It brings on many changes…

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With my foot pressed hard on the accelerator and my car pointed straight toward a 1000 foot drop, I again take a quick inventory of the reasons I should not attempt to kill myself:

“My wife? She’ll divorce me anyway when she finds out all the horrible things I’ve done.”

“My career? What career? Selling hamburgers!” Nothing.

“My son?” I hesitate. “He’ll miss me, but in the long run, he’ll do better in life without me.”

As a guard rail looms in the windshield, I hear a soft voice ask, “Will you go to heaven?”

Many have felt the impact of Robin Williams’ premature death by his own hand. I believe this is a proper reaction, since Mr. Williams was deservedly well-loved by the culture. He was a fine actor, an intelligent man, a hilarious comedian, a good husband, a faithful father, child of God and by all accounts a really nice guy. Add all this to the fact that many in our society identify with depression and you end up with a cultural firestorm regarding this topic.

So to add my half-cent to the discussion, I admitted via social media this past week that I am the survivor of a suicide attempt I made back in 1990. I figured the story might help my friends collectively process their deeply-felt loss of Robin Williams. But in writing the story I have discovered that there are just some details I am not willing to shove out into the light of social media. Instead I would like to reflect on what I have learned over time…

IT DOESN’T HURT WHEN IT BEGINS…

I am not sure depression directly leads one to suicide. Depression is a state of mind involving a cluster of symptoms that can be brought on by many factors, both internal and external. Despair is the complete absence/complete loss of hope, which can also be brought on by many factors, only one of which is depression. In other words, while despair is certainly related to depression, it is something completely different. We can only analyze after the fact from details revealed by his family, but despite battling the disorder for years, it is entirely possible that Robin Williams was not depressed when he took his life. Perhaps he was in a state of despair over something else in his life, like his recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

While I suffered from depression for years, I cannot say unequivocally that I was depressed when sped up to drive my car over a cliff. I may have told you at the time that I was, but on reflection I believe I had entered a state of despair over actions I had taken over a period of years.

Let me be clear. Depression absolutely can lead to despair, and if it does I believe it is a deadly combination. There has been discussion recently over the selfishness of suicide. As one who has tried it, I can say that MY attempt had a selfish component. But once you are in a state of despair your mindset is that everyone else will be better off without you. You cannot see clearly nor process information correctly. Everyone else may be able to see what you have to live for, but when you are in a state of despair, that is just not something you can see.

And from my experience I can add that having someone rehearse all I have to live for is only a read-through of the reasons I should leave. It’s akin to having my arm chopped off and while the blood is draining from my body having someone tell me to just “get over it.”

If you are suffering from depression or despair, if you feel like you have lost all hope, stop reading this stupid blog post and call someone that can REALLY help you. Here are just two resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:                                       800-273-8255

New Hope Counseling Center:                                                  714-NEW-HOPE

If you know someone that is suffering from depression or despair, please assist them with getting professional help. If you are not trained to counsel people when they are in this state, please refrain from say something stupid like, “We love you! Think of all you have to live for!” These things may be objectively true, but you need to first cut through my despair to even be able to argue why I shouldn’t die.” Even if you are not trained, don’t attempt it if the person is close to you. Your training will not overcome your bias.

 THE PAIN GROWS STRONGER, WATCH IT BURN

In my case I did not seek counsel. In a state of despair I worked through my decision while driving up the San Bernardino Mountains after work one day to meet up with my family for the weekend. Nothing I could think of changed the course of action I was contemplating. While accelerating to over 75 mph while approaching a cliff, I audibly heard the question, “Will you go to heaven?” As a Christian I do not believe that suicide cancels my salvation, and the thought of seeing heaven was on the plus, not minus side of finishing the act. But I was surprised to find that I could not answer the question. Since I couldn’t answer the question, I decided to live to find out, but it was almost too late. I was already in the turnout and driving full speed on gravel. I slammed on the brakes and turned the wheel to avoid the cliff, which almost barreled me sideways over the cliff anyway.

Choosing life did not make things better. In fact, things actually got worse for over a year. Later on I could not tell you how old I was without calculating how old I was in 1990 and adding how long it had been since that time. I later found out this is called disassociation – a coping mechanism that our brains employ to deal with traumatic amounts of stress. This one of several reasons I have kept this under wraps.

