Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
As the Israelites repeat their pattern — sin, find themselves in bondage, cry to God for help, get a judge, be saved, repeat — the next judge in line is Deborah. With Deborah, there are some interesting parallels between how she delivers the Israelites and how Jesus Christ obtained my salvation.
First, Deborah did not fight. In verse 6, she summons Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and tells him that God has delivered their oppressor into his hand. It is Barak who leads the armies of the Israelites into battle and on to victory. It is Jael who delivers the killing blow to the commander of the oppressor’s armies. Isaiah 53 is sometimes called the “Suffering Servant” passage, as it recounts how the Messiah will suffer in order to save. To obtain deliverance, neither Christ nor Deborah fought.
Second, the act that brought deliverance was committed by Israelites allied with Gentiles. Jael — the woman who delivers the killing blow to Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite armies — is the wife of a Kenite. The Kenites were the tribe of Moses’ second father-in-law (his first father-in-law was a Midianite) and the Kenites, like the priests who will later call for Jesus’ crucifixion, had made their peace with those who oppressed them.
Third, deliverance is accomplished with a hammer and a nail. Jael kills Sisera by driving a tent peg (the word “peg” could also be translated “nail”) through Sisera’s head (vv 17-22). The Romans nailed Jesus to the cross and it was on that cross that salvation was accomplished.
Fourth and finally, Jael’s method of killing Sisera sounds to me like an echo of the curse on the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Jael kills Sisera by driving the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground (v 21). The curse handed down back in Genesis 3:15 includes this: [The seed of the woman] shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel. The serpent will cause injury, but nothing too serious. The seed of the woman will kill the serpent. In that tent, I hear an echo of the curse handed down back in Genesis.
This deliverance reminds me that I am not in this alone. Deborah did not effect the deliverance of Israel herself, but was commissioned to call another to fight. Jesus, my Lord and the pattern on which I am to base my faith and life, did not effect salvation by fighting, but by submitting. I, too, am often told by God that the fight is not mine, but His and that the way to victory in some area of my life is not fighting but submitting to the Father and His will.
Thank You, Father, for this reminder that the fight is not mine, but Yours. Please work in me to walk more closely after the pattern of Your Son every day.