Lessons from Jael on God's Chosen Vessels

If I asked most people to think of a warrior woman mentioned in Judges 4 and 5, I am pretty sure that most minds would go straight to Deborah. However, she is not the only woman of valour detailed in this particular part of the Bible. There is another and her name is Jael. She has much to teach us about the fact that God can and will use anybody as His chosen vessel. By the way, if you prefer to listen rather than continue to read, feel free to play the audio below. You can also download it and share it with anyone else you feel would benefit from it:

In the beginning of Judges 4 we are told that the children of Israel had been “harshly oppressed” by Jabin, the King of Canaan, for twenty years as a result of their sin (Judges 4:1-3). They therefore cried out to the Lord who sent His answer via Deborah, a judge and prophetess. On hearing God’s word, she sent for a man named Barak and told him that the Lord wanted him to gather ten thousand men and go to war against Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army. She also assured him that God would defeat Sisera through him however Barak refused to go to battle without her (Judges 4:6-8). Deborah therefore agreed to go along with him but prophesied that “there would be no glory for [Barak] in the journey [that he was] taking, for the Lord [would] sell Sisera into the hand of a woman”.

As predicted when Barak’s army battled against Sisera’s, they totally kicked butt- to the point that “all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword [and] not a man was left”. Not a man was left, except Sisera that is, who managed to dismount his horse and run away on foot to the tent of Jael (Judges 4:17).

Jael was the wife of Heber who was a Kenite, the same ethnic group that Moses' father-in-law (Jethro) had been from (Judges 4:11). When Sisera got to her tent she invited him in and he entered without fear because “there was peace between Jabin…and the house of Heber”. Jael showed Sisera great hospitality. For example, she gave him milk when he asked for “a little water” and covered him with blankets when he lay down to rest, being weary from battle (Judges 4:18-19). Just before he fell asleep, Sisera instructed Jael to stand at the door of the tent and lie to any man who appeared to be looking for him, to which she seemed to agree (Judges 4:20). Despite this, once Jael saw that he was in a deep sleep, she took a tent peg and hammer, crept over to Sisera and drove the peg into his temple- so far that “it went down into the ground”. Thus Deborah’s prophesy, that Sisera would die at the hand of a woman, was fulfilled. Due to Jael’s actions, the children of Israel won their battle for freedom against King Jabin and “had rest [in their land] for forty years”.

This event in Jael’s life reveals a series of lessons, the first of which is that God will always fulfil His word. It may not be in line with our idea of perfect timing, however He “is not a man that He should lie;" His word does not return to Him void but accomplishes what He pleases (Isaiah 55:11).

Further to this, at this point in time women did not usually go to war; therefore, Barak’s insistence that Deborah came to battle with him was hugely unorthodox. Women were also considered second class citizens and incapable of many things compared to men; so there would not have been many (if any) trained in combat. Therefore, the prospect of a woman being able to kill an experienced commander of an army was a strange one. Yet this is exactly what happened. What was even more unexpected is that this woman was not actually Hebrew, being a Kenite. As such, Jael shows us that God will use absolutely anybody to bring His will about. God tends to bypass the people that man would think are the most qualified to manifest His word in favour of those that man would overlook. He literally chooses:

“the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise…the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and [choses] the base things of the world and the things which are despised…that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1st Corinthians 1:27)

In other words, God chooses imperfect people to be conduits of His will so that He can extend His grace to them and display His glory through them (2nd Corinthians 12:9-10). He sees our potential in Him, which is why it is important that we don’t disqualify ourselves from going towards the things that we know that He has called us be, do or have. For “with God all things are possible”.

So what about you, lovely? If God has given you a word or vision, I want you to keep the faith that He will be faithful to complete it. I also want you to recognise that you are capable of bringing the word that God has given you to pass. There is no need to wait for someone else to fight your battles- Jael didn’t. Your imperfections and disadvantages do not disqualify you from doing something great for God. Rather, it makes you a perfect candidate for Him to show His glory through. The fact is, if God could use Jael to free the children of Israel and bring peace to their land, He can use you for whatever He has called you to do too. Want to know how?