Yesterday I read the story of Deborah. When reading the story, I always expect that I ought to learn something from Deborah herself or at least be inspired. This time I wasn’t. God had me meditating on a different character in the story. It was Jael who caught my attention. Now she was a leader!
In the story, she is the wife of Heber whose family had made an alliance with Israel’s enemy. One can only imagine that when the Canaanites conquered the land of Israel, Heber’s family decided to protect themselves by making an agreement with the enemy. The agreement didn’t give them freedom, but it at least gave them the allusion of protection.
In the story, Jael makes an independent decision. She decides to fight for freedom instead of betraying her people to the enemy. When the commander of the Canaanite troops arrives at her door, she makes him comfortable. After he falls fast asleep in the comfort of her home, she takes a tent peg and a hammer and kills him with them.
Because she chose to step out of the alliance her family made with the enemy, she becomes the hero in the story of the freedom of an entire nation.
Neither you nor I have a physical enemy in the way that Jael did. Neither of our families has made an alliance with an enemy of America so as to protect us and destroy America.
But each of our families at one time or another has made an alliance with habitual sin – often it is secret. It could be sexual abuse that is happening or has happened. It might be someone who rules the roost with an iron fist while the emotional well-being of no one else in the family is considered. Maybe it is alcoholism, materialism, or fear. Perhaps it is anger that consistently explodes from someone as though unable to be controlled. Maybe it is excessive lying. I once had someone who told me, “You would call it dishonesty.” All I could think in my head was, “That is because it is dishonest.” But this person had made an alliance with dishonesty. There was a great big gray area painted between truth and lies. Everything became okay in their attempt to live the story they wanted to be true about themselves.
Today each of us has the freedom to be Jael. We can step out of alliances with the enemy and step into freedom. We can say, “No more!” to the sins and lies that are destroying our homes and communities. We can take a stand and put to death the works of darkness.
I can’t help but wonder what happened when Jael’s husband came home that evening. “You did what!? You killed our friend! Have you no idea how we benefited from our alliance with him? He protected us!”
Or perhaps the character of Heber was such that he was immediately excited to be in some kind of spotlight even if not a wholly positive one. Maybe the allusion of fame appeased his wrath.
Today each of us will be faced with the choice of living in bondage to sin or risk making “Heber” (those who have chosen to excuse, enable and propagate sin) angry.
My prayer is that everyone who reads this post chooses risking anger for the sake of freedom. Step out of the bondage of generational sin into the marvelous healing of God’s wonderful light!
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 3Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:34-36
*The story of Jael is found in Judges 4.