Credit Where It’s Due
Great and Loving God, I come to You now eager to hear You speak to me from Your Holy Word.
Read Judges 16:23-31
 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”  When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain.”  While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars,  Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.”  Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform.  Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”  Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other,  Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.  Then his brothers and his father’s whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy do you think God strengthened Samson one last time?
What’s worse than doing something good and seeing the beneficiary attribute it to someone who cares nothing for them? It’s hard to continue blessing someone who ignores or, worse, betrays me. Yet, that is what God did for Israel. God was in covenant with the people of Israel. He gave them Canaan and in return asked for faithfulness to him alone. Yet from the start of our readings in Judges, the people were seduced by the idolatry of the nations around them. They served false gods such as Dagon. It was God’s purpose to demonstrate his supremacy over both the Philistines and the people of Israel. The Philistines credit victory to Dagon, but he proves powerless when both his temple and his worshipers are destroyed by God’s servant. Samson is humiliated beyond belief: blind, enslaved, led by the hand and made to perform for his enemies. Once more he calls to his “Sovereign Lord,” acknowledging God both as King over Israel and the source of his strength. In answering Samson’s prayer, God demonstrates his supremacy over Dagon and exacts judgment on the Philistines.
Are you ever tempted by the false gods of those around you? If so, confess it as sin now.
Almighty God, You–and You alone–are God and there is no other. Help me never, ever to forget that.