Category Archives: Judges

Judges 19-21

Click here for today’s reading, the last 3 chapters in Judges  

As you read these last three chapters of Judges, keep in mind that the book is really NOT about the characters and the stories; although, it has been very easy to get swept up with them. WHO KNEW the OT had so much excitement in it??  We read about “E-who’d” (my phonetic spelling) the left handed dude from the right handed tribe of Benjamin who was able to get in to kill the ginormous king because of his handicap (no one would have checked his left side for a weapon!!)  I loved seeing Deborah, a woman with a good head on her shoulders, among the judges. We witnessed Gideon and his merry band of misfits.  Of course we watched Samson making wrong choices lead by his lusts, but His final choice to ask God to give him strength one last time which began the destruction of the Philistines.

THE major theme in our reading of Judges has been God’s patience, compassion, grace, and mercy HE showed to HIS people when they cried out to Him and repented of their wicked ways.  God NEVER failed to open HIS arms in love to HIS people when they cried out.  He did not stop the consequences of their sin NOR did HE make their choices for them… but HE never left them.  He has always honored HIS promise to Abraham which includes all of us.

The book of Joshua ended with a powerful scripture of choice for all people (in the OT, the NT, and TODAY.)  My husband and I have this scripture framed and hanging in our breakfast nook so we are reminded daily of our CHOICE to serve our God.  It states: “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua chronicled the blessings God placed on the Israelites for their obedience in conquering the PROMISED LAND.  He also reminded them of the importance of CHOOSING GOD and putting away ALL their gods, idols, and rebellion.  In Judges we witnessed that HIS people CHOSE to be disobedient, idolatrous, disrespectful, rebellious, self-righteous (I could go on) and their CHOICES led them into MANY defeats and moral destruction.  We are also reminded in Judges that His patience will have a limit. Our God is an awesome God.  He sent HIS one and ONLY son to deliver us. He delivers all who choose Him today as well as delivering HIS children from our repeated bad human choices when we cry out to him in repentance.  He sent temporary, human judges in the OT….as deliverers!  He heard when the people cried out to HIM, time and time again.

Judges is huge for us to consider in our life right now. If we were living in the time of the book of Judges, what would our character be?   Would each of be able to say that we: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up?

These Judges were not perfect; they were human … plain and simple.  But one was finally raised up hundreds of years later to once and for all deliver us so we can fall right into His arms! He is our greatest Judge, our final Deliverer, our Redeemer, our Defender, our Warrior. Jesus!!  Not ONLY did He come to redeem us and deliver us so we may live the abundant life here on earth and spend eternity with HIM…but HE also LIVES INSIDE OF US so we can hear HIM guiding us each step of the way.

Chapter 19 – HEAVENS TO BETSY!!!  SO… EVERY one was doing “what was right in their OWN eyes.”  WE all KNOW how well THAT idea works!!!   I have to admit .. I was a little confused as if the Levite’s concubine was just a concubine or his wife or both.  This Levite has gone soooo far from the Lord and His commands.  The Levite chose Hospitality OVER God in the land of the Benjaminites.  Did ANY bells go off in your head as you were reading this?  I felt as if I was reading about Lot and the angels who came to rescue him and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah  (look at Genesis 19)…. the men of the town came POUNDING on his door demanding to have sex with the VISITNG LEVITE!!!  The man of the house offered his virgin daughter and the Levite offered his concubine/wife for these men to “use them and do to them WHATEVER you wish, but as for the man don’t do such an outrageous thing.”   The Levite gave up his concubine/wife for the hospitality the Benjaminite offered and found her the next morning raped, abused, and dead lying at the front door.  “Back in the day”…. HOSPITALITY was a HUGE part of their tradition and it was part of who the man was to make sure the visiting man was taken care of.

