Archive for the ‘Judges’ Category

Under Gods Command

The Death of Samson

Judges 16:27-30 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform.  Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me.  O God, please strengthen me just one more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”  Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood.  Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,  Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it.  Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. 

In spite of Samson’s past, God still answered his prayer and destroyed the pagan temple and worshipers.  God still loved him.  He was willing to hear Samson’s prayer of confession and repentance and use him this final time.

Lets Bring it Home: One of the effects of sin in our lives is to keep us from feeling like praying.  But perfect moral behavior is not a condition for prayer.  Don’t let guilt feelings over sin keep you from your only means of restoration.  No matter how long you have been away from God, he is ready to hear from you and restore you to a right relationship.  Every situation can be salvaged if you are willing to turn again to him.  If God could still work in Samson’s situation, he can certainly make something worthwhile out of yours.

Under Gods Command
Samson and Delilah

Judges 16:21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison.

Samson, the mighty warrior, became a slave. Rather than kill him, the Philistines preferred to humiliate him by gouging out his eyes and making him grind rain. Samson now had plenty of time to wonder if Delilah’s charms were worth spending the rest of his life in humiliation.
Although God did not completely abandon Samson (16:28-30), he allowed Samson’s decision to stand, and the consequences of his decision followed naturally.

Lets Bring it Home: We may choose to be close to God or to go our own way, but there are consequences resulting from our choice. Samson didn’t choose to be captured, but he chose to be with Delilah, and he could not escape the consequences of his decision.

Under Gods Command

Samson and Delilah

Judges 16:20 Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him.  And his strength left him. 

Delilah was a deceitful woman with honey on her lips and poison in her heart.  Cold and manipulative, she toyed with Samson, pretending to love him while looking for personal gain.  How could Samson be so foolish?  Four times Delilah took advantage of him.  If he didn’t realize what was happening after the first or second experience, surely he should have understood the situation by the fourth time!

Lets Bring it Home: We think Samson is foolish, but how many times do we allow ourselves to be deceived by flattery and give into to temptation and wrong beliefs?  Avoid falling prey to deceit by asking God to help you distinguish between deception and truth.

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.