Are you persistent in prayer? Do you trust God and wait on His timing? Or are you tempted to doubt God’s faithfulness and give up?
What do fox tails have to do with your walk with God?
Judges 15 & 16
Sampson & God’s ability to use imperfect people
Talk about using imperfect people! Remember God’s purpose in all of this was that Sampson would “begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (13.5). And even in Sampson’s death, God accomplished that purpose.
In the process, God blessed Manoah and his wife with the child they desired (see yesterday’s reading) and other children, as well (v. 16.31). Although, it must have been a great grief to them to see this son with so much potential, to say nothing of the call of God on his life, waste his gifts and talents as he did. But it may have been a consequence of coddling and catering to him in his youth.
Even so, Sampson, like all of us, was responsible for his own personal choices. It seems to me that he was the one who found the least satisfaction in all of this. In the area of his personal relationships, he continually ran after whatever appealed to him. His motives were selfish and he sought to fulfill them in ungodly ways. Consequently, they never brought him any lasting joy, peace or satisfaction.
He even used the strength with which God had blessed him for his own selfish purposes. That, in combination with a sinful sexual relationship, eventually cost him his eyes and his freedom and turned him into a cheap carnival act. Such is the deceitfulness of sin. It never delivers what it promises!
What about us?
Romans 15.4 tells us that:
“… whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
Let’s go back to the questions we’ve been asking in previous commentaries:
What is there in Sampson’s story that I can apply to my life?
How might I be trying to find fulfillment of God-given desires by my own means? Perhaps by getting involved in relationships that I shouldn’t or seeking to find satisfaction in things other than God Himself?
At the end of chapter 14 Sampson left his new wife for a period of time, perhaps in a tiff because she helped the wedding guests solve his riddle. Let’s look at chapter 15.1-6:
¹ After a while, in the time of wheat harvest, it happened that Samson visited his wife with a young goat. And he said, “Let me go in to my wife, into her room.” But her father would not permit him to go in.
2 Her father said, “I really thought that you thoroughly hated her; therefore I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister better than she? Please, take her instead.”
3 And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be blameless regarding the Philistines if I harm them!” 4 Then Samson went and caught three hundred foxes; and he took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails. 5 When he had set the torches on fire, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burned up both the shocks and the standing grain, as well as the vineyards andolive groves.
6 Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?”
And they answered, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire.
Sampson’s petulant and sinful behavior caused his wife’s and her father’s death. My actions may not have resulted in someone’s death, but have I, in effect, tied some foxes tails together and let them wreak havoc? Perhaps by gossiping about someone who has hurt me? Or by spending money I shouldn’t? Or in some other way?
So … how about you? As you have asked yourself these and other questions about Sampson’s story, what has God shown you?
Today’s Other Readings:
David’s psalm of repentance
What a great psalm to go to when we realize we have sinned and fallen short of God’s best in our lives! If that is you, you might want to pray this psalm as a prayer.
The poor and the poor in spirit
Verse 31, “He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.”
As believers we should have mercy on the poor, but not just the poor physically, also those who are poor spiritually. By learning to share the gospel we can offer that which is the most valuable of all—that is, spiritual riches.
Persistence in prayer
Verse 1 is one of my favorites:
“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.”
The parable that follows can be a great encouragement to stay faithful in prayer. God is not saying He is like the unjust judge, but contrasting the two by saying, if even an unjust judge will finally give in and respond to constant requests, how much more will God who is perfect respond to us when we are faithful to pray and wait on Him.
What about you?
Did you consider the questions above about our Old Testament reading?
How do you respond when you are confronted with sin in your life? Are you defensive or do you humbly admit and confess as David did in Psalm 51?
What are you doing to be prepared to help the poor? Are you a wise steward or do you spend every penny you get, making it impossible for you to meet a need when you see one? Are you prepared to share the gospel with unbelievers or do you avoid it because of indifference or a lack of preparation?
Are you persistent in prayer? Do you trust God and wait on His timing? Or do you quickly give up? Are you tempted to doubt God’s faithfulness?
Have a blessed day,
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.