“Again he (Sisera) said unto her, ‘Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and inquire of thee, and say, Is there any man her?’” that thou shalt say, “No.’”
King James Version
“Deceitfulness of Sisera”
“The devil’s most devilish when respectable.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Has “Sisera” ever entered the “tent” of my life and tried to act respectable?
“The Devil is subtle, yet weaves a course web.”
Richard Chenevix French
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him.”
1 Peter 5:8-9
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you said, “How did I get myself into this predicament?”
I’m certain we have all felt this way at one time or other. Have you ever sized-up a particular problem or challenge and decided to go in a certain way or do a certain thing, then all of a sudden you were confronted with the fact that you had made a big mistake? How did you feel?
I know how I felt! To put it bluntly, I felt like a real dummy. Especially when I recognized how easy it was for me to be duped! More than one time in my life, I’ve been blind-sided by something I thought was alright, only later to find “Sisera” hidden away in some “respectable” disguise, waiting to bring me down.
I ask you, “How do we go about identifying when “Sisera” sneaks into our tent, eats and drinks at our table, and settles down for a pleasant nap?
If we look closely at the way Sisera made his way into Jael’s tent and delightfully drank of the milk she gave him and used the coverlet to keep himself warm as he slept – we can clearly identify one distinct characteristic that should give us warning as to who Jael was dealing with.
Our text today says that Sisera ordered Jael to stand at the door of her tent and keep a watch out for anyone who might be coming after him. And, if any person asked, “Is there any man here?” She was to lie and tell them, “No!” There is a Welsh proverb that says, “The Devil has three children: pride, falsehood, and envy.” One of the Devil’s kids showed up at Jael’s tent when Sisera asked her to lie. Deceit, as we have found, comes dressed in many different costumes. It came to Eve in the Garden of Eden as an alluring, talking serpent who was dishonest about God. Deceit came covered in phony fur to Isaac when his son Jacob knelt before him pretending to be his brother Esau and stealing the birthright blessing. And here we see deceit coming as a supposed friend of Heber, Jael’s husband, walking right into Jael’s tent, asking her to lie to protect him.
Rather than fall for Sisera’s demand and do as he ordered, in tomorrow’s devotional we’ll find out that Jael had a plan of her own – and it was to destroy the evil that had invaded her territory. But for today, let us take note that anything deceitful that enters our world, is up to no good.
I recently read about a woman who went to a gourmet cooking class. She had told her friends what she was doing and of course they were eager to sample some of the delicacies she was learning to make. As a rather crazy “joke,” she decided that one of her hors d’oeuvres would be “doctored-up” dog food on crackers. Her guests raved about the delicious morsels, that is until she confided to them what a nasty trick she had pulled. (Who knows if she had any friends left after this stunt!)
But before we act too shocked, everyday we are each confronted by deceitful morsels served to us by those who are working to “bring us down.” Sometimes these tidbits are brought to us by someone who is using their soft voice and flattery to get us to devalue ourselves. At other times, treats are laid before us by someone who wants us to sacrifice our integrity as we bow at the altar of greed and avarice. And sometimes, deceit even comes to us by someone whom we least expect at a time and place where we’d never imagine to find anything so destructive to our well-being – just like Eve, who ran right into falsehood in her perfect garden home where sin had never entered.
The disciple Peter, who was attacked by “Sisera’s deceit” on one of the worst evenings of his life and in one of the most susceptible moments of pain, through the grace and mercy of Jesus, lived to write these words which are beautifully paraphrased in The Message in I Peter 5: 8-11: “Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times…So keep a firm grip on faith…. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ – eternal and glorious plans they are! –will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, He does!”
Aren’t you glad that Sisera, with all his deceitfulness didn’t speak last? Oh, he may have thought he had escaped destruction, but what he ignored and failed to believe was that there was a war declared between the God of heaven and the “Siseras of earth.” While Sisera might bruise the heel – the God of heaven had foretold that anything deceitful would be destroyed. The head would be crushed.
“I was snatched from the jaws of the lion! God’s looking after me, keeping me safe…all praise to Him.”
2 Timothy 4:18
“Blessed Lord, who was tempted in all things like as we are, have mercy on our frailty. Out of weakness give us strength. Grant to us Thy fear that we may fear Thee only. Support us in time of temptation. Embolden us in time of danger. Help us to do Thy work with good courage, and to continue Thy faithful service unto our life’s end. Amen.”
Brooke Foss Westcott
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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