One of the women of the Bible we don’t talk enough about is Jael. Maybe it’s because she has a bit of a violent story. Maybe it’s because she’s a bit too strong for the narrative many churches perpetuate. Either way, she’s a lesson for many of us sassy Christian women in how to just get things done. Actually, like many women of the Bible and today, Jael is an example of how women don’t play around. They just do what needs to be done.
Who is Jael?
Who is this Jael anyhow? Jael shows up in the Old Testament book of Judges. She was married to Heber, and she was essential in to winning the war against the Canaanites. After all, she did was Deborah’s (another powerful woman of the Bible we dismiss too often!) general, Barak, couldn’t do. She killed the Canaanite general, Sisera, who had escaped Barak’s clutches.
There are a couple things to note in Jael’s story that we can all relate to, though. When Sisera fled Barak, he went to a woman’s tent seeking safety. Oh, really Sisera? Way to underestimate a woman! He felt safe there, because he didn’t really think a woman would do anything to him–or could do anything. Does that sound familiar? Men, especially those in power, tend to underestimate women all the time. Mansplaining, minimizing, talking over women, putting women in their place, taking away women’s rights…we deal with all of this today. We face many Siseras.
On top of the minimization of a woman’s God-given power, it seems shocking to most people that a woman would choose to kill Sisera in such a violent way. She pounded a stake through his head. I’m going to be a little graphic here, but I used the word “pounded” on purpose. It’s not like she poisoned him or just simply stabbed him. This was a violent and bloody way for him to die, even if she did put him to sleep first with milk. People think women all have to be one thing. That we are all dainty and fragile–like heaven forbid we break a nail. Except some of us will cut you with that broken nail if you cross us the wrong way.
Yeah, I said I was going to get graphic!
Jael Gets Things Done
We aren’t all fragile little things, and Jael shows us that women have many facets. She also shows us that women just get things done. Jael saw her opportunity in front of her and just took it. She wasn’t going to wait to check things out with her husband, and she wasn’t going to wait to run it by her pastor. This was what she knew God wanted her to do, and she did it. A woman who took control of her entire situation.
Why is that a lesson for all of us? The church has preached time and time again our husband is the head of our household throughout our lifetimes. That men are the ones to guide us and our decisions. Except, it’s really God who has to guide our decisions. We get lost in that message a lot, because young women end up thinking they can’t do anything until they get married. They feel their worth is tied up in marriage. However, we are more than a marriage.
Write Your Own Jael Story
Jael teaches us that we can do anything beyond marriage. She just completed her mission, married or not. We have God-given goals and dreams to accomplish, married or not. God doesn’t wait for us to marry. He has things to accomplish! You have things to do! There are glass ceilings to break. There are people to mentor. We have degrees to get. You have missions to go on. You have books to write. I can list the dreams and goals we have yet to achieve, because they are endless.
Jael’s story reminds us that we can accomplish anything if we have God guiding it. Just like God predicted Sisera would die at the hands of a woman, He will give you a story to write for yourself. You just have to set your mind on your God-given goals and put them down in a plan. God will pave your way, just like He did for Jael.