How does your parenting help or hinder your children’s understanding of God? Can it set them up for failure in their relationships with a future spouse or others? Children who grow to expect whatever makes them happy, often approach the throne room of God like spoiled children and grow to be selfish adults.
Judges 13 & 14
Judges 13 & 14:!
Get her for me
Here we begin the story of Sampson. We’ll talk more about Samson’s calling and how God used him tomorrow, but today I’d like to comment on a few things about his relationship with his parents.
Obviously, these were loving people who desired a child very much. They believed in God and reverenced Him as we see from their responses when they realized they had been visited by the Lord.
But I have to wonder how they parented Samson. The first interaction we see between them and their son is in 14.1-2, “Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. So he went up and told his father and mother, saying, ‘I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.'”
His parents wanted him to do what was right, “Then his father and mother said to him, ‘Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?'” (v. 3).
Sampson’s response, ““Get her for me, for she pleases me well” (v. 3). “Get her for me!” And, of course, they did. Sometimes in our love and desire to see our children “happy,” we can easily become indulgent with them, giving them the idea that the world revolves around them.
Our children learn much about the nature of God from us. If we allow them to expect whatever makes them happy, how will they approach the throne room of God? Many believers seem to think that God is there to give them whatever they want without regard to His will or His knowledge of what’s best.
This “get-me-what-I-want” attitude will also hinder their relationships with others. Paul said, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Phil. 2.3-4 NLT). That’s very difficult to do if you’ve been taught you deserve whatever makes you happy!
The eyes of man are never satisfied
The sad thing is that whether it’s our children or us, getting what we selfishly want doesn’t really make us happy. “… the eyes of man are never satisfied” (Prov. 27.20). It often makes us petulant, spoiled children, always looking for something else fun and exciting or new and different. We see that in the life of Sampson.
May the Lord help us to not foster that in our children and to see it for what it is in our own lives. Psalm 37.4 reminds us that we are to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our heart. Remember that means he will place righteous desires in our hearts and bring those to pass in His way and timing. But we must delight ourselves in Him. We do that by developing thankful hearts and finding our joy and satisfaction in Him.
The mercy of God
Verse 21, “These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes.” We think because God doesn’t deal with sin quickly that He won’t really deal with it, but He will. In His mercy, He first gives us, as well as those who may have sinned against us, every opportunity to repent.
Slow to anger
“He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.” How many times have we made fools of ourselves by responding to a situation in anger only to find we didn’t know all the facts? How many times have we realized we’ve done more harm than good by our sinful response, even when a wrong has occurred?
James said it this way, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1.19-20).
As we get closer and closer to Jesus’ return, the Scriptures tell us there will actually be men who will claim to be Christ Himself. Some of them will even appear to do miracles, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24.24).
But Dr. Luke tells us plainly that we are not to believe them. “And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day” (vv. 23-24).
When Jesus comes back to claim His church, we will recognize him just as we recognize the lightning that flashes from one side of the sky to the other. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4.17). Alleluia!
Watching for His return,
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