But when Sisera fell asleep from exhaustion, Jael quietly crept up to him with a hammer and tent peg in her hand. Then she drove the tent peg through his temple and into the ground, and so he died. (Judges 4:21)
Relate: “This isn’t my war.” That is what an ordinary woman named Jael could have said. The Israelites had been commanded to drive the Canaanites out of the land. That was too much work and now, a couple generations later, it was those same Canaanites who were driving the Israelites under. God raised up Deborah and Barak and in a miraculous battle they put the Canaanite general named Sisera to flight. This war was between those Israelites and the Canaanites. Jael was from a third group, the Kenites, who were on good relations with both sides. I guess you could say they were Switzerland.
At least, that is what Sisera thought. In his flight from the battle he should not have lost hiding in the tent of a Kenite woman named Jael. She gave him comforting words, a decent meal, and then a place to lay his head. He thought he was safe. She, however, knew that neutrality cannot exist when injustice and oppression are at stake. Yes, I said stake on purpose. Let me say it again. Jael decided to raise the stakes and, well, she hit the nail on the head.
React: Jael could have said, “It’s not my business. This isn’t my war.” She saw how Jabin, Sisera, and company were oppressing the Israelites. She knew what was happening, but it was not effecting the Kenites. Yes, they had relations and history with the Israelites, but they were also on good terms with the Canaanites. Why upset that balance. No matter who came out on top, the Kenites would be fine, but if Jael killed Sisera only for Jabin to raise up another general who beat the Israelites and then turned on her people to get revenge? Why risk it?
Yes, there are 27 million slaves in the world today but they aren’t in my town. Yes, there is injustice and oppression in places like Syria, Kurdistan, Somalia and many more, but they don’t impact me here in the US (or Canada, the UK, the West or Australia). Yes, the Dalits live under constant oppression, Christians in Nigeria fear the terror of Boko Haram, and women in pretty much the entire Muslim world but why should I be involved? “This isn’t my war.” Hogwash. If we are Christian than it is our war. Just look at the words and actions of Jesus. When speaking and dealing with the outcast and the marginalized He always speaks with love and compassion. He saved his most scathing remarks for the comfortably religious. So we have the same choice as Jael. Will we sit back and do nothing or will we follow our Savior’s example and raise the stakes? Is this my war?
Please, please don’t ever let me say, “That’s not my war.” Give me a deeper passion for justice and help me to seek and find opportunities to make an impact just as Jael lured Sisera instead of just letting him run by. Help me to be intentional about spreading justice both in my community and around the world. Most of all help me to never forget that the most crucial human right is that everyone deserves to hear and adequate and relevant presentation of the gospel. This along with water, freedom, and equity are human rights that cannot be denied and which we all must be actively about. This is my war, God. Help me to fight it well.