So that is part of my story. If depression, despair, or suicide have irrevocably marked your life you feel that speaking with me might help you process that, feel free to contact me privately and I will do what I can to help.

It’s Too Easy To Dismiss Hillsong…and Miss Our Shared Problem

I am concerned with reports I am hearing of Hillsong, but this writer sums up nicely the larger and more troubling issue while properly turning the lens away from Hillsong back to our own churches…

mysteryoffaithblog

So, Hillsong declined to publicly declare a position on ‘LGBT issues’.

And the internet was awash with opinions. Some shook their heads in disappointment, because, after all, ‘the Bible is clear’. Others smugly remarked that we shouldn’t expect much from this ‘culturally accommodating’ brand of Christianity. I find neither response particularly helpful or accurate.

First, the response of certainty: ‘A non-answer is an answer.’

I understand this response, and there is some truth to it: a non-answer is indeed an answer.

But it is not saying as much as we might think it is. It does not, for example, (necessarily) mean a ‘shift’ in position. It may simply be a statement about what the church’s mission is: to announce Christ in the pluralistic public square, and to challenge Christians more specifically once they are in the community.

I didn’t read their response as fudging on the what of Christian morality but rather…

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talkin’ ’bout my generation…

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I’m not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation,

I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-g-generation…

I am skeptical that “talkin’ ’bout my generation” is a helpful thing to do. I don’t actually know to which generation I belong. I was born in 1963, a year which by all accounts is on the generational edge. Some experts lump all Boomers into a group of 71 million in the United States alone. Others divide Boomers into two segments, the first starting around 1943 or 1944 and ending at 1954 or 1955, depending on which marketing website you visit. Likewise, the second segment ends in 1960, 1964, or 1965 depending on the analyst. And while Gen-X gets squeezed between Boomers and Millennials, it starts anywhere between 1960-1966 and ends somewhere between 1977 and 1980. I don’t know if I am Boomer, a “Generation Jones” or a member of Gen-X.

Confusing things further is my personal experience, which has been far different from the generalizations made by marketing analysts and sociologists. The choices I made as a teenager prevented me from joining in the affluence of my generation, which along with other factors means that while I actually had the information to join in on the ground floor of Yahoo! and Google, those same choices prevented me from exploiting that information. Add to this the fact that my management career has led me to work alongside members of every generation – not just Boomers, but Gen-Xers, Millennials, Silents, and even G.I.s. How I think and what I cherish has been developed by interaction with ALL these generations. Finally, personal circumstances led me to reject much of what those of my age are expected to hold most dear.

And don’t try to dig what we all s-s-say,

talkin’ ’bout my generation

All of this has led me to the belief that the ideas and resulting actions of individuals are far more important than the movements of a generation. Is it important that Steve Jobs was a Boomer, Elon Musk a Gen-Xer, or Mark Zuckerberg a Millennial? Absolutely not. What is important is that each of these men have drastically changed our lives through their contributions to technology. The same can be said about leaders in politics, finance, and religion belonging to the same generations. What matters is the personal contributions they made attempting to make life better, not which generation to which they belong.

Considering all this has helped me see my own generation in a new light. While those who know me can tell you that I am hyper-critical of the Boomer generation, I now realize that generalizations are distinctly unhelpful. I am learning to look toward people of all ages who inspire me to be a better person, husband, employee, boss, and follower of Christ.

 

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy…

In the name of God…

One of the best interpretations of the name Samuel is “The Name of God” (Pfeiffer and Harrison, 273.) Samuel’s importance as a prophet, priest, and judge of Israel was seen in I Samuel. His importance to the nation of Israel continues as the second book chronicles the story of the second king that he anointed…the one from whom God’s anointed would descend.

So why does this post refer to the opening lyrics of one of Queen’s greatest songs ever? Fun fact: down in the operatic portion of the song is an unfamiliar proclamation made by the “choir” – “Bismillah!” – which like “Samuel” means “in the name of God!”

What does this book talk about?

One of the primary messages of both books of Samuel is that God is in control. While He may choose to work through human leaders, even leaders chosen by the people, God is our one true sovereign Lord (Walton, Strauss and Cooper, 30.)

