Never Accept Milk from a Stranger

Jeff Munroe

READ : Judges 4:1-24

“Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink. (v. 19)

This is another wild and woolly story! Deborah (“Honeybee” in Hebrew) was judge of Israel, and not a word is mentioned about it being unusual that a woman occupied that position of power. The army was led by Barak (“Lightning” in Hebrew), but when it came to war, Lightning acted like a Honeybee and the Honeybee acted like Lightning. Not only does Barak need Deborah to tell him when to strike, he won’t even go to war unless Deborah comes along.

The word “hand” is the great thread that holds the story together. Israel suffered under the hand of Jabin (v. 2), Barak was told twice the army of Sisera would come into his hand (vv. 7, 14), Sisera fell under the hand of the deceitful Jael (vv. 9, 21), and the relentless hand of Israel brought Jabin into submission (v. 24).

Nothing is as it seems. Nine hundred iron chariots were useless and Jabin wound up destroyed, General Barak always missed the action, and Sisera was surprised because Jael—a non-Jewish woman—killed him on behalf of Israel. Even the drink of water that thirsty Sisera asked for turned out to be warm milk that put him to sleep. The point of it all is not the hand of Deborah or Barak or Jael—it’s the hand of God. God directs people and events in surprising ways to achieve his purposes.

PRAYER

We praise you, Sovereign Lord.