Summary: Sometimes the ordinary seems mundane, but occasionally it turns exraordinary. This is a narrative of an ordinary day turning into much more. Even a "nobody" can do something extraordinary in the hands of God.
Jael’s Extraordinary Day
Jael’s life was nothing if not predictable. Living in the low mountains of Eastern Israel, bordering Canaan, among the scorpions and rocks and dust, Jael’s life was difficult at best, and monotonous at worst. Boredom and monotony were her worst enemies, and every day was a struggle to survive. Water had to be drawn; wood had to be gathered for cooking; children had to be cared for and fed; clothes had to be made or mended; cows had to be milked, the chickens fed. The list of chores was endless, and exhausting. Some of you can remember those days. In fact, in spite of technology, most women who raise children still feel this way at times. Going from the first rooster crow until long after the sun sets, there was little time for rest or relaxation. And the few festivals and holidays she did get just meant more work for her and her few neighbors.
And speaking of neighbors, there weren’t any, at least not close ones. It took an hour to get to most of them, and who had the time for that? Children had to be brought along, and that meant more work. No, being a wife of a nomadic tent dweller was no easy life. The days were hot, the nights were cold, and the dryness and dust were never-ending.
This particular day started out like so many others: up before dawn, stoking the fire, getting breakfast ready. Since Heber, her husband, was off with the sheep, it was up to her to do everything. It would be another exhausting, if not ordinary, day.
Ill. Ordinary days are not all bad. They can get mundane, but don’t we like the predictable? On ordinary days, the alarm goes off on time. On ordinary days, the car starts. On ordinary days, the bus is not late, the rain is not too hard, the boss in not too ornery and the phone doesn’t ring with some emergency. Ordinary days may be ordinary, but they are predictable and therefore we find great comfort in them. It’s often when a day becomes abnormal that we really appreciate normalcy.
Read Text – Judges 4:17-24
Jael’s day was going along in an ordinary way – and then in walked, or rather ran, Sisera – and everything changed. What would bring this mighty general to her humble camp? She recognized him instantly, though he was dirty and obviously exhausted. He’s been to her camp numerous times, for her husband had made peace with the Canaanites. For a general, he was practically naked, having shed everything that would hinder him in his running. He would never have come to her camp this way under normal circumstances – but these were obviously not normal circumstances. Sisera was running for his life. He had come to the right place.
Isn’t it interesting how you can be minding your own business on what you think is a typical day, a day like so many others, when it suddenly, through no fault or planning on your own, turns out to be anything but typical?
Ill. Rose Carter was going about her normal day when she stopped to get gas. Just as she hung up the nozzle, a man jumped into her car, started it, and drove off with her five-year-old son in the back seat. Rose sprang into action, leaping forward just as the car sped off. She managed to grab the steering wheel while the thief hit her several times, trying to make her let go. As her legs dragged along the street, she fought the man with such strength that he crashed her car into another store, where the fight continued. When the police arrived a short time later, they found her hitting the man with a low-jack club she kept behind the seat, refusing to let him out of the car. He was begging her to stop. Aside from her skinned knees and a bloody nose, she was unhurt. Rose’s day had become anything but normal – and she wanted her day back. By the way, never mess with a mother bear’s cubs.
Jael realizes that this day will be anything but ordinary. The arrival of Sisera will see to that. Just what does he want, and why has he been running? As he gasps out his story, she begins formulating a plan in her mind. He’s looking for a place to hide, so she offers him refuge in her tent. She motions for him to follow her, and they both go inside. As she is covering him up, he asks for a drink of water. Instead, she opens a skin of milk and, drinking a tumbler full, is soon sleeping soundly, exhausted from all the running. Could it really be this easy? Sisera had been a thorn in the side of Israel for far too long. Today would be the day that comes to an end.