Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Judges 15:9-20 (NRSV)
Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah, and made a raid on Lehi. The men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us.” Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and they said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then have you done to us?” He replied, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” They said to him, “We have come down to bind you, so that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” Samson answered them, “Swear to me that you yourselves will not attack me.” They said to him, “No, we will only bind you and give you into their hands; we will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock.
When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him; and the spirit of the LORD rushed on him, and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. Then he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached down and took it, and with it he killed a thousand men. And Samson said,
“With the jawbone of a donkey,
heaps upon heaps,
with the jawbone of a donkey
I have slain a thousand men.”
When he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and that place was called Ramath-lehi.
By then he was very thirsty, and he called on the LORD, saying, “You have granted this great victory by the hand of your servant. Am I now to die of thirst, and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” So God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came from it. When he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore it was named En-hakkore, which is at Lehi to this day. And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
Samson is the source of many exciting Sunday school stories. However, when we read him from an adult viewpoint, he appears to be a deeply flawed character. The account here is typical of a figure who gets involved in various sins, including intermarrying with non-believers. He takes revenge when his foreign wife is remarried. That leads to the greater revenge that the Philistines take on Israel. Samson allows Israel to hand him over to the Philistines and proceeds to kill many of Israel’s enemy. Samson’s victory poem plays on the words “jawbone” and “heap,” which sound alike in Hebrew. Yet the Bible relates how “the spirit of the LORD rushed on him” (v. 14), to enable him to commit the slaughter. His first recorded prayer is a request (demand?) for water, which God provides (verses 18-19). How can such a person be selected by God to be a servant? And of course that question can be applied to any of us. We are all flawed figures, sinners saved by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). God has the opportunity to use us in spite of ourselves. How much more would God have been able to work through Samson had he been faithful? The same can be true for us.
God, shape us into your servants so that our lives may be devoted to the worship and work for which you have called and equipped us.
Go with God.