Strange Weapons Lesson 2: The Peg (introduction and narrative)

March 18, 2011 at 11:55 am | Posted in Strange Weapons | 7 Comments
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Strange Weapons: A Prod, a Peg, and a Pitcher

Lesson Two: The Peg

[In Lesson One, I renamed Shamgar’s ox-goad a “prod” (as in cattle prod). Now I’m going to call Jael’s “nail” a tent “peg” – even though, where I’m from, “Jael” and “nail” rhyme.]

Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

Judges 4:21

Both Shamgar’s prod and Jael’s peg were strange weapons, even though the days recorded in the Book of Judges were not such strange days. In fact, they were eerily similar to our “days,” in the sense that people were generally doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.

Judges 4:1-2

It appears that Jabin was king of the Canaanites, but his captain, Sisera, who had 900 chariots of iron, was the one who really terrorized the Israelites. He did not, however, terrorize their God:

And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.

Judges 4:15-16

This battle took place in the area around Mount Megiddo where – according to Revelation 16:16 – the battle of Armageddon will be fought. There were a number of Biblical battles fought at this location, and it is also the place where Napoleon defeated the Turks under similar circumstances in 1799. God sent a storm, the river overflowed, and the chariots bogged down and got stuck in the muddy and drenched ground.

Barak (who shares a name with our current U.S. President) wiped out Sisera’s army as they fled on foot. Sisera himself, however, escaped to the the village of Heber the Kenite, and to the tent of a lady named Jael. Which brings us to…

And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.

Judges 4:18

The “mantle” was sort of a blanket (maybe one of those “snuggies?”). Sisera was tired and he wanted to hide.

And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.

Judges 4:19

The “milk” was sort of like what we would call “half and half” or “yogurt” – it was possibly fermented. Jael tucked in Sisera with his milk and his blankie and put him “night-night.”

Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No.

Judges 4:20

Sisera asked Jael to lie for him.

Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

Judges 4:21

Jael, whose job, as a woman in a tribe of nomadic desert-dwelling people in those days, would have been to regularly take down and put up the tent in addition to other hard physical types of labor, was probably big and strong (with arms like the Arm and Hammer Baking Soda man).

arm and hammer

The name “Jael” meant “mountain goat,” so it’s kind of hard to envision her as petite and dainty.

And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.

Judges 4:22-23

There is a tendency here to feel a little sorry for Sisera, considering he was on the run, desperate, and hunted. He turned to this woman for help, and she coaxed him to sleep and slammed a tent peg through his brain!

Jael and Sisera

But before we feel too sorry for Sisera and start being too critical of Jael, we need to remember that if Sisera had won the battle against the Israelites, or if he had escaped and raised another army, or if he had been able to come back with reinforcements, he and his men would have raped the women and taken all their valuables.

Jael’s weapon – her tent peg – was a strange weapon in her day. So too are the weapons of our spiritual warfare in our day. Next time, I want to make three comparisons between the peg and the spiritual weapons we must wield against our enemy who has come to kill, steal, and destroy.

The Cleansing Fountain

May 13, 2010 at 11:43 am | Posted in Zechariah | 3 Comments
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In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

Zechariah 13:1

Zechariah prophesied about a fountain that would cleanse God’s people from their sins.

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

William Cowper

Unlike earthly water, this blood cleanses the heart, and it will cleanse the people from their desire to worship false idols and follow false prophets.

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

Zechariah 12:2-3

Here we see the nations preparing to drink the cup of Jerusalem, but the contents make them sick and drunk. This describes the campaign of Armageddon.

For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Zechariah 14:2

The nations will invade and find an immovable rock that will cut them to pieces. This is the result:

And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

Zechariah 14:9

The geography will change and the land will be healed.

All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

Zechariah 14:10-11

The Lord will be worshiped at Jerusalem.

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Zechariah 14:16

Safety will be the order of the day.

And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

Zechariah 14:11

There will be true justice.

And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Zechariah 14:18

Holiness will be the norm.

In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.

Zechariah 14:20-21

Zechariah, following the great comforting pattern of Bible prophecy, gives us wondrous promises to keep us looking to God.

Professing Atheists Despise the Idea of Answering to Their Creator

May 7, 2009 at 11:00 am | Posted in ProfessingAtheists | 9 Comments
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Professing Atheist: Super – the furher gets to make his own rules – why am I not surprised? There goes objective morality.

God is perfect and yet I can be better than him (look, I’m saving kids from burning to death… and God appears to be doing, er nothing?)

Christian: If the fuhrer had God’s power, that WOULD be horrifying, but you are having difficulty because you are too limited in your thinking. There is no danger of God being unjust like the fuhrer. I John 1:5: “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

Professing atheists have such a hard time facing reality. When God, in His absolute sovereignty, uses a human instrument or divine providence to save a child from burning to death, they complain because they believe He didn’t save them all. Once again, proving the point: Professed atheism = Willful hatred of God because He can’t be fully explained by the finite mind.

Professing Atheist: Design argument. God did it isn’t an answer, dude – it merely begs the question. It is a bit like saying “the tea pot did it.” How? “It is a magic tea pot.”

Christian: The professing atheist hates God partly because he/she wants to be a little god himself/herself. He/she says, “I’m a little teapot, short (short-sighted – Mark 8:36), and stout (stiffnecked – Acts 7:51), here is my handle (the idol of false intellect which has hands but handles not – Psalm 115:4-7), here is my spout (spouting off uselessly in unbelief – Matthew 6:7), tip me over, and pour me out (his mouth pouring out foolishness – Proverbs 15:2 – and, ultimately, unless he/she receives the gift of God’s salvation by faith, being poured upon – Revelation 16:1).

Professing Atheist: In today’s radio broadcast Big Brother assured the nation that he was indeed a paragon of goodness. He assured his audience that there was no evidence to the contrary, and that if they found any their senses were deceiving them.

Remember – have faith in the party, faith in the cause, faith in the people, and above all faith in Big Brother.

Christian: One day, Jesus of Nazareth stood up in a busy corner of the marketplaces of Capernaum. People were rushing to and fro, not in an imaginary totalitarian society, but in a real time and place where they could be put to death for speaking out against Rome.

This Jesus began to speak openly, and He said a remarkable thing. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Well over one thousand nine hundred eighty-four years later, those words still ring true.

Professing atheists would like to portray themselves as people who are being oppressed by Christians, but, in reality, they live in such freedom from persecution, that they have to actually seek out Christians who will “force” the truth of Scripture upon them.

Only the Lord knows what was truly on George Orwell’s heart when he died, but history records that his two main concerns were that he be buried near a church and that his body not be cremated. One wonders if he would have had such misplaced anxiety if he had accepted the invitation which followed Jesus’s pronouncement: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29

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