Archive for the ‘Judges’ Category

Under Gods Command

Samson and Delilah

Judges 16:04-05 Sometime later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sroek whose name was Delilah.  The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him.  Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.   

Judges 16:15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, I love you, when you won’t confide in me?  This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.”

Samson was deceived because he wanted to believe Delilah’s lies.  Although he could strangle a lion, he could not smother his burning lust and see Delilah for who she really was.

Lets Bring it Home: How can you keep your desire for love and sexual pleasure from deceiving you?

1) You must decide what kind of a person you will love before passion takes over.  Determine whether a person’s character and faith in God are as desirable as his or her physical appearance.

2) Because most of the time you spend with your spouse will not involve sex, your companion’s personality, temperament, and commitment to solve problems must be as gratifying as his or her kisses.

3) Be patient.  Time and observation often reveal what is beneath the pleasant appearance and attentive touch.

Under Gods Command
Samson and Deliah 

Judges 16:01 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute.  He went to spend the night with her.    

It appears that Samson totally forgot the mission that God called him to do.  Samson was supposed to be plotting the demise of the Philistines.  First we find him planning a wedding.  Imagine getting measured for a tux when you’re supposed to be planning an attack against your bride’s family! AFter that did not work out, he is distracted again with a prostitute.  Samson was so distracted by his constant pursuit of sexual gratification that he never became the Moses like deliverer that God intended for him to be. 

Lets Bring it Home: What about us? Are we also distracted by your interest in sex?  Would you be forced to admit that you spend a good bit of time trying to satisfy your desires in ways that you’d never want anyone to know about?

Do you read trashy novels?

Do you spend time in Internet chat rooms flirting with total strangers?

Do you download pornographic pictures onto a top-secret dis?

Do you watch adult movies when you’re home alone?

Do you visit strip clubs and adult bookstores when you’re out of town?

Do you masturbate regularly?

Do you call 900 (phone sex) numbers?

Do you concoct lies and excuses to cover up these activities?

Do you have a secret intimate relationship with someone?

Do you find ways to excuse behavior that you know in your heart is inexcusable?

If your answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, then my friend, you have strayed far from where God wants you to be.  It doesn’t matter if you still give some of your time and energy to God service.  Any amount of time invested in the pursuits listed above is an indication that you have lost sight of God’s plan for your life.  Lust is controlling you, and if you don’t take action to correct he problem, it will ruin your life.


Under Gods Command

Judges 15:18 Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the LORD, “YOU have given your servant this great victory.  Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?”

Samson was physically and emotionally exhausted.   After a great personal victory, his attitude declined quickly into self-pity.  “Must I now die of thirst?” Emotionally, we are most vulnerable after a great effort or when faced with real physical needs.  Severe depression often follows great achievements; so don’t be surprised if you feel drained after a personal victory.

Lets Bring it Home: During these times of vulnerability, avoid the temptation to think that God owes you for your efforts.  It was his strength that gave you victory.  Concentrate on Keeping your attitudes, actions, and words focused on God instead of your self.

Under Gods Command

Judges 15:1-3 Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife.  He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room. “But her father would not let him go in.  “I was so sure you thoroughly hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your friend.  Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.”Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.

Judges 15:8-11: He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them.  Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.  The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi.  The men of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight us?” “We have come to take Samson prisoner, “they answered, “to do to him as he did to us.”  Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rook of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us?  What have you done to us?” He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.”

Samson’s reply in 15:11 tells the story of this chapter;  “I merely did to them what they did to me.” Revenge is an uncontrollable monster.

Lets bring it Home:  Each act of retaliation brings another.  It is a boomerang that cannot be thrown without cost to the thrower.  The revenge cycle can be halted only by forgiveness.

Under Gods Command

Judges 14:19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power.  He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of their belongings and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle.  Burning with anger, he went up to his father’s house. 

Samson impulsively used the special gift God gave him for selfish purposes.  Today, God distributes abilities and skills throughout the church (1 Corinthians 12:1).  The apostle Paul states that these gifts are to be used “that the body of Christ may be built up,” that is, to build up the church (Ephesians 4:12).

Lets bring it home: To use these abilities for selfish purpose is to robe the church and fellow believers of strength.  As you use the gifts God has given you, be sure you are helping others, not just yourself.

Under Gods Command

Judges 14:1-4 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman.  When he returned, he said to this father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”  His father and mother replied, “isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me.  She’s the right one for me.” (His parents did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines, for at that time they were ruling over Israel.) 

Samson’s parents objected to his marrying the Philistine woman for several reasons:

(1)  It was against God’s law (Exodus 34:15-17; Deuteronomy 7:1-4).  A stark example of what happened when the Israelites married pagans can be found in 3A:A5-7.