As the author of Second Samuel details how David take’s over the kingdom, he presents him as the one for whom God built an empire (Walton, et. al., 31.) Along with David’s successes, Second Samuel records David’s abject failures as both a husband and father. These failures ultimately bring about grave consequences for both his family and kingdom.

Who does this book talk about?

David     Joab     The “Mighty Men”     Bathsheba     Nathan     Amnon     Tamar     Absalom

How can I be sure that these things actually happened?

Below is a picture of the “Tel Dan Stele,” a victory monument erected by an Aramean king north of Israel. It records the commemoration of victory over “BYDWD” by Hazael, or one of his sons Ben Hadad II or III. By most accounts “BYDWD” refers to the “House of David,” making this the first and earliest known archaeological reference to David. It was found in front of an Israelite city gate complex located on a northernmost tip of ancient Israel occupied by the tribe of Dan.

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Figure 10: The House of David Stele

How can this book relate to my life?

Christians and non-Christians alike often relegate the importance of Israel’s history to that of stories taught to children in Sunday School. For example, the story of Noah is full of both wondrous acts of God and a lot of furry animals. But in fact many of the stories contained in the Bible are not appropriate for young children. One example of this is the sex and violence-filled tale of King David’s affair with the “hot” young wife of his friend Uriah, Bathsheba.

With nothing better to do one evening, David checks out the view from his palace and sees Bathsheba taking, well, a bath on the roof of her home. Since a privilege of kings in that day was the right to sleep with whomever he chose, he sends for Bathsheba and she dutifully obeys. When she gets pregnant she notifies the king. What does the “man after God’s own heart” do? When he can’t persuade his friend to come home from battle and sleep with Bathsheba to cover up the pregnancy, David returns Uriah back to the front line with a note to the general to position Uriah in such a way as to ensure his death…which the general does.

Now you might not be in a position to kill your friend just to sleep with his or significant other – even though this type of thing all too frequently still happens today. But it is likely that you have blown it big time like David, or like Saul did in First Samuel.. Before God, the issue is not about blowing it. Since Adam first blew it first in the Garden of Eden the history of man has involved wrongdoing. God is interested in how people respond when they screw up. King Saul gave a bunch of lame excuses for his failure to follow God’s direction. David, on the other hand, humbled himself before God when confronted with his sin. You can check out his response to God in Psalms 32 and 51. What made David “a man after God’s own heart” was not his lack of sin and failure, but David’s lifelong commitment to maintaining a right relationship with God even after he failed miserably.

Where does the action take place?

City-of-David-and-Kidron-Valley-from-north,-tb042306047-bibleplaces

Figure 11: Kidron Valley: The “City of David” can be seen on the right side of this photo

 

Dynasty: greater than any soap opera…

HEARD OF GOD…

Samuel’s name may mean “Heard of God” (Cook, 8,) referring to the fact that Samuel was given in answer to his mother’s prayers. While early versions of the Old Testament combine the books of Samuel and Kings under the title Kingdoms, Samuel is rightly associated with the first two books even though he died years before II Samuel was even written. His personal greatness is of relative importance to the throne of David and ultimately to the person of Christ (Cook, 3). He is the prophet who first encountered the descendants of the family found in the book of Ruth, which connects King David to the patriarchs in the same way that the later histories connect David to Jesus Christ (Cook, 3).

What does this book talk about?

This book begins the story of David, son of Jesse. In the span of time covered by this book David goes from being a lowly shepherd to war hero, and from musician to wanted criminal. David’s dynasty begins here – and as the lead title indicates, the events surrounding David’s actions and those of his family put any TV soap opera to shame. To figure out the message of this book requires considering it to be the part of a greater whole. Specifically, First and Second Samuel were originally considered a single book without partition. In view of this it could be said that both books discuss the same things: The demonstration of God’s power and sovereignty (Walton, Strauss and Cooper, 30) primarily through His covenantal relationship with David. Ultimately, the emphasis is the development of the proper concept of divine authority. The way First Samuel its part of the message is by telling the stories of Samuel, Saul, and David in succession. After Samuel’s credentials as kingmaker are established (Walton, Strauss and Cooper, 31), Saul’s sorry attempt to lead God’s people is laid out within his conflict with David, the man who succeeds him on the throne. Along the way the book also records acts of both great faithfulness and great faithlessness – God rewards those faithful to Him, and those not faithful to Him will end in ruin and come to nothing” (Ps. 1:6).

