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Bible Pathways 03/28/05

March 28

Read Judges 15 - 17

In Today's Reading:

Samson loses his wife; 1,000 Philistines slain; Delilah; Samson defeated, blinded, dies with the Philistines; Micah's idols

The early life of Samson is recorded in chapters 13, 14, and 15 of the Book of Judges. Then it appears that many years passed for which we have no record until we read the tragic events in chapter 16.

There is no record that Samson ever expressed a desire to be used by the Lord to deliver the Israelites from the Philistine's oppression. So it is not a surprise that he neither prayed for guidance nor protection. He also chose the enemies of God for his friends.

Early in life, Samson disregarded the spiritual significance of his Nazarite dedication by marrying a Philistine woman. He became deeply involved in sin as he made friends with Delilah, another Philistine woman. When Samson saw Delilah, he should have thought of his sacred Nazarite calling (see Judges 13:7) and his high calling as a judge. But sin had blinded him to the reason he had been gifted with great strength. And, as always, with each person who presumptuously believes that God's mercy and long-suffering will continue indefinitely, we see the error of presumption as Samson yields to Delilah's treachery. And she said, the Philistines be upon you, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he knew not that the LORD was departed from him (16:20).

Consequently, the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters (chains) of brass; and he did grind in the prison house (16:21). Not only did he suffer the gruesome torture of having his eyes gouged out, but he was also forced to take the place of an animal and spend his time turning the mill to grind corn into meal for his captors.

The tragic story of Samson should send a strong message to every Christian who has fallen into the treacherous web of sinful pleasures. Samson is not the only servant of God who ever lost his power through worldliness and self-indulgence (see 16:19).

In contrast, by faith Moses delivered his people from bondage choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11:24-25).

Word Studies:

15:4 firebrands = torches of flax on fire; 16:7 green withes = small new ropes; 16:11 fast = securely; never . . . occupied = never used; 16:25 make us sport = entertain us; 16:26 Suffer me = Allow me; 17:4 founder = metal worker.

Christ Revealed:

Through the strength God gave to Samson for his last victory over the Philistines (Judges 16:28-30). I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for BPM Staff: Ken Sharp · Government Officials: Gov. Frank Murkowski (AK) and Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NY) · Country: Senegal (10 million) in western Africa · Major language: French · Religious freedom · 92% Muslim; 4% animism and ancestor worship; 3% Roman Catholic; .1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Remember that God hears and answers our prayers (Isaiah 65:24).

Optional Reading: John 19

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:11

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