Needless to say… the Levite was not a happy camper.  He placed “her” on his donkey and set out for home.  Now.. this next part sounds like something from a Stephen King movie…. Or from the movie “Fargo” …. The Levite cuts her up in 12 pieces … one piece for EACH tribe of the Israelites. He wanted to be SURE the Benjaminites got the message and that the other tribes ALL KNEW what the tribe of Benjamin had done …. To THEIR OWN PEOPLE.  There was NO war.  There was NO reason to attack the woman, abuse her, and kill her.  Unfortunately, the Levite was as responsible as the Benjaminites were in this entire story because if he had been living FOR the LORD… he would not have been traveling around.. he would have been doing the work the Lord called him to for the Tabernacle in the city he was ASSIGNED!!!

Civil war broke out.

Chapter 20 – The tribes of Israel TRIED to approach the Benjamites to ask that they turn over the wicked men of Gibeah (Benjamites) to them so they could put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.  The Benjamites REFUSE.

Just a little interesting note …. In verse 16 – we see that “E-who’d” was not the ONLY left handed dude in the tribe of the right hand!!  “Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred select troops who were LEFT-HANDED, each of who could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.”  This reminded me that in dealing with our own “handicaps” we often feel alone … there is no one else like me…I’m a reject.  Yet, this “handicap” was all around “E-who’d” and it appeared each of these men were quite skilled.

Verse 18 – this is the first time we have seen this in AWHILE – “The Israelites went up to Bethel and INQUIRED of GOD.” We will see the Israelites “INQUIRING of God” throughout this civil war, which is SUCH AN AWESOME THING TO SEE AGAIN!!! Even if it doesn’t last long.

Verse 46 – The Lord gave the Benjaminites over to the Israelites.. 25,000 Benjaminites fell that day but 600 of them fled.  The Israelites then killed all the women, children, and animals that belonged to the Benjaminites (although the Lord did not tell them to do this!) (I KNOW.. SHOCKER!!)

Chapter 21 – a WHOLE NEW problem … The men of Israel had taken an oath at Mizpah: “Not one of us will give his daughter in marriage to a Benjamite.”  This was a rash vow for them to make and remember in the eyes of the Lord a vow could not be broken.  We saw Jephthah (Judges 11:29-40) make a rash vow when he vowed to the Lord if he gave the Ammonites into his hands then he would sacrifice WHATEVER came out of the door of his house to meet him when he returned in triumph… little did he know his sacrifice would end up being his ONLY daughter.

The Israelites approached the LORD again, they even build HIM an altar and made burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.  They grieved their brothers, the Benjamites having been cut off from all the Israelites.  They asked how they could provide them wives (without breaking the vow they had made.)   So THEY decide the way to fix the wife situation is to “steal others’ wives!!  OH YEAH… stealing is such a remarkably wise decision!!  WHAT A MESS!!!  The Israelites put tribal loyalties above God’s commands and justified wrong actions to correct past mistakes.

We end the book of Judges in verse 25 with: “In those days Israel had no king; EVERYONE did as HE SAW FIT.”

The Israelites had lost their way because they refused to OBEY God by CONQUERING the land and getting rid of all the people who had chosen a life of complete sin and had NO regard for the ONE TRUE God.  God did not want Israel to be influenced by their sin…sin they were unwilling to get rid of.

The ultimate heroic act is to submit ALL of our plans, desires, and motives to God.  God sent men and a woman as delivers to deliver the Israelites, but the Israelites didn’t get “it.”  They did not understand that God was calling EACH of them to be “heros”.  He was calling each of them to submit ALL of themselves to HIM … just as HE calls each of us to do today.  HE never said it would be easy… but HE did PROMISE to be with us each step of the way.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do ALL things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.”

“Glorious Day (Living He loved Me)” – Casting Crowns

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Judges 16-18

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Chapter 16 The first thing we read about today is that Samson went into Gaza.  Gaza was one of the 5 capital cities (Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron – Josh 13:3) of the Philistines. Keep in mind that Samson was sent by God, his parents (the mother barren) were told they would have a son, set apart for God, A Nazirite, who would BEGIN the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines (Judges 13:5.) 

