Highlights In Today's Reading:
Chapter 16 relates the downfall of Samson as we see him constantly yielding to sin and its destruction of his opportunity to defeat the Philistines. Chapter 17 — Warning: Ignorance of the Word of God results in deception.
Samson had become an outlaw among the Philistines and an embarrassment to his own people. When he tried to hide in Judean territory, the tribe of Judah turned him over to the Philistines because they were afraid the Philistines would seek revenge (15:11-13).
The actions of the tribe of Judah were typical of the low spiritual concern of all the tribes of Israel. It appeared they were more willing to pacify the Philistines who ruled over them than to pray for deliverance.
How different the outcome would have been if they had united with Samson in defeating the Philistines!
Joshua had reminded the people: The Lord your God, He shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight. . . . Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses (Josh. 23:5-6).
And Samson said: I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him (16:20).
Many continue in their sinful conduct "just one more time" — not realizing that the Lord was departed. Undoubtedly Samson asked for forgiveness, for the Lord answered his prayer and the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life (16:30).
If Samson had remained faithful to his Nazarite calling, he could have easily conquered all the Philistines. Our hero could have claimed all of Canaan as the possession of God, and ruled as a victorious judge for much more than 20 years. His untimely death is a warning to all who continue in disobedience.
It is disappointing regarding Samson, our hero. Not once in 20 years as Judge do we read of his building an altar or praying for guidance or even forgiveness in not keeping his Nazarite vow — even though the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times (Judg. 13:25; 14:6,19).
Thought for Today:
It is tragic to think of the numbers of people that could be used to do wonderful things for God but instead they waste their lives not surrendering to the Word of God.
Through the strength God gave to Samson for his last victory over the Philistines (Judg. 16:28-30). I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Phil. 4:13).
15:2 I verily though =I felt sure; hated =disliked; 15:3 a displeasure =great evil; 15:4 firebrands =torches; 15:8 cleft =cave or cliff; 15:10 bind =capture; 15:17 Ra'math-le'hi =hill of the jawbone; 15:18 sore athirst =very thirsty; 16:5 afflict him =hold him captive; 16:7 green withes =fresh cords; 16:9 tow =rope; 16:11 fast =tightly; occupied =used; 16:16 vexed =persisted; 16:21 fetters =chains; 16:25 make us sport =amuse us; 17:5 teraphim =household idols.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Linda Kennon • Country: Finland (5.2 million) in northern Europe • Major languages: Finnish and Swedish • Religious freedom • 86% Lutheran; 1% Orthodox; 12% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Pray that Christians would be united as Christ and God are one (John 17:11,21).
Optional Reading: John 19
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:44