O Lord, my God, lead me in Your paths today. I want to hear and obey Your holy Word.
Read JUDGES 15:1-20
 Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father would not let him go in.  “I was so sure you thoroughly hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your friend. Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.”  Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.”  So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails,  lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.  When the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” they were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because his wife was given to his friend.” So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death.  Samson said to them, “Since you’ve acted like this, I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.”  He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.  The Philistines went up and camped in Judah, spreading out near Lehi.  The men of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight us?” “We have come to take Samson prisoner,” they answered, “to do to him as he did to us.”  Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?” He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.”  They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.” Samson said, “Swear to me that you won’t kill me yourselves.”  “Agreed,” they answered. “We will only tie you up and hand you over to them. We will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and led him up from the rock.  As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands.  Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.  Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.”  When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi.  Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the LORD, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?”  Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi.  Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines. 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.
ReflectHow did God show his care and protection for Samson?
The wedding is over, but Samson has no wife. Everyone knows that she’s been married off to his best man, but Samson is ignorant of this. And he is ignorant in a far more profound way—with little understanding of what it means to be dedicated to God. Like the rest of the Israelites, who have been called to live distinctively holy lives, Samson has been seduced by the Philistines. “The two communities are so interlocked that even the Lord can find nothing to get hold of to pry them apart,” suggests Michael Wilcock in The Message of Judges (The Bible Speaks Today series, IVP, 1992). Freed from Egypt, God’s people are again in a position where they are being ruled by the enemy—and content to be so, it seems (11). But now Samson’s anger begins to drive a wedge between these two communities. For a moment, he appears as passive as his countrymen, but this is just the calm before the storm. The Spirit of the Lord is about to thunder through him, body and soul. For despite his faults, at least Samson knows who the enemy is and he is prepared to fight.
Ponder the extent to which you might be too closely intertwined with the culture around you. Pray for discernment.
Lord, keep me aware of the enemy and his attempts to separate me from You. Deliver me from temptation.
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