A man once bought a new radio, brought it home, placed it on the refrigerator, plugged it in, turned it to WSM in Nashville (home of the Grand Ole Opry), and then pulled off the knobs! He was unwilling to experience anything beyond what he knew. As Christians many times we become comfortable with what we know. This keeps us from experiencing the greatness of God. God desires for us to be willing to step out of what is comfortable, expected, and safe and trust him to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can imagine. Being willing positions us to be used by God as an everyday hero. Lets look at a story in Judges that truly expresses the deep willingness of a young lady to do what God desired, no matter the cost.
The narrative is found in Judges 4 and 5, a century or so after Israel had entered the Promised Land, when the ‘Judges’ ruled, and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21. 25). The acknowledged leader of Israel at the time was a woman, Deborah the prophetess. Israel “cried to the Lord” for deliverance, indicating a desire to return to God (Judges 4. 3). Deborah summoned Barak who raise a force of ten thousand men to challenge the Canaanite oppressor.
After losing the battle, Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army, fled to the settlement of Heber the Kenite in the plain of Zaanaim, where he was received by Jael, Heber’s wife. This is where we pick up the story in Judges 4:17.
JUDGES 4:17-2417 But Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael came out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord; turn aside to me; do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. 20 And he said to her, “Stand at the opening of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’” 21 But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died. 22 And behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went in to her tent, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg in his temple. 23 So on that day God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the people of Israel. 24 And the hand of the people of Israel pressed harder and harder against Jabin the king of Canaan, until he was destroyed.
Jael demonstrated a willingness to serve God no matter the cost. Her willingness was a pivotal blow to the Israelite oppressors. Her willingness demonstrated a deep devotion to God, a readiness to be used, and strength to do what was needed. Lets look at each of those characteristics in a little more detail.
BEING DEVOTED TO GOD –
Luke 16:13 ESV
No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
Willingness is a byproduct of deep devotion. When we are devoted to a person, place, or thing we willingly devote our life to its betterment. Jael was devoted to God’s people and wanted Israel to have a chance to turn from their wicked ways and be healed by God. She sacrificed her life (time, talents, and treasures) for God. What are your time, talents, and treasures willingly devoted to? Does it advance God’s Kingdom or something else?
BEING READY TO USE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN –
2 Corinthians 8:12 ESV
For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
Willingness readies us to use what we have. Some of us have a lot, others may have a little, and some of us may not even be aware of what we have. Jael had milk, a tent peg, and a hammer. She didn’t have much, but what she had she was ready to use. Do you know what you’ve been given? Are you ready to take what you’ve been given and use it to bring glory to God?
DOING WHAT THE WORD SAYS –
James 1:22 ESV
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
If we took the time to assess how much of our life is lived out in accordance to God’s Word how would we feel? Is 80%, 50%, maybe 20% truly lined up with scripture? To be doers of God’s word we must know and act on it. Jael believed God’s Word with all her heart, and was willing to do whatever it said. Are we more willing to have academic or life transforming understanding of God’s word?
KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING
Am I willing to decide, in advance, that I will do what God asks me to do, no matter what it is?
Am I abandoned to him and his will, believing he will strengthen me to do all the things he asks?
Do I behave as if I believe I am the final judge of what is best for my life: “God, show me the whole plan, wait for me to understand, and then I’ll decide whether or not to do what you ask”?
(Questions from:John Walker)