(2)  The Philistines were Israel’s greatest enemies.  Marriage to a hated Philistine would be a disgrace to Samson’s family.  But Samson’s father gave into Samson’s demand and allowed the marriage; even through he had the right to refuse his son.

(3)  He was supposed to be plotting the demise of the Philistines, but instead he was planning a wedding.  Imagine getting measured for a tux when you’re supposed to be planning an attack against your bride’s family!

When his parents did try to raise the issue of the girl’s spiritual heritage, Samson reacted harshly, nipping the discussion in the bud.  In essence, he said, “Who cares if she’s a pagan?  She’s hot and that’s all I care about” There was absolutely no consideration of the spiritual ramifications of romancing the girl.

Lets bring it home: The next time you feel a twinge of sexual desire toward someone or something illicit, stop and remind your self of a simple but important truth that Samson obviously forgot: that the primary difference between and an animal is that a man has the ability to act according to reason rather than instinct.  Let those two words settle in your mind.

Reason and instinct.  A man has the ability to reason his way through a situation, weighing the pros and cons, evaluating the risk and rewards, and considering the spiritual ramifications, while animals act entirely according to instinct.  This means that when you throw reason to wind and act solely according to the impulses of your flesh, you become no different than your dog or the old tomcat that prowls the alley behind your house.

Under Gods Command
Judges 13:24-25 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson.  He grew and the LORD blessed him, and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.  

God’s Spirit began preparing him for his role as judge and leader against the Philistines.

Lets bring it home: Perhaps there are things that stir your heart.  These may indicate areas where God wants to use you.  God uses a variety of means to develop and prepare us: hereditary traits, environmental influences, and personal experiences.  As with Samson this preparation often begins long before adulthood.  Work at being sensitive to the Holy Spirit leading and the tasks God has prepared for you.
Your past may be more useful to you than you imagine. 

Under Gods Command
Judges 13:1 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.  

God was fed up with his people.  He was so disgusted with their disobedience that he decided to hand them over to the Philistines.  The idea was that the crack of a whip across their backs might help them see the error of their ways.  But it didn’t work.  Not only did they accept slavery as a way of life, their lack of repentance suggests that they actually grew content with it.  This suffering was not caused by God, but resulted from the fact that the people ignored God, their Judge and Ruler.  That they didn’t cry out to God is amazing, but not half as amazing as the fact that God decided to deliver them anyway.  In what could only be described as phenomenal act of grace, God decided to rise up a strong man to lead His unrepentant people out of bondage.  That man was Samson.

Lets bring it home: What will it take for us to follow God?  The warnings in God’s World are clear: if we continue to harden our hearts against God, we can expect the same fate as Israel.

Under Gods Command
Read Judges 10:6 – 12-7

It’s hard not to admire people whose word can be depended on completely and whose actions are consistent with their words. For such people, talking is not avoiding action; it is the beginning of action.  People like this can make excellent negotiators.  They approach a conflict with the full intention of settling issues verbally, but they do not hesitate to use other means if verbal attempts fail.  Jephthah was this kind of person.

In most of his conflicts, Jephthah’s first move was to talk.  In the war with the Ammonites, his strategy was negotiation.  He clarified the issues so that everyone knew the cause of the conflict.  His opponent’s response determined his next action.

The fate of Jephthah’s daughter is difficult to understand.  We are not sure what Jephthah meant by his vow recorded in Judges 11:31 In any case, his vow was unnecessary, We do not know what actually happened to his daughter-whether she was burned as an offering or set apart as a virgin, thus denying Jephthah any hope of descendants since she was his only child.  What we do know is that Jephthah was a person of his word, even when it was a word spoken in haste, and even when keeping his word caused him great pain.

Lets bring it home: Ho do we approach conflicts?  There is a big difference between trying to settle a conflict through words and simply counterattacking someone verbally.  How dependable are the statements you make?  Do your children, friends, and fellow workers know you to be a person of your word?  The measure of your trustworthiness is your willingness to take responsibly, even if you must pay a painful price because of something you said.

Under Gods Command

 Jephthah’s rash vow brought him unspeakable grief in the heat of emotion or personal turmoil it is easy to make foolish promises to God.  These promises may sound very spiritual when we make them, but they may produce only guilt and frustration when we are forced to fulfill them.  Making spiritual “deals” only brings disappointment.  God does not want promises for the future, but obedience for today.

Judges 11:30-31, 34-35 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, what ever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

34-35 Then Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines!  She was an only child.  Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.  When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried.  “Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break.