Although the events in the Old Testament were historical events that have meaning in themselves, many times they are also pictures of a spiritual reality from which we can learn practical lessons for our lives today. What can we learn about solving problems from Jael?
At the time this historical story takes place, Israel had been under cruel oppression for 20 years. They had rejected God and walked in rebellion [Jud. 4:1-3]. Sometimes we think, as Christians, that God is always on our side no matter what we do. This is a deception. Disobedience and rebellion will lead to judgment. The Corinthian Christians were told by Paul that some of them were sick and some had even died because they did not honour the Communion Table [1 Cor. 11:29-31]. Ananias and Sapphira were put to death by the Holy Spirit for lying to Him [Acts 5]. These are serious issues and we cannot think that we will escape if we take the things of God lightly.
We also see that one of the reasons God allows oppression and judgment is to bring us to a point of desperation so that we will seek Him [Jud. 4:3]. We would avoid a lot of unnecessary problems if only we would learn to seek Jesus as hard in the good times as we do in the bad times.
However, God does not ignore our cries. He is compassionate and merciful. When we return to Him, He will forgive and bring restoration [Jud. 4:14-16, James 5:15-16]. That does not mean that we escape all consequences. There may still be things we have to walk through, damages to others that we will have repair, scars to be born and problems to be solved.
Notice, that God did not miraculously deliver the Israelites from their oppressors with no effort on their part. They had to form the army. They had to march into battle against a vastly larger army who possessed superior weapons and training. It was an act of faith on their part for everything from the natural perspective said they were marching to their deaths. God did perform a miracle by giving them the victory, but they would not have experienced it with exhibiting faith and obedience - the opposite of what had gotten them into trouble in the first place.
Even so, Jesus may require actions on our part to confirm the genuineness of our repentance. We may have to demonstrate our faith and commitment in order to receive our deliverance. This is not a formula, but Jesus’ work in each individual life is unique. What He requires from one He may not require from another [Mark 10:21]. The common link is that rebellion and false gods must go!
1. Jael was not afraid to confront her enemy [Jud. 4:18]. She went out to meet Sisera. We need to face problems and struggles head on. Many times we are tempted to ignore them and hope they will go away. Often that only makes the situation worse. We cannot back away afraid of what might happen. We must prayerfully move ahead using the principles of the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to achieve the best possible result.
In our modern era people are taught to choose their actions by what makes them feel good. They want to avoid mental or physical pain and that desire for avoidance determines their actions. No one wants pain, of course, but actions must be based on the Word of God and what is right in the eyes of Jesus not if it will bring us pain. We need to be willing to endure suffering, if needed, for doing the right thing [1 Peter 3:14].
2. Jael was creative in handling her dangerous situation. She deceived Sisera into thinking she was on his side while determining this evil man’s downfall [Jud. 4:18-20]. So when we face our problems and struggles we need to use wisdom. Not every situation can be dwelt with the same way. Sometimes the straightforward approach is needed. Sometimes we have to proceed with tact and diplomacy. And at other times we need to keep our true intentions hidden until the appropriate time.
3. When the time comes to deal with our situation we need to deal with it decisively and finally. Jael nailed Sisera’s head to the ground [Jud. 4:21]. There was no way this man was coming back to haunt her or the people of God. Sometimes in dealing with problems we stop before they are completely dealt with. We don’t want to push too hard or too deep. We are satisfied with surface solutions which bring temporary peace. Not so with Jael. This problem was solved…forever. We need to press for real and permanent answers even when it is a harder and more painful route.
4. Jael showed Barak what she had done [Jud. 4:22]. We need to give God the glory for what He has allowed us to accomplish. The truth is every victory is only possible because Jesus is fighting with us. We need to be careful to avoid self-glorification. And by sharing what we have gone through and how the victory was achieved it may be an encouragement to others facing similar struggles [1 For. 10:13].