Read Judges 12 - 14
In Today's Reading:
Jephthah's victory over the Ephraimites; Israel under Philistine control; Samson's Philistine wife in Timnath
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 (see Judges 13:3-21).
From time to time, the Spirit of God came upon Samson and began to move (stir) him (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 seems that Samson was easily distracted with his own physical desires and satisfactions, as in Timnath, when 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 as a wife. . . . at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel (14:1-4).
Samson's 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.
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, use of drugs or alcohol, and a host of other things. Every day that we continue in willful sin, Satan's hold becomes stronger, and our opportunities for deliverance become less likely. Perhaps the greatest deceptive sin is that of presuming the mercy and long-suffering of God will continue indefinitely (see Genesis 6:3).
As a Nazarite, Samson was meant to be an example of loyal commitment to God before all Israel. We too are called upon to be separated from the world with a desire to fulfill the Lord's will. Wherefore come out from among them, and be . . . separate, says the Lord (II Corinthians 6:17). 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 armor of light (Romans 13:12).
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.
By Samson, who, as a Nazarite, was to be separated from the world and consecrated to God from the womb (birth) to the day of his death (Judges 13:7). Jesus was also set apart to God. Unlike Samson, who failed God, Jesus fulfilled God's plan as He said: Lo, I come to do Your will, O God (Hebrews 10:7).
Pray for Country: Saudi Arabia (22 million) on the Arabian Peninsula in southwestern Asia · Major language: Arabic · Christian worship services for foreign personnel are tolerated, but those who seek to convert Muslims to Christianity face persecution · 99% Muslim; 1% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Pray persistently (Isaiah 62:6).
Optional Reading: John 18
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:11