Now Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between King Jabin of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite. Jael came out to meet Sisera, and said to him, ‘Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; have no fear.’ So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug.
Reflection by Janet Derby
This is the continuation of a difficult story. Jael is clearly a hidden hero in the Bible, but not a story that I want to include in this year’s VBS. It seems that Jael is welcoming Sisera, but she is actually setting him up. So, what kind of message can we glean from this story, and other violent stories from the Hebrew Scriptures? Perhaps we need not take them quite so literally. Jael clearly is courageous and shows us how to fight our spiritual battles head-on. By fulfilling Deborah’s prophecy that Sisera would fall by the hand of a woman, she also teaches us that we should not make assumptions about people based on stereotypes. God never seems to surprise us. Remembering that will help us to be open to God’s word at all times.
God of Wonder, Thank you for reminding us that we should be aware of all the ways you act in the world. Help me to have the courage to step outside my comfort zone to do your will. Amen.