Summary: There are those, even among God's people, who depend on their own strength for success. Sisera and is charioteers discover that even great military might is no match for almighty God. And it's no match for the rest of us, either.
Sisera and His Chariots
Judges 4:1-4; 12-17
Sisera had it made, he must admit. He was general over the army of Jabin, king of Canaan. He had risen through the ranks and now he was General of the Army. And not just any army; he had 900 iron chariots at his disposal, far more than anyone else in the region and certainly more then Israel, who had none. No one was a match for him and his chariots. They were invincible, and everyone knew it. There was one problem with this, however: he rarely got to use them. Just having them available was a deterrent to others who might consider either bucking Canaan's dominance or attacking them outright. His job was to protect Canaan and he did it well.
So it was an ordinary day like so many others when the messenger came in, all out of breath. The Israelites were on the move, and were gathering at Mt. Tabor. Sisera leaped from his chair at the news. Here was the opportunity he'd been waiting for. Soldiers were made for fighting, and fighting there would be. Enough of this sitting around waiting for something to happen. Here it is at last: He would marshal his troops and send those Jews back where they came from. Who did they think they were to defy king Jabin and the Canaanites? They knew they were no match for his iron chariots. What were they thinking? Whatever it was, he would soon change their tune!
Read Text – Judges 4:1-4; 12-17
Ill. Have you ever been surprised by the actions of someone else? You know, they didn’t do what you expected them to do? Maybe they did something less; maybe they did something more. It may have been something totally unexpected. Sometimes it’s a sudden surprise. A little girl barged into the bathroom while her father was brushing his teeth. “Aha,” she rebuked, “so you’re the one who keeps putting the cap back on the toothpaste.”
Even Jesus experienced surprise once in a while. A Roman centurion came to Jesus one day to request healing for his servant. The Roman showed such faith that the Bible says that Jesus was astonished and said, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in all of Israel with such great faith.” Even Jesus could be surprised by the unexpected.
Sisera is thinking, “Look at them. Those Hebrews don’t even have any real weapons. Some bows and arrows, but in close combat, what good are they?” Swords were at a minimum in Israel because they didn’t have smelters of their own, and their enemies weren’t selling them any. Most of these men came from the hills in Israel, and didn’t have much more than sticks and clubs and a few knives. Sure, Sisera and his men were outnumbered, but you can’t stop an iron chariot with sticks and clubs.
Application: How do you fight your battles? Do you use the right weapon for the job? We often are guilty of showing up to a gun fight with only a stick. Many of the battles we fight we cannot fight with flesh and blood, because the enemies are not flesh and blood. The Bible says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).
Church, we need to understand that the forces that come against us are not flesh and blood, but the powers of hell. That power may be disguised in human form; it may live right next door to us, be hiding in our government offices, or appear in the form of a drug dealer, pornographer or homosexual radicals. It may be your profane boss, or even your best friend who tries to distract you from your Christian life by talking you into activities that you know would be displeasing to the Lord Jesus. Anything the enemy can to do distract us from the battle, he will do. That’s why we can’t defeat him with guns, bullets or bombs. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood; we wrestle against the powers of hell, and they are formidable. But we have a force that is fighting for us, for “it’s not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.”
Everything was lining up just as Sisera had planned it. Things could not be going any better. This time of year, the Kishon River basin was dry, though flash floods could happen with summer thundershowers. Having checked with the local weather man, who said that the chance of rain was minimal, Sisera and his army moved out toward Israel and the Kishon River. It was going to be a good day. His chariots were ready, his men well trained, his battle plan in place. He planned to rout these Hebrews and send them back where they’d come from. He figured to be home by dinner time and sleep in his own bed tonight.