Take a LOOK at a map on line and look at the location of Gaza.  Pick up ANY newspaper today and most likely you hear of the wars that are STILL going on in this same area in 2013!!  The name “Philistine” comes from the Hebrew word Philistia.  The Greek rendering of the name is “palaistinei” which is where “Palestine” comes from. These Philistine people in Bible times were known for being aggressive, warmongering, “sea people”, great producers and consumers of alcoholic beverages particularly beer, and innovators in the use of iron for weapons (superior to the bronze the Israelites used.)  Archeological findings show that Philistine soldiers carried images of their gods into battle; and ancient ruins of Philistine contain numerous breweries and wineries as well as countless beer mugs.  Remember yesterday when we discussed Samson’s wedding — the Hebrew word translated into “feast” is “misteh” meaning a week-long drinking feast.  We will see that for nearly 200 years the Philistines harassed and oppressed the Israelites.  God sent SAMSON to BEGIN the deliverance of Israel from these people.

Today the Philistine people no longer exist. However, we are familiar with the Palestinians.  Today “The Gaza Strip” forms part of the Palestinian Hamas government and is predominantly Sunni Muslim.  IS THIS NOT TOTALLY FASCINATING!!!???  Can you see God’s prophesies coming to pass even in our time??  MIND BLOWER!!

Samson —disregarded boundaries, ignored good advice, was controlled by his lusts, broke rules, broke all of the Nazirite Vow covenant rules, was a prankster, overconfident, used anger as a tool, repeated the same mistakes, had a huge ego, took a lot for granted, lost sight of the big picture, and obviously did not pray or have his heart toward God… until the end.  God STILL used Samson to BEGIN the destruction of the Philistines!!

Delilah – oh man … did she have feelings for Samson?  We will never know!!  And was she PERSISTENT or WHAT???  Talk about a NAG and a “whiney butt!!”  However, she certainly was not good for him!!   In verse 5 it says “The rulers of the Philistines…each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver”.  One of last year’s blog participants did some research and found that 5500 shekels of silver today is worth $68,992 (not bad pay for a day’s “work”.)  It’s interesting that we NEVER hear of Delilah again in the Bible … great for movie drama…but never spoke of again in God’s Word.  She used her unfaithfulness to Samson and fear of the “rich and famous” to ruin Samson and HER people as well.

Who are these men bribing Delilah? Look at Joshua 13:3

from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite (the territory of the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron—that of the Avvites from the south, all the land of the Canaanites,

These were very VERY wealthy men.  Together they were offering her 5500 shekels.  Back in biblical times, a half of a shekel could buy 160 grains of barley.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. (1 Tim 6:10)

The irony was this was not the first time this had happened to Samson.  In Judges 14:15 – his WIFE was given a choice to get the answer out of her husband OR they would kill her family. BIG choice for a young bride I am sure!!

Verse 20 is so very sad to me.  “BUT HE DID NOT KNOW THAT THE LORD HAD LEFT HIM.”  Samson was not even aware that God had left him.  How often  do we place ourselves in situations and later think … ummmmm….that was not a smart decision and I KNOW God was not in that one??  Hard to admit, but that is why humility is so important, and we are most blessed to KNOW God’s grace and mercy because of Jesus Christ.

Samson now in the Philistines hands, seized, eyes gouged out, bound with bronze shackles, and grinding grain in prison!!  BUT…..and this is so beautiful… in verse 22 “BUT THE HAIR ON HIS HEAD BEGAN TO GROW AGAIN AFTER IT HAD BEEN SHAVED.”  God is planning something BIG.. can you feel it??

NOW… the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a GREAT sacrifice to Dagon (their god).  (Note… remember the name Dagon for future reads…we will read of him again.) They were celebrating, believing their god had delivered them from their enemy (Samson.)  Many people… many of the “rich and famous” and the “who’s whos” were partying, drinking, “in high spirits. LET SAMSON entertain us!!!

