I’ve spent a few days studying Judges 4 and 5. It’s the story of Deborah, the only female among the twelve judges listed in the book. It’s the story of Barak, the Israelite man who was too afraid to go to war against the king of Canaan’s army unless Deborah came with him. And it’s the story of Jael, a Kenite woman. She and her husband pitched their tent near the city of Kebesh.
And she became the unlikely hero.
I’ve wrestled with this passage. Pulled thick books off the shelf and dug in deep. Read articles and commentaries. I learned a lot of things, but ultimately, it was Jael’s role that struck me the most.
Jael was ordinary. She wasn’t a prophetess like Deborah and she didn’t have a specific divine calling like Barak. She was just an ordinary woman going about her ordinary life.
As member of a nomadic tribe, Jael was used to pulling up tent pegs and hammering them back in elsewhere. She was strong. Tough. Moving was a way of life. It was routine.
So was cooking and caring for her husband. So when Sisera, the leader of the king of Canaan’s army showed up on her doorstep, she invited him into her ordinary. He asked for water and she gave him milk and curds. He was exhausted and afraid, so she tucked him under a rug and let him sleep. She used what she had on hand to make Sisera feel safe. It’s the perfect picture of a feminine nurturer.
And then she drove a tent peg through his head.
Barak and his men defeated the enemy army. Jael defeated its general.
Jael didn’t have a visitation from an angel giving her a divine commission. She didn’t have a dream in the middle of the night. And although Deborah prophesied to Barak, no one came to Jael and told her what she needed to do.
God used her in the situation she was in and with the skills that she had. Just an ordinary woman living her ordinary life.
A life that echoes through history.
We make it so complicated sometimes. Maybe it’s just me? I used to get so caught up in wanting to do “extraordinary” things for God. I thought I needed a special prophetic word, a divine revelation reassuring me that I was destined for greatness.
I’m not even sure why. Bad theology? Insecurity?
But it’s enough to serve Jesus in the ordinary. To make myself available to Him as I work diligently at the humble tasks that make up daily routine. To love the people that God has given me to love. To tune my ears to the whisper of the Holy Spirit and follow His leading as I go about the day.
To be ready, in season and out of season, and to make the most of every opportunity.
The Bible is clear that the Body is made up of many parts. Some are called to be the head, the hands, the feet. Others serve quietly in the background. All have purpose.
Those diapers you change? They matter. The prayers you whisper as you hold your crying baby in the middle of the night have power. Those children you teach on Sunday morning will carry the lessons they’ve learned deep-down wherever they go in life. Those friends you invite for dinner leave with full tummies and fuller hearts. Every testimony you share in passing has significance.
We make ripples.
We make echoes.
When we serve Jesus by simply doing what’s in front of us to do. What He’s given us to do.
Those everyday routines hold significance. God is calling you to make a difference right where you’re at.
God can use you.
Even if you’re ordinary.