Who does this book talk about?

Hannah     Eli    Samuel     Saul     Jonathan     Agag     David     Goliath     Michal     Abigail

How can I be sure that these things actually happened?

Saul’s death at the hand of the Philistines is recorded in the last chapter of First Samuel: “The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.” (esv)   This report was considered an error because it seemed unlikely that sworn enemies (Philistines and Canaanites) would each have a temple to their god in the same place and at the same time. But archaeological excavations have demonstrated that these temples were merely separated by a single hallway. It appears that the Philistines had adopted the Canaanite goddess (McDowell, 380).

How can this book relate to my life?

Have you ever pulled something stupid and then covered your butt when you were found out? King Saul tried this big time, claiming to Samuel that he had followed God’s instructions in his war with the Amalekites. The story of this in 1 Samuel 15 would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. King Saul found out the hard way that while man is in charge of his choices, God is in control of what follows from those choices. That day King Saul lost the chance to have a great legacy – a mere shepherd boy named David was soon after anointed as God’s choice for king. But worse for Saul, God’s Spirit left him, to be replaced by an evil spirit that plagued Saul the rest of his life. Be careful with your choices. It can be hard to hear sometimes, but the decisions you make as a teenager will likely stick with you for a long time.

A look into the life and times of the Bible: The King

At the close of the book of Judges we read, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes,” which was often especially true of kings. So what was supposed to be so special about a king? The whole king thing is about who will be in charge of Israel. While it is possible that Samuel thought he was going to get the job (Hill and Walton, 262), God clarifies who is really in charge when he tells Samuel that it is God Israel has rejected as (Hill and Walton, 261-2). At first Saul does not seem to consider himself worthy to be king (1 Sam. 9:22). Initially he doesn’t act like one, hiding from the people when it came time for his coronation (1 Sam. 10:22.) Despite this shaky start, God changes Saul’s heart and gives him the qualities necessary for leadership (Pfeiffer and Harrison, 282). Yet Saul gets into increasing trouble as he tries to be a man of action. Indeed, when God commands him to utterly destroy the Amalekites living under King Agag, he takes matters into his own hands and thoroughly screws things up. Not only does he lie about this before God, he fails to take responsibility (Pfeiffer and Harrison, 285.) David found favor with God because he was a man “after God’s own heart,” a phrase that is first applied to David in 1 Samuel 13:14. This phrase simply means that most of the time David was content with God in charge. When we see David fighting Goliath, serving Saul, and running from Saul, we see a man that honors God in his actions. After Saul is dead and David’s reign is secure, he sometimes forget who is really in charge – but even in his failures we see someone that ultimately assumes God is control of all things (Hill and Walton, 273-4).

Where does the action take place? Adullam-from-north-panorama,-df051002201-bibleplaces Figure 9: Adullam. Caves in this area sheltered David and his troops from King Saul

Babe Ruth

Faithful Companions

Ruth’s name is associated with the idea of friendship (Davis and Whitcomb, 155). True to her name, she makes this ultimate declaration of friendship: “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (esv).

Referring to the title of this post, there is some (admittedly slim) evidence that Ruth was a “babe,” or as the current generation would have it, “hot.” In the second chapter of the book, around verses 7 and 8 Ruth requests permission to glean wheat behind her future husband’s employees. In the Mosaic law, reapers were instructed not to glean too closely in order to allow what we would call “disadvantaged” people to get some grain so that they could eat. However it was apparently common sport for official employees to harass these people, as Boaz specifically instructs them to leave Ruth alone. But since she is not only a stranger, but a foreigner from Moab (a related but enemy nation of Israel,) Boaz’s instruction to his employees is peculiar, unless something stands out about Ruth – perhaps something like she is very pretty and he is possibly hoping things turn out the way they do later in the book…

What does this book talk about?

The Book of Ruth is a true short story about a couple of King David’s ancestors. At each end of this short book we find a love story. In the middle, we see the author’s intention to illustrate God’s faithfulness to anyone that is faithful to Him, regardless of his or her nationality.