Samson had had plenty of time to ponder how he had spent his life.  His last request of the Philistines was “put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple so that I may lean against them.”  And then we see his second and definitely his last request of God – “Then Samson prayed to the LORD, O Sovereign Lord, remember me, O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes….Let me die with the Philistines!”

CAN YOU IMAGINE how big he was???  I mean if he could lean on TWO pillars of this huge building AT THE SAME TIME… he was a BIG BIG BIG man!!  Superman, Spiderman, Ironman, The Hulk, etc … had NOTHING on him!!!  DOWN came the pillars of the temple on the rulers and all the people in it.  He killed more Philistines when he died than while he lived. 

I am crying as I read this.  Although he is one of our Bible leaders, he had great flaws (as we all do).  I can ONLY imagine how much greater God could have used him… if he had “tuned in” earlier to the one who sent him.  Keep in mind that God never abandoned Samson.  He allowed the consequences of Samson’s CHOICES to unfold.  However, when Samson asked (although it was for revenge) … God listened and answered. He did indeed BEGIN the deliverance of the Israelites from the Philistines!!

I have read these chapters about Samson over and over last night and today … and before his death his prayer to God is  ONLY the SECOND time we see him praying to his God.. to our God.  The first time was 15:18 when he “cried out to God” because he was thirsty after a battle.

The story of Samson (IMHO) is a GREAT scripture to teach young adults with.  In some ways you can see the prankster in Samson that is part of so many teens, thinking he is wiser than other around him offering advice, and having to live with the consequences of CHOICES made outside of God’s perfect plan for him.  Look at some of the profound lessons that we could learn from Samson’s life:

  1. Our lusts can and will lead us into destructive behaviors and can destroy our lives and the lives of others
  2. Anger and Revenge are never healthy and can end in disaster
  3. Seeking God with all our hearts and all our souls is vital to our survival
  4. Getting into a relationship with an unbeliever will rarely work which is why we are told “do not be unequally yoked.”
  5. We must decide what kind of person you will love BEFORE passion takes over
  6. Love is a choice
  7. Determine whether a person’s CHARACTER and FAITH are in God before entertaining thoughts of romance and permanence
  8. Most of the time spent with a spouse does not revolve around sex (maybe in the  “honeymoon” and initial phases.. but it is not what lasts).  Our lifetime spouse’s personality, temperament, and commitment to solve problems, laugh with us, enjoy us in sickness and health, must be as gratifying as his or her kisses.
  9. Be patient..the second look often reveals what is beneath the pleasant appearance and attentive touch.
  10. Teach and demonstrate to others how to enjoy the Lord, how to have fun without being in a premature, outside of God’s design for us, physical relationship;  how to laugh;  how to dance; how to sing;  how to have parties with friends not based on drugs and alcohol, and most importantly .. teach them how to read the Word so they may know and hear from the Lord themselves.

Romans 8:39 –Once we are the Lord’s, NO-THING can ever separate us from HIS love!!!  NO sin is unforgiveable (Psalms 103:3 &  Mark 3:28.)— We only have to humble ourselves and confess our sin and that HE is Lord (1 John 1:9.)  God heard Samson…. And He will hear from each of us.

Chapter 17 — As if I were not already crying enough with Samson’s story … this chapter just ripped my heart out.  I am sure Micah’s actions grieved the Holy Spirit.  Isaiah 63:10 says: “Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit.”  Ephesians 4:30 says: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

verse 6”Everyone did as he saw fit” A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah, left that town in search of some other place to stay.  On his way he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.”

Micah, from the hill country of Ephraim (an Israelite) stole from his mother, tells her after he hears her utter a curse about it, then he turns around and makes IDOLS out of the money!!!  HE BUILDS A SHRINE to the IDOLS!!

