Death by Tent Peg

For years, ministers around the world have marveled over the sermons of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He didn’t prepare manuscripts in advance, seldom knowing on Friday what he would speak about on Sunday. Yet, when he stood to preach, audiences were entranced by his eloquence, insight, authority and bluntness. The modern American pulpit seldom speaks of “hell, fire and brimstone.” But Spurgeon had no qualms about it. He often used the starkest illustrations imaginable to press home the need for repentance. One Sunday as he waxed eloquent on this theme, his mind flew to the story of Deborah in Judges 4.

In that chapter; Deborah’s ragged army routed the forces of Sisera, the Canaanite king. Sisera escaped and ran for his life until he was exhausted. Coming to a friendly village, he sought refuge in the tent of a woman named Jael. She welcomed him, gave him nourishment, showed him where to lay his head, and promised to divert those seeking him.

Then while he slept, she took a hammer and drove a tent peg through his temple into the ground. “So he died,” says the Bible laconically. Spurgeon saw here a powerful warning to the unrepentant.

Such are many of you, sleeping in jeopardy of your souls; Satan is standing, the law is ready, vengeance is eager; and all saying “Shall I smite him? I will smite him this one, can he shall never wake again.” Like Sisera, I tell thee, sinner; thou art sleeping in the tent of the destroyer; thou mayst have eaten butter and honey out of a godly dish; but thou art sleeping on the doorstep of hell: even now the enemy is lifting up the hammer and the nail to smite thee through the temples and fasten thee to the earth, that there thou mayst lie forever in the death of everlasting torment…

As usual, Charles Spurgeon had hit the nail on the head.