The first love story is between Ruth and Naomi. Naomi and her husband were Israelites that moved to the country of Moab for economic reasons. During the family’s time in that country their sons married local women. Tragically, father and sons all die. After Naomi decides to return to Israel, Ruth’s dedication to her mother-in-law leads her to Israel with Naomi and worship Yahweh.

The second love story is between Ruth and Boaz. Once in Israel, Ruth and Naomi find themselves without legal standing. Employing a complex social custom designed to retain property within the extended family (tribe,) Ruth asks Boaz to be a “kinsman redeemer” – a man from her husband’s family that will marry her and allow her to benefit from her husband’s estate.

Who does this book talk about?

Naomi             Ruth                Boaz                Kinsman-Redeemer                 Moabites

How can this book relate to my life?

There are several strange customs that are in view in the book of Ruth. We have a man who is willing to marry his relative’s widow. Connected to that we have the concept of the “kinsman redeemer.” And incidentally there happens to be a couple of foot-related things going on.

Starting in reverse order, we really don’t know what is going on with the feet (Hutchison). In a culture where one’s livelihood depended on their two legs, perhaps feet and footwear somehow conveyed identity and the ability to make contracts or agreements (like marriage.)

So what is a “kinsman redeemer”? He is one who is the nearest relative to the deceased and has the legal authority and financial ability to arrange for the freedom of his extended family that had been reduced to the status of debt slave (Walton, Strauss and Cooper, 28). In the story, Boaz is the “kinsman redeemer.”

In your story, Jesus is your “kinsman redeemer.” Because of our sin, we are in a pickle. We are destitute – destined for eternal damnation. But he is our nearest relative with the ability and authority to arrange for our freedom. That means that while He is fully God, He is also fully human. Since He was fully God He had no sin. Since He was fully man, He could die in our place as a perfect sacrifice – once and for all.

A look into the life and times of the Bible:  Levirate Marriage

This is the second time we have encountered this strange custom of levirate marriage. We saw how this custom could go bad with Tamar and her father-in-law in the book of Genesis.

So is this a marriage between Levites? Does it happen to have something to do with the book of Leviticus? The answer is neither. Levir is the Latin term for “husband’s brother.” Continuing one’s family line was very important. If a man died before having kids, it was his brother’s duty to marry his widow so that she could have a child that would carry the dead man’s name (Walton, Strauss and Cooper, 28).

Other important considerations included preserving property inheritance within the man’s family and the honor of the widow. A woman unable to have children was a disgrace in those times, and if her husband died that disgrace would be permanent (Packer and Tenney, 435). So here’s the deal: this kind of marriage was a social custom designed to preserve the family and prevent injustice toward widows – important matters for the Lord (Hill and Walton, 252).

This custom seems weird because we have chosen to handle the potential for social injustice to widows differently. In the early church the apostles themselves selected a group of leaders for the special purpose of serving widows. Distributing assistance to widows and others in need had begun to cut into the time the apostles had available for evangelism and discipleship. These people are called deacons, which is taken from a Greek word meaning “servant” (Acts 6:1-6).

In modern American society things are quite different. We are accustomed to women taking charge of their finances, careers, and families. But one should be careful. Even though times change, the issues that brought about customs like levirate marriage still persist. The point is that God is always concerned with how the vulnerable people are treated by our society and the bottom line is that God loves justice, no matter what form it takes.

Where does the action take place?

Below is a map of an area of modern Israel called the West Bank. Bethlehem, Boaz’s (and Jesus’) hometown is governed by the Palestinian Authority, and has been at the center of fierce fighting between Palestinians and Israelis. If it existed today, Ruth’s nation of Moab would be located in the lower right side of this map within the borders of the modern kingdom of Jordan.

