The Prophetess and the Reluctant Soldier -- By: John L. O’Dell

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 11:1 (Spring 2005)
Article: The Prophetess and the Reluctant Soldier
Author: John L. O’Dell


The Prophetess and the Reluctant Soldier1

John L. O’Dell

John L. O’Dell received a B.A. in Religious Studies at C.S.U.L.B. He is currently perusing a Th.M. at Chafer Theological Seminary. John is an instructor of New Testament Greek at CTS and works as a graphic artist.

When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord.

Judges 4:1

For two generations God’s children lived quietly in their land. The great left-handed warrior Ehud had dealt the fatal blow to the Moabite king. But peace brings comfort and comfort brings laziness. The children of Israel fell back into their old patterns of wickedness. They chose to follow their own ways instead of God’s. The seductive gods of their neighbors proved alluring and the people gave worship and honor to them. These actions so displeased God that he brought punishment on Israel, giving them over to Jabin, the king of Canaan. Gone were the days of peace after the defeat of the Moabites. For twenty years now the people of Israel suffered under the heavy hand of the Canaanites.

Like Israel, God calls us to worship Him alone; and just like the Israelites, we find the many gods of the twenty-first century more compelling. Money, power, sex and social status—all call us to erect their statues in the temple of our hearts. God tells us that this spiritual infidelity is evil in His sight.

Jabin was the king of Canaan and he remembered what the Israelites had done to his ancestors. He remembered the stories of his childhood about Joshua cutting down the great king of Canaan he was named after. He was told how the Israelites killed all the people of his hometown, Hazor, and then burned the city to the ground. Now was his chance to avenge his people’s loss. He controlled Israel with a fist of iron—or more literally, with his iron chariots. Jabin gave the job of dealing with Israel to Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite armies.

Sisera was a hardened soldier. Everyone knew by his name that he was not a Canaanite by birth, but his martial skills and loyalty to Jabin made him a great defender of the land of Canaan. Sisera lived in Harosheth Hagoyim, “the blacksmith of the nations.” This gritty city was

the foundry where Jabin’s iron-rimmed chariots, the most formidable weapons of the day, were born. With their metal axels and iron-covered wheels, they were swift and steady in battle. The Israelite army was no match for these powerful monsters that raided their cities and controlled the roads. Under Sisera’...

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