NOW…. What in the world is a Levite doing in Bethlehem?  Living with a clan of Judah?  Looking for a place to stay?  All Levites were supposed to be serving God, serving HIS people, living in the designated cities for Levites!!! – This priest showed disrespect for God because he performed his duties in a HOUSE… with IDOLS….and claimed to speak for God when God had nothing to do with it!!

Why is Ephraim in the hill country? — The Danites were assigned enough land to meet their needs (Joshua 19:40-48.)  BUT… they failed to trust God to help them CONQUER their territory and were forced by the Amorites into the hill country (1:34.)  As the Danites are wandering around trying to figure out where they are supposed to be living (HELLO…. God ALREADY TOLD THEM WHERE TO LIVE…. THEY MUST HAVE BEEN SMOKIN SOMETHING to have missed God’s message!!)

Chapter 18 –The Danites (SEARCHING for their LAND…duh) stay with Micah and STEAL his IDOLS (double duh)!!!  Then they turn around and ask the priest to ask God if their journey will be success.  (JUST SLAP ME NOW because I KNOW I have done something similar to this kind of stupidness!!)  This priest obviously had NO CLUE of God’s laws for him as a LEVITE.  The Danites were basically trying to seek God from a fake priest…. Yet they are so far “gone” possibly they only wanted the “lip service”…. Ummmm sure go….be save…be blessed.  (Been there and done that too…. Cough, cough!!)

Life without living with God might seem like a small thing, but look how steep the slope gets and how fast the snowball picks up speed!!

NOW the Danites want to BRIBE the priest to go with them to the land of Laish .. land that the Lord NEVER gave them!!!  The Danites had turned into idol worshipers and had become superstitious.  Every step they are taking in this chapter is centered on self and not on God.  They were beginning to believe the priest had special powers that they do NOT have… they are humans just like you and me…no special powers to be worshiped.

WHAT A MESS!!!

So what is today’s take away?  Each of these chapters teach us NOT to depend on our own understanding; and NOT to put ANY thing before God (ideas, TV shows, movies, food, drugs, alcohol, statues, shrines, computers, people, and on and on).  Any habit can become an idol in our lives when they become dominating forces.  How do I see Jesus on these pages?  I am SO glad you asked…. I am made even more aware of how desperately I need HIM .. ALL of HIM .. ALL of the time.

Psalm 86:8 –“Among the gods there is NONE LIKE YOU, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.”

“Shout to the Lord” by Hillsong

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Judges 13-15

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I am betting the first thing that ran through your head when you saw we were reading about Samson was either the movie about “Samson and Delilah” or possibly an old song with words something like: “Romeo and Juliet, Samson and Delilah, baby you can bet that love can’t deny….when we kiss….FIRE!!” Am I right???  Well….as we will see Samson creates a little fire of his own because of his lust for women rather than his devotion to the Lord.  We will learn a lot from Samson’s story… not just the fact that he did the wrong things… but that GOD still USED HIM for the purpose he originally called him for.  NEVER forget that OUR God can use it all … the weak.. the sinners… the “do-overs,” the things that don’t make sense… you and me….to do HIS will.

Chapter 13—I am SURE you saw it as you read the first line of this chapter!  “AGAIN the Israelites did EVIL in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for FORTY YEARS!!!

Go back for just a moment to Exodus 13:17-18 – “When Pharaoh let the people go, God DID NOT LEAD THEM ON THE ROAD THROUGH THE PHILISTINE COUNTRY, though that was shorter.  For God said, “IF THEY FACE WAR, THEY MIGHT CHANGE THEIR MINDS AND RETURN TO EGYPT. So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea….

Is that NOT amazing!!???  Exodus 13 happened at least 800 years prior, if not longer, at the time of the Judges!!  GOD KNEW the Philistines were strong warriors back in Exodus.  Can you imagine how great their strength had grown since Exodus???

