Read Judges 12

Highlights:

Jephthah’s victory over the Ephraimites; Jephthah judges Israel six years; Israel delivered to Philistines; birth of Samson, Samson in Timnath; his feast and riddle.

And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol (Jud. 13:24-25).

In the area of Dan and Ephraim, the Israelites were oppressed by the Philistines for 40 years. During that time, Samson was born. Unlike Jephthah, Samson had a godly mother and father who desired to train him to do what the Angel of the Lord had instructed. Samson's mother was deeply concerned that her son be fully dedicated to the Lord (13:3-21).

From time to time, the Spirit of God came upon Samson and began to move (stir) him (Judges 13:25). Eventually, Samson ruled as a judge. However, early in his life, we see his disregard for his holy calling. His first recorded act of unfaithfulness was friendship with the enemies of God. It seemed that Samson was easily distracted with his own physical desires and satisfactions, such as in Timnath, where he fell in love with a Philistine woman. He ignored Israel's Covenant relationship with the Lord and told his father and his mother . . . get her for me to wife. . . . at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel (14:1-4).

Samson's undisciplined life typified the spiritual condition of Israel during that period of the Judges and revealed how a self-willed life results in sorrow and suffering for self as well as others. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me (John 5:30).

All of us are tempted to please ourselves. Self-pleasing comes in many forms: pride, jealousy, theft, refusing to tithe, sexual sins, hate, avoidance of responsibility, using drugs or alcohol, and a host of other things. Every day that we continue in willful sin, Satan's hold becomes stronger, and our chances of deliverance become less likely. Perhaps the greatest deceptive sin is that of presuming the mercy and long-suffering of God will continue indefinitely (Gen. 6:3).

As a Nazarite, Samson was meant to be an example before all Israel of loyal commitment to God. We too are called upon to be separated from the world with a desire to fulfill the Lord's will.

The night is far spent (almost gone), the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light (Romans 13:12).

Thought for Today:

Knowingly living in sin destroys one's usefulness to God.

Word Studies:

12:6 could not frame, could not pronounce; 12:14 nephews, grandsons or other descendants; 13:6 terrible,  awe-inspiring; 13:12 order the child, teach and train; 14:12 sheets, linen garments, like shirts.

Christ Portrayed:

By Samson, who, as a Nazarite, was to be separated or consecrated to God from the womb (birth) to the day of his death (Judges 13:7). Jesus was also set apart and consecrated to God from the womb to the day of His death on the cross. Unlike Samson, who failed God, Jesus totally fulflled God’s plan as He said He would do when He left heaven saying: Lo, I come . . . to do Thy will, O God (Hebrews 10:7).

Pray for Government Officials:

on your local, State, and Federal levels • Pray for Country: Libya (5 million) in North Africa • Major languages: Arabic and Italian • No form of Christian witness to Libyans is permitted • 98% Muslim; 2% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Pray that the will of God be done in every situation you face today (Matthew 6:10).

Optional Reading: John 18

Memory Verse for the Week: Revelation 5:2