THE PRIDE OF SISERA
A Bible Story for Kiddies by John W. Cowart
General Sisera felt proud about three things.
He was proud of his way with girls.
When his army took a town, he captured the prettiest girls as his own slaves.
His clothes were another thing he felt proud about. He dressed in rich colored robes sewn with golden thread. He felt he cut a handsome figure.
But most of all, the General was proud of his war chariots.
As commander of the army of Canaan, Sisera fielded 900 of these fierce war machines.
Drawn by as many ten horses, each chariot carried a driver and four archers. Pockets on the sides of the chariots, loaded extra bows and hundreds of arrows. Iron scales armored the sides of the chariots and sharp knife blades spun on the heavy wheels so the driver could drive right over enemy foot soldiers cutting them to pieces.
What could stop such a mighty battle tank?
No wonder the evil general felt so proud. With 900 iron chariots at his command, he felt he could do anything he pleased.
And he did... for a while.
Not long after God's people settled in the Promised Land, they began to forget the Lord and worship the idols of the people living around them. So God let the King of Canaan and General Sisera bring Israel to its knees.
The iron chariots of Sisera ruled the roads. No caravan could pass with out paying them a heavy toll. They charged across the flat plains stopping anyone they saw off the road. The people of Israel could not go anywhere or do anything without being exposed to the iron chariots.
The only safe places for the Israelites was up in the mountains where travel was hard even for a man walking, but where rocks, gullies and broken ground kept the chariots away.
Things went on like that for twenty years!
Finally the Israelites came to their senses, they left the idols and prayed to the Lord to save them from the iron chariots of proud Sisera.
In those days a noble lady named Deborah served the Lord as a prophetess. She lived at a desert oasis called the Palm Tree of Deborah. God led her to call an Israelite man named Barak and tell him to raise an army to fight the iron chariots of Sisera.
Barak promised to do it but he was afraid to tackle the job alone so he said, "I'll go if you will go. But if you won't go, then I won't go either".
Deborah agreed to go with him but said that God was going to beat Sisera by the hand of a woman.
Deborah, Barak and the foot soldiers of Israel did not dare march across the plain where the chariots rolled. Instead them picked their way through rocky passes to Mount Tabor.
At the foot of the mountain, a small river, the Kishon, cuts a gully, across the flat desert plain.
In dry weather, the Kishon River is not much wider than your living room just a stream really. It cuts a deep channel through sandy banks called a wadi.
Dark clouds covered the sky on the day General Sisera learned that the Israelites were coming down the slope of Mount Tabor. He sounded the battle cry and line after of line of war chariots rushed across the plain toward the Israelites. The charging horses raised a great cloud of dust which could be seen for miles.
What chance would the foot soldiers of Israel have against such a host?
When they got close enough, the archers in the racing chariots drew their bows. Thousands of razor-sharp arrows zinged toward the men on foot. The arrows sounded like angry bees when their nest is hit.
But God put something besides arrows in the air that day.
"What was that I felt on my arm?" General Sisera asked his driver. "Rain drops? Darn! I'll get my beautiful new robe wet."
Yes. God sent rain. Lots of rain. Torrents of rain.
Watching from Mount Tabor, Deborah started to sing a song to God. "I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel! Lord, when you went out, the heavens dropped. The clouds poured down water."
What made her so happy about the rain?
Well, the mountain began to melt -- that is, the wet sand and dust turned to mud and began to ooze down. . The dirt and dust of the desert plain became sticky goo.
Heavy iron chariots bogged down. Horses sloshed in mud up to their bellies. Wheels loaded with sharp blades no longer turned. When soldiers jumped out of the chariots, they got stuck in the mud.
God made the pride of Canaan, their downfall.
That little wadi, the Kishon, filled up and overflowed its gully. The water rose deeper and deeper around the chariots, horses and men on the plain.
Deborah sang, "The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, you have trodden down strength. Lord, you have stopped the galloping of the horses' hoofs. So let all your enemies perish, O Lord, but let them that love you be as the sun."
For the details about how God saved his people, read Judges, chapters 4 & 5; and Psalm 83. And here is an old picture from a Bible printed in the year 1726 showing what the artist thought the battle may have looked like:
But what about Sisera? What happened to him?
When he saw he was stuck in the deep stuff, the proud general climbed out of his stuck chariot. Struggling through mud. He tried to run away. But he could not get far. For years he had ridden everywhere in a chariot; he was not used to walking. Trying to wade through mud wore him out.
Not far from the battlefield, General Sisera, found the home of a woman named Ja'el. She lived in a tent in the desert. Tall poles held up the cloth roof and long wooden tent pegs anchored the tent against strong desert winds.
Sisera stumbled into the tent. He drank some milk, stripped off his mud-caked robes and he hid under a blanket in Ja'el's bed. He was scared that the Israelite foot soldiers might find him. He was so tired that he fell asleep.
The woman watched him dose off. Without making a sound, she slipped outside and tugged up one of the long tent pegs. She quietly found the hammer and eased back inside.
Standing right over the man sleeping in her bed, she put the point of the tent peg in his ear. She raised the hammer.
Later, when Barak and the Israelite foot soldiers reached the tent, Ja'el showed them the body of proud Sisera, naked of fine robes, with his head nailed to the ground -- by a girl.
Theme Verse: "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord."
-- Proverbs 21:31 NIV
Thought: Fast wheels, pretty girls and cool threads do not make the man.
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