Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.
If ever a chapter need not to be read as a method to follow it’s this one. Tent pegs have a different role in the church’s relations with the world today. Deborah and Jael both act with what God has given them: Deborah uses her influence and acts with the shrewdness to compromise her plan and the integrity not to compromise God’s word of prophecy. Jael acts with wisdom that is alert to the opportunity that God has created.
Deborah is full of what the Bible means by wisdom: God-fearing savvy. She knows how people work, how society configures around the powerful; she understands the egos of the men of Israel. She can flex when she hears Barak’s conditions, though they conflict with her own scheme. She is unyielding when she has to deliver a prophecy from God, though it means rebuking the man of power. To the one she listens with obedience, to all others she both listens and speaks as a consequence of that first listening. The first task of the Christian leader is to know who to listen to.
Jael uses her wits, seizing the moment and thus the hammer. Sisera is a tired fugitive, alone in a hot and hostile land, who happens upon a friendly face. He wouldn’t even have know what was happening. Jael is quick-thinking, brave and demonstrates a deeper loyalty to the Lord’s people than to the friendship with Jabin of her husband’s clan. No wonder the next chapter prays ‘Most blessed of women be Jael. Her wisdom is not the ponderous and hesitant apology for wisdom that we often display: fear dressed up as caution and falsely labelled virtue. She acts fast because the moment demands it.
Lord, grant me the wisdom to use what comes to hand today, and to seize the opportunities that you create for serving you.