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Bible Pathways 03/27/2002

March 27

Read Judges 12 -- 14

In Today's Reading:

An army is put to death for mispronouncing a word! The next three judges do not take long to read about. The Philestines control the land. After 40 years, the Lord sends another deliverer -- the first Nazarite recorded in history. A riddle is brought forth. A marriage is dissolved and thirty men die over it. Can you solve the riddle? Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness (Judges 14:14).

Verses for Today:

Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman . . . of the daughters of the Philistines. . . . and told his father and his mother . . . get her for me to (be my) wife. . . . for she pleases me well. . . . at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel (Judges 14:1-4).


Jephthah's victory over the Ephraimites; Israel judged by Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon; Israel under Philistine control; birth of Samson; Samson's Philistine wife in Timnath; a feast, a riddle, and then vengeance.

Samson grew up in the mountainous region of Zorah, in the tribe of Dan, near the border of the Philistine territory. The Spirit of God came upon Samson and began to move him at times (Judges 13:25), and we have high expectations of this powerful man who was dedicated as a Nazarite from birth. The Lord was seeking to use Samson when he went down to Timnath. . . . It was of the Lord, that He (God) sought an occasion against the Philistines (14:1-4). But it is disappointing that we have no record of either Samson or the four tribes which lived closest to the Tabernacle ever praying for deliverance from the Philistines or builting an altar to sacrifice to the Lord, or seeking counsel from God.

Early in Samson's life, we see his disregard for his holy calling as a Nazarite. His first act of unfaithfulness was friendship with the idol-worshiping Canaanites. And, at no time did Samson challenge the Israelites to return to the Lord with all your hearts . . . and serve Him only as Samuel late would do (1 Samuel 7:3).

Samson was easily distracted with his own physical desires and found it easy to fall in love with a Philistine woman in Timnath. He was more concerned with satisfying his personal desires than with Israel's covenant relationship with God. This was evident when he insisted on having a Philistine wife. The moral weakness of Samson's life typified the spiritual condition of Israel during that period of the Judges.

Samson is typical of the spiritual condition of some today who are well qualified to serve the Lord but, because of an attitude of self sufficiency and self-pleasing, they fail to use their God given talents for the glory of God. The Apostle Paul should be our example. When he said, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

A Thought from Proverbs: In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death (12:28).

Christ Portrayed:

By Jephthah, who, despite being rejected by his brethren, saved them from bondage to the Ammonites. Jesus, though rejected by many of His Israelite brethren, lay down His life for them and offered freedom from the bondage of sin: God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Jesus . . . delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Word Studies:

12:6 could not frame = could not pronounce; 12:14 nephews = grandsons or other descendants; 13:5 Nazarite = dedicated to God (see Numbers 6:2-21 for Nazarite vow); 13:6 terrible = awesome; 13:12 order the child = teach and train; 13:18 secret = wonderful; 14:12 sheets = linen garments, like shirts.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for your Church · Country: Albania (3 million) in southeastern Europe · Major languages: Albanian and Greek · Newly opened to evangelism · 40% Muslim; 11% Albanian Orthodox; 7% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy (Psalms 106:1).

Optional Reading: John 18

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:16

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