You Be the Judge
Gracious God, be the source of my strength today, so that I can live faithfully for You.
Read JUDGES 14:1-20
 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman.  When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”  His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.”  (His parents did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)  Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him.  The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.  Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.  Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass. In it was a swarm of bees and some honey,  which he scooped out with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.  Now his father went down to see the woman. And Samson made a feast there, as was customary for bridegrooms.  When he appeared, he was given thirty companions.  “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.  If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.” “Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.”  He replied, “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” For three days they could not give the answer.  On the fourth day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to rob us?”  Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.” “I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?”  She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.  Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” Samson said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle.”  Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of their belongings and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he went up to his father’s house.  And Samson’s wife was given to the friend who had attended him at his wedding. 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 was Samson able to kill the lion?
What could be nicer than a wedding story? But this is not just a romance—it’s Samson beginning to fulfill his predicted job description (13:5). However, if you were looking for someone of unimpeachable integrity to measure out God’s justice, you probably wouldn’t pick Samson. Although, as a Nazirite, he was expected to live up to high standards—no touching corpses; no wine or beer; no trips to the barbers (see Num. 6:1-5)—he soon manages to break one of these vows. The Spirit of the Lord may have taken hold of him, but we’ll see that there are ways he fails to make the grade.
Having said that, he’s brave, he’s strong, and he’s great fun. But soon the wedding ends in disaster and his anger precipitates the death of 30 Philistine men. Is this what God intended? Interestingly, the only times God’s Spirit is mentioned in Judges 13-16 is when Samson attacks others or is attacked himself. So, if you’re confused by God’s choice, you’re in good company (4). His ways are indeed beyond our understanding. But, as Paul points out, “the mystery is that Christ lives in you” (Col. 1:27, CEV).
If you’re confused or confounded by any of God’s choices today, bring them to God and remember Isaiah 55:8,9.
Lord, there is so much that is a mystery to me, but I trust in Your wisdom and goodness.
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