March 2, 2023 - Judges 13-17
“And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (13:1). Again!! But an angel of the Lord appeared to the wife of Manoah, and though she was barren, the angel told her that she would have a son and that he would be a Nazirite (Numbers 6 – one set aside for special service/commitment to the Lord). And so, Samson was born. A timeline of his life:
He grew and the Lord blessed him --> He went down to Timnah and met a Philistine girl --> At Timnah, a lion came upon him and his parents and he slew it with his hands --> Later, he returned to Timnah to marry the girl, and he ate honey out of the lion's carcass --> He did the riddle thing with the Timnahites, killed 30 men, and his wife was given to another --> Samson returned to Timnah to discover his wife was given to another (his best man!), and using foxes and torches, had burned the Philistines' crops --> With the jawbone of a donkey, he slew one thousand Philistines --> He judged Israel for 20 years --> And then, the whole thing with Delilah. What a mess!
The writer of Hebrews, in commending the men and women of faith, included Samson: “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets--who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight” (Hebrews 11:32-34). Paul marveled at the grace of God: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15). Aren’t we glad that God saves and uses such imperfect people!
I am not skilled to understand
What God hath willed, what God hath planned;
I only know at His right hand
Is One who is my Saviour!
I take Him at His word indeed:
“Christ died for sinners,” this I read;
And in my heart I find a need
Of Him to be my Saviour!
That He should leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die,
You count it strange? So once did I,
Before I knew my Saviour!
And oh, that He fulfilled may see
The travail of His soul in me,
And with His work contented be,
As I with my dear Saviour!
Yes, living, dying, let me bring
My strength, my solace from this Spring;
That He who lives to be my King
Once died to be my Saviour! -- Dora Greenwell (1873)