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 (Judges 13:3-21).
From time to time, the Spirit of God came upon Samson and began to stir him (13:25). Eventually, Samson ruled as a judge. Early in his life, we see his disregard for his holy calling. His first act of unfaithfulness was friendship with the enemies of God.It seemed 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 then went up and told his father and his mother, and said. . . . get her for me as a wife. . . . at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel (14:1-4).
Samson ignored Israel's covenant relationship with the Lord. 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 and 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, 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.
As a Nazirite, 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 nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12).
By Samson, who, as a Nazirite, was to be separated or consecrated to God from the womb until 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 fulfilled God's plan as He said He would do when He left heaven saying: See, I have come . . . to do Your will, O God (Hebrews 10:7).
Country: Togo (5 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and several African languages · Limited religious freedom · 41% belief in false gods and voodoo; 32% Roman Catholic; 19% Muslim; 8% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His loving-kindness and faithfulness (Psalms 138:2).
Optional Reading: John 18
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:16