C.H. Spurgeon said that Samson’s life was a series of miracles and mess-ups…and I would add that those miracles and mess-ups were “big” on both ends.
After all the drama of the failed wedding of the past (it never happened – Judges 14) how could Samson possibly come back to claim his “wife?” Her father married her off to someone else, so Samson used that as fuel to start a fight with the Philistines. Warren Wiersbe rightly said, “When life is motivated by retaliation, the consequences are usually painful.” It’s tragic to read that she and her family were burned to death by the Philistines, and the men of Judah delivered their deliver to the Philistines. You might wonder how THAT can happen? Why didn’t they rally around Samson and fight for their freedom following their obviously God-given leader? Again Warren Wiersbe offers insight, “Had Samson been a spiritual man, and not just a fighter, he could have led them forth to victory, but he preferred to work alone and not as the leader of a crusade.”
The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson and he killed a thousand Philistines with a jawbone of a donkey. I think God was trying to speak to Samson. There may have been some similarities to Samson and Balaam – both had tons of potential. In the ministry of Balaam God used a donkey, God spoke through a donkey, here Samson picks up the closest “weapon” he can find – the jawbone of a donkey to bring about victory. Doesn’t Samson get it yet? God wanted to use him to bring about victory for Israel – if God could use a donkey, surely God could use him (and me – even my jawbone – my words).
Samson was reminded of his humanity when he almost died of thirst, but still he lived in disobedient arrogance. Like most men, Samson’s weakness was women. It’s tough to read about this man (who is in the hall of faith – Hebrews 11:32, who is so gifted) sleeping with a harlot – even if he did carry the city gates on his shoulders to escape with a statement.
Eventually this weakness of women would reduce this man to a crust of bread (Proverbs 6:26). Delilah captured his heart and she didn’t even need to beat around the bush:
Judges 16:6 (NKJV) “So Delilah said to Samson, ‘Please tell me where your great strength lies, and with what you may be bound to afflict you.’”
Samson played with sin, and played with sin, and played with sin, until eventually he sinned one too many times, and he payed for sin. God had rescued him and showed him so much grace that he thought he was beyond any consequences to sin. The man who had blinded himself spiritually, was now blinded physically, as the Philistines gouged out his eyes, ironic isn’t it? Sin binds, it blinds, and grinds. He would spend the rest of his life, grinding the millstone in circles.
I don’t think it was the haircut that did him in, it was his toying with sin to the point of giving in and crossing the line. May we learn from Samson, especially in the area of sexual temptation. God help us to fear Him and to not just begin the race, but to finish well.
At his death Samson DID kill three thousand Philistines, but his kamikaze outgoing was not God’s perfect will for his life and death…it could have been so much more. Will that be our epitaph?
I’ve always loved the fact that the first miracle of Jesus (or “sign” as John calls them) was done at a wedding. Many, many marriages are struggling, and we need Jesus to come and do His wonderful work in our hearts…and we’ll see, He is able.
His mother Mary, Jesus, and His disciples were attending the wedding and in the midst of the celebration, they ran out of wine. This would not only have been embarrassing, but according to the commentator William Barclay (he specialized in historical-cultural background) in those days, the attendees could have brought a lawsuit against the couple. This wouldn’t have been a good way to start off their new life together as a couple, so Mary comes to Jesus and lets Him know about the dilemma.
Many mysteries cloud the picture here. I don’t think Jesus had done other miracles up to this point in His life, but I do believe that Mary knew Jesus could, if He wanted to, and she probably knew that His hour was drawing near. She may have figured, what better way than to meet this marriage need in front of all these people? The Catholic church points to this passage and says, “See, how Jesus does what His mom tells Him to do?” That’s why they pray to her. I remember reading one bumper-sticker that said, “If you can’t find God, look for His mom.” Blasphemy! Mary is the mother of Jesus in His humanity, but she is not the mother of God in His deity.
In the end, she leaves it in the hands of her Son, it’s up to Him, she tells the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Jesus does not go public, as Mary would have liked, but He privately meets the need, shows us His glory, and teaches us in the process.
I often “visit” the “Water Place” and bring back 15 gallons of water. These guys had to go to the “Water Place” and bring back 120 to 180 gallons of water, a difficult task, but they did it…obediently, by faith. God honored their labor, for in the end, when Jesus simply “willed” the water to be wine, it was transformed to be the best wine ever, and they were the only ones who knew the details of the miracle at that wedding. When we serve the Lord obediently and sacrificially we get to see miracles that others may never truly see.
Jesus’ public ministry begins with Him cleansing the Temple. The Temple was intended to be a House of Prayer for all nations, but they had made it a den of thieves, and the religious leaders were making money, hand over fist. Can you picture sweet, humble, gentle Jesus making a whip of cords and driving out the people who were just doing “business.” Make no mistake about it, Jesus is the Lamb who lays down His life, but He’s also the Lion…of the tribe of Judah.
Of course, the religious leaders were upended and offended that this “nobody” challenged their authority – they asked for a sign from Jesus. Jesus told them that He would destroy this “Temple” and in 3 days He would raise it up. They thought He was speaking of the literal Temple, but Jesus was referring to His body – the resurrection would be the sign of all signs! Who else has defeated death? No one but Him.
During that Passover in Jerusalem, many said they believed in Him, but they really didn’t, it was just lip-service, it didn’t reach the heart. Jesus knew they didn’t really believe, so He did didn’t commit Himself to them. O Lord let us be real.
David makes no requests in this Psalm, he simply praises the Lord.
May we praise our God with all that is within us, may we never forget the benefits of being a Christian.
God forgives, He heals, He redeems, He crowns, He satisfies our life with good things. He executes righteousness and justice on our behalf – we see His mercy and grace in the way He’s dealt with Israel and even with us.
Almost every time I pray I consider the fact that I deserve hell, that I don’t deserve my family, or to be in the ministry…and I’m reminded of:
Psalm 103:10–12 (NKJV) “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
David goes on to speak of the fact that life on earth is frail and fleeting, but then there’s life in heaven – and there the LORD has established His throne forever. There the angels are, now, and we will be one day – because in Christ He has washed away our sins.
What more can we ask for?
V. 17 – If only we (especially men) would repent of our quick-temper, our ugly hearts filled with wicked intentions.
V. 18 – The “simple” in the Proverbs refer to the naive, to the one who is so open-minded that his brains fall out – such people will live foolish lives. But the prudent – the one who who exercises wisdom for the future will be crowned (rewarded) with blessings.
V. 19 – This may refer to what will happen on that great day of judgment – it’s not that the wicked bow TO us, they will bow TO God, but we will be there to witness it (Philippians 1:10; Revelation 3:9).
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.