Overwhelming Force

“When it was reported to Sisera that Baraq, the son of Abinoam, had gone up to Mount Tabor, Sisera called out all of his chariots — 900 chariots of iron — and all of the people who were with him, from Harosheth-Hagoyim to the River Qiyshon.”

(Judges 4:12-13)

After verse 11, we return to the account we expect. Sisera gets word that Baraq is gathering an army with the obvious purpose of overthrowing King Jabin’s rule. Anticipating the revolt, Sisera decides to pull out all of the stops. In his mind, it was not sufficient to sen a kind of expeditionary force to stall or defeat the army, Sisera goes to overwhelm the Israelite army with force.  He calls together his entire battalion of 900 chariots as well as all of the peoples that are loyal to him.

Remember, ancient kings did not satisfy themselves in controlling just one other country; kingdoms were being built into empires at this point in time. Israel would have simply been one province over which Jabin was ruling. That means that Sisera has a great many resources from which he can draw at any one time. Harosheth is a wooded region on the border of Philistine territory in the northwest — Harosheth-Hagoyim meaning “the woodlands of the Gentiles” — and the river Kishon is on the southern border of that region, so Sisera is gathering his troops to teach the rebellious Israelites a lesson.

As we have mentioned before, this battle is lopsided…very lopsided…but not in the way we might humanly think. It is lopsided because the God of the universe is going to war against the enemies of his people. Yet, knowing that to be true, is it not sad that we often are intimidated by human shows of force? Is it not even shameful that we often do not take a stand for Truth and the Gospel because we fear such human displays of force. Yet, my friends, do not fear man; fear God.

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