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Figure 8: The West Bank

 

Don’t judge me…

“The Lord raised up a deliverer…”

This book carries the same title in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English – Shopetim, Kraitai, Jadicum, and Judges respectively. When we think of a judge, we often imagine an old guy in a long black robe making legal decisions – think of the late Fred Gwynne in 1992’s My Cousin Vinny. While that is certainly sometimes the case, the reality is that women and men of all ages serve as judges throughout our country. And while making legal decisions was one part of the job for the biblical judges, their function included both military, civil, and religious leadership. Some of them even kicked some major ass, like Ehud the left-handed judge. A couple even functioned much like a king (Davis and Whitcomb, 93). While they were certainly called by God to deliver various Israelites from foreign oppression at various times, as a group most of them were severely flawed leaders incapable of encouraging the people to follow God faithfully beyond the period of their own leadership.

What does this book talk about?

Joshua charges the tribes of Israel with the job of finishing what he started: serving God conquering the land, and ridding it of all the idol-worshipping Canaanites (Miller, 72).

Once Joshua is out of the picture, the Israelites do none of this. Instead, they cycle repeatedly through a pattern of relapse into sin, ruin by oppressors, repentance, restoration through a judge, and a time of peace and rest (Hutchison, 30).

Who does this book talk about?

Othniel     Ehud     Deborah     Gideon     Jephthah     Samson     Samuel

How can I be sure that these things actually happened?

Winston Churchill once said, “History is written by the victors.” In written history this is often the case. George Orwell illustrated the evil of this tendency in his novel 1984, in which the lead character’s job is to constantly re-write history to match the government position of the day.

If the person who wrote and compiled the book of Judges to make Israel look good, he did a really bad job. The grim portrayal of spiritual, moral, and political decline in this book makes even the best leaders look tainted. Even people critical of the Bible are “forced to trust the Book of Judges to be a more accurate reflection of secular history than the Book of Joshua (Asimov, 226.)

Once again, none of this proves it happened. But if you’re trying to influence billions of people through a world religion, why make this stuff up?

How can this book relate to my life?

The stories found in Judges are some of the craziest in the Bible. One guy kills an enemy king that is so fat his blubber swallows the judge’s sword. One woman kills an enemy general by putting a tent peg through his head. Another judge subdues a nation’s entire army with just 300 men.

If all of that is not bad enough, morals decline to the point that a woman is gang-raped to death by men of the tribe of Benjamin. This crime is so heinous that the other eleven tribes almost succeed in pulling off the near-genocide of the tribe of Benjamin.

But you don’t have to open a Bible to hear stories like this. Each day we turn on the TV we are faced with the failure of man to live righteously before God. The surprise is that not much has changed in thousands of years. And yet if we repent of our sins, He remains faithful – and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will deliver us from evil.

A look into the life and times of the Bible:  Deborah and Jael

During a time when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes (kjv), God chose a pair of women to do His will.

“Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time.”  Now it is not too difficult to find powerful women today – just consider Hilary Rodham Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Angela Merkel, or Sheryl Sandberg to name a few. Ms. Clinton was not only the wife of the United States president, but is a serious politician in her own right. Condoleeza Rice was not only the National Security Advisor, but the United States Secretary of State. Angela Merkel has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and Sheryl Sandberg is a powerful voice in Facebook, taking over the Chief Operating Officer role in 2013. But in ancient times a powerful woman was extremely rare. Indeed, Deborah is one of the few women in the Bible that is called a prophetess. But if you read her story, there is no question that she spoke for God.

That she was highly regarded can be seen in Deborah’s story, which starts at Judges 4:4. There we find Deborah “judging” Israel under a palm tree between Ramah and Bethel – perhaps not too far from Bethlehem. At some point she summons her military commander and informs him that God has ordered him to enter into battle with a Canaanite king that has oppressed Israel. Regardless of what it says about the character of her commander, the fact that he refuses to go into battle without Deborah by his side is a measure of his regard for her leadership.

Because Deborah’s military commander refused to go into battle without her by his side, the Lord foretold through Deborah that a woman would be given the victory. Enter Jael. Married to an ally of Israel’s enemy, Jael pounds a stake through the enemy commander’s skull when he tries to escape the battle by hiding in her tent. Since Jael was married to a friend of the commander, he thought he was safe. But Jael’s loyalty to God and her people led her to surprise everyone – well, except the enemy commander. You see he did not see the tent peg coming because he was asleep.

Where does the action take place?

Mount_Tabor,2

 Figure 7: This is Mt. Tabor, where the battle depicted in Judges 4 took place