Read Judges 12 -- 14
The outcast Jephthah had triumphantly defeated the Ammonites, the enemies of God's people. We turn now to the western side of the Jordan, in the area of Dan and Ephraim, where the Israelites were oppressed by the Philistines for 40 years. During that time of oppression, 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 instructed. Samson's mother was deeply concerned that her son be fully dedicated to the Lord (Judges 13:3-21; compare I Samuel 1:11).
Samson grew up in the mountainous region of Zorah, in the tribe of Dan, near the border of the Philistine territory. From time to time, the Spirit of God came upon Samson and began to move him (Judges 13:25). Eventually, Samson ruled as judge; and we have high expectations of this powerful man, who went down to Timnath. . . . It was of the Lord, that He (God) sought an occasion against the Philistines . . . who had dominion over Israel (14:1-4). However, it is disappointing that we have no record that either Samson or the four tribes which lived closest to the Tabernacle prayed for deliverance from the Philistines who had dominion over Israel.
Early in Samson's life, we see his disregard for his holy calling. His first act of unfaithfulness was friendship with the enemies of God. Jephthah had quoted biblical events of how the Lord God of Israel (11:21-23) had given the land to Israel and how he prayed for victory over the Ammonites (11:30-31). But Samson never confronted the Philistines with the fact that the Lord, the Judge (11:27), had given the land to Israel. At no time do we read that Samson challenged the Israelites , as the prophet and judge Samuel later did, to return unto the Lord with all your hearts . . . and serve Him only (I Samuel 7:3).
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. Samson ignored Israel's covenant relationship with the Lord when he insisted that his parents consent to their marriage, demanding: Get her for me (Judges 14:2). The moral weakness of Samson's life typified the spiritual condition of Israel during that period of the Judges. His life exposes how a self-willed life results in sorrow and suffering for self and others.
All of us are tempted to please ourselves, and 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. With 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 that the mercy and long-suffering of God will continue indefinitely as Samson seemed to do.
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 by our own definite desire to fulfill the Lord's will. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12).
Christ Portrayed: By Samson, who, as a Nazarite, was to be separated or consecrated to God from the womb 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 fulfilled God's plan as He said He would do when He left Heaven saying: Lo, I come . . . to do Your will, O God (Heb. 10:7).
Word Studies: 12:6 could not frame means could not pronounce; 12:14 nephews means grandsons or other descendants; 13:6 terrible means awe-inspiring; 13:12 order the child means teach and train; 14:12 sheets means linen garments, like shirts.
Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WPYB-AM, Benson, NC · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in memory of Tim Peterson · Country: Brunei (400,000) on the northern coast of Borneo · Major languages: Malay and English · Limited religious freedom · 66% Muslim; 19% Chinese religions; 6% animist; 4% Protestant; 4% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: What a comfort to know that we depend upon His strength (Psalms 71:16).
Optional Reading: John 18
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:11