Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Watch Where You Step

"But Jael, Heber's wife picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground and he died." Judges 4:21.

Wow...no Three Strike Rule or special consideration for a first offense. Jael knew how to get her point across when it came to a violation of her boundaries. Watch where you step buddy!

This incident can leave you scratching your head; what's up with this crazy lady? Showing up at her home could be fatal. So much for Bedouin hospitality, you'd be better off going to your enemy's camp.

The story is all about boundaries, and even if violating someone's could save your life, your decision to do so just might be lethal. Ask Sisera.

The crux of the story is found in Judges 4:17. Sisera was defeated in battle and forced to run for his life. He sought protection at the home of Heber, a friend of King Jabin who was Sisera's boss. For some unusual reason Sisera sought refuge in the tent of Jael, Heber's wife. In that culture, a big NO-NO.

At that time only a woman's husband or father could enter her tent, no other males were allowed. Sisera may have been counting on the fact that no one searching for him would dream of violating the sanctity of Jael's tent to look for him.

The Bible does imply that he entered with Jael's permission. Why she did this isn't clear; to do so was to sign her own death warrant. Why did Sisera single her out and not go to the main tent of Heber? Better yet, where was the camp sentry whose job was to watch for visitors and direct them to the proper place? Perhaps caught off guard, Jael had reason to fear for her life and the lives of her family if she resisted. After all, Sisera was the highest ranking official in the king's army. We just don't know.

What's clear is that Jael didn't take this breach of etiquette lightly. Her reaction was extreme and the lesson to learn is an important one. Dire circumstances do not warrant disrespecting others, violating their boundaries and putting them in danger. Sisera would have known the predicament he'd placed Jael in, but he didn't care. He considered his life more important than her's. She disagreed.

How about you? Have you been tempted to overstep and encroach on someone's boundaries in order to save yourself? What negative repercussions followed your actions? What safeguards can you put in place in your own life to see that you don't do this again?

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