The next thing I want to recap for you is the Nazirite Vow.  For more details you can look at Numbers 6.  However the basics of it were that:

  1. The person(s) must ABSTAIN from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or other fermented drink. They must ABSTAIN from grape juice, grapes, and raisins as well … NOTHING from the vineyard… no seeds or skins or grape leaves!!
  2. NO RAZOR could be used on their head.  They must be holy until the period of their dedication to the Lord is over; they must let their hair grow long.
  3. They must not go near a DEAD BODY – animal or human – parent or friend — not GO near a dead body much less touch one because this would make them ceremonially unclean.

So here the Israelites were in captivity (AGAIN.. because of their OWN choices which were in direct opposition to what God required).

Manoah means “rest”, of the Tribe of Dan meaning “judge”.  The angel (the theophanic angel) of the Lord (Jehovah = “the existing ONE, the ONE TRUE GOD”) appeared before Manoah’s wife who was barren and tells her she will have a son.  Interesting in verse 4, that the angel of the Lord requires part of the Nazirite Vow from her (no drinking wine or other fermented drink and no eating of anything unclean.)  The angel tells her that her son is to be a Nazirite, dedicated in the womb, and they are to NEVER cut his hair. Samson was BORN a Nazirite, meaning separated or set aside FOR GOD.

Samson is one of the few in Scripture whose birth was DIVINELY preannounced to his parents (13:3).  He shared this honor with Isaac, John the Baptist, and Jesus.

I LOVE Manoah’s wife’s description of the angel of the LORD… “very awesome”…. Just think how we will describe Jesus when we see HIM face to face…. IF we will even be able to use our words because it will be sooooooooo  VERY beyond AWESOME!!

I LOVE the way Manoah prayed to the Lord for direction as to HOW to raise Samson.  Obviously, the message had not been passed down from generation to generation …. So he humbled himself to ask “how do we do this?”

Manoah wanted to prepare a goat for the angel.  However the angel tells them he will not eat any of their food but guides them to make a burnt offering to the Lord.  If you look back at Numbers 6, you will see that making a sacrifice of a burnt offering to the Lord was part of consecrating the vow!!!  Next Manoah asked the angel HIS name and his response was most interesting; “you will not understand it.”  Isn’t that still so true today … there are things God knows but He cannot share because He knows we will not understand them.

I also found it interesting that the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman twice and she had to go get her husband the second time.  It is also interesting that we are not told the wife’s name.

When Manoah REALIZED they were speaking to the angel of God he thinks they are going to die.  However, the wife calms him by saying something to the effect of….if the Lord wanted to kill us HE would not have accepted our burnt offering and grain offering or shown us about our son!!

She gives birth to a boy and they name him Samson which means “like the sun.”  Did you notice that the Spirit of the Lord began to stir in him before chapter 13 ended?

Chapter 14 – Samson, Samson, Samson!!!! ….. He sees a PHILISTINE woman (the VERY people God has sent him to BEGIN to overcome) and WANTS TO MARRY HER!!!  (OK… NOT GOOD… REMEMBER GOD HAS TOLD HIS PEOPLE OVER AND OVER DO NOT INTERMARRY WITH OTHERS WHO DO NOT BELIEVE I AM JEHOVAH.)

How many of you who are parents have been down this road with your child?  “Now son (or daughter)… isn’t there SOME thing else we can do … look at all there is for you rather than what you have your eyes on…what about….???  Well.. Samson’s parents are THERE in this same moment you have probably had with your child(ren).  However it did NO good.

In verse 5, did you notice that Samson is taking them through the VINEYARDS???  Vineyards, wine, grapes, raisins…. Nazirite vow…don’t eat it or drink it!!  Yet he CHOOSES to walk right into an area of temptation!!

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD came upon Samson to give him the strength to kill the lion… not just kill it… but tore it apart with his bare hands!!  I’d call that a strong man!!  BUT HE DID NOT TELL HIS PARENTS WHAT HE HAD DONE.

Time passes and he returns to marry the PHILISTINE whom he lusted… I mean loved.  On his way there he noticed a swarm of bees and some honey IN THE CARCASS of the lion he had killed before.  WHAT DOES HE DO?????  OH YEA… HE REACHED IN AND GOT HIM SOME HONEY… from inside the body of the DEAD lion.  (REMEMBER he was NOT supposed to TOUCH a dead body.. human or animal as part of the Nazirite vow?)  NOT ONLY does he eat the honey BUT HE takes some to his parents and they ATE IT TOO!!! HE DID NOT TELL THEM WHERE THE HONEY CAME FROM, so he KNEW he did wrong!!! It wasn’t that his parents didn’t train him to do the right things .. I mean they even asked the angel of the Lord to show them how to raise Samson!!  Samson lived around the Philistines and was greatly influenced by their lifestyles I am sure.  He wanted the things they had.  I know I have said this several times in our reading so far…but we must be so very careful about WHOM we spend our time with…what we watch on TV…what we read.  It is so important to be devoted to spending time with God and His people (no people are perfect…but God’s people TRY to live God’s way.)

Verse 10 – His father went to see Samson’s wife to be and Samson held a feast.  This particular kind of feast which was customary in those days had…… you guessed it…..beverages from the vineyard!!

And now Samson wants to play games… answer the riddle!!!  Well…. you saw how the rest of the story went … wife used her tears to get Samson to tell her the answer to the riddle so her family would not die.  YEP.. her sweet lips used him.. and it won’t be the last time we see this happen to Samson.  Samson lost the bet. BUT…. Once again we see “THEN THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD CAME POWERFULLY UPON HIM…”  He killed a few Philistines and returned to his father’s home.

Chapter 15 – Now we read that Samson’s father is the one who gave his wife away.  I’m sure that went over well….so well that Samson set fire to all their crops, vineyards, and olive groves.  And of course the Philistines want retaliation.  Retaliation is NEVER good!!  To prevent further battles between Judah and the Philistines (or more harsh punishment), Judah (3000 MEN) went to capture ONE Samson from the cave he ran into.  As they take him to the Philistines, “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD CAME POWERFULLY UPON SAMSON” once again.  Samson found a jawbone from a dead donkey (ANOTHER Nazirite vow broken.. again he touched something dead) and killed 1000 Philistines.  NOT ONLY did he touch something from a dead animal BUT… in verse 16 .. SAMSON TAKES CREDIT FOR KILLING THE MEN!!!  (UMMMMMMM… NOT A GOOD THING!!)

The Spirit of the Lord has come upon Samson several times in our readings today.  And EACH time this happened was when Samson was able to do the things which required GREAT STRENGTH!!  It was not Samson with the strength… but GOD giving it to him!!

After the battle, Samson CRIED OUT to God because he was thirsty.  He says: “You have given your servant this great victory.  Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised??”  And, God in HIS mercy … gave him water to drink.

The Lord revives him with water from En Hakkore (Caller’s Spring), look at the reference to Isaiah.

 Do you not know?     He gives strength to the weary        and increases the power of the weak.

  Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;

  but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint. (Isa 40:29-31)

Samson truly made one bad decision after the other in the site of God.  Yet we are told he led Israel for 20 years.  EVEN with all of Samson’s poor decisions for wrong reasons, we see a most gracious God.  If you check back at 13:5, the Bible tells us that Samson will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.  He surly wouldn’t be able to complete it.  But God is Sovereign and He raised up Samson for His plan and purpose.  He chose him for a reason.  He knew his weaknesses.

God KNOWS our weaknesses and HE still CHOOSES US… EACH of us!!  He has something special we are each to be doing for HIM.  And even if we don’t do it the way He hopes we will by following HIM completely … HE will still use us and love us and save us and rescue us and give us water to drink. 🙂  That is JUST who HE is!!!

If you have time… read Psalms 23… LOOK at all the LORD promises to do for us…knowing our weaknesses!!  🙂

Sharing HIS love,