The Cruel Cut
Mighty Lord, Yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory. Let my praise of You always please You.
Read JUDGES 15:1-20
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.
Unpredictable things can happen when God’s Spirit is released in power.
Through the mess surrounding Samson’s marital arrangements, God is accomplishing his work. That is encouraging for us. God is never to be ruled out of his universe. Despite appearances, he may yet work wonders.
God is reversing the pattern of Philistine life. These invaders of God’s land had grown used to success. Now a new pattern is emerging: successes are now being followed by disasters. They think it’s all over concerning Samson’s wife–all resolved, and Samson only needs to accept the fait accompli. The next thing they know, there’s smoke in the fields and on the hills. Then they think they’ve dealt with the troublemaker by a murderous arson attack of their own, but a thousand of them pay with their lives (15). The conflict is escalating; the troubler is wreaking more havoc each time; the Spirit of the Lord is changing the expectations of the Philistines as he draws his servant Samson into deeper and deeper trouble. Why do we expect the coming of God’s kingdom to be easy for us? Why do we think that we have to be well liked to be more effective in spiritual warfare?
For Samson, however, success comes at a price. It is bad enough to be opposed and ill-treated by the enemies of God’s people, but to be rebuked and handed over by his own people, who benefit from his exploits, is a truly cruel cut. Verse 11 is one of the most faithless, lazy and pathetic comments from any of God’s people anywhere in the Old Testament. They might just as well have said “Don’t you realize Jehovah is dead?” The question “What have you done to us?” is almost beyond belief.
If your witness is making life difficult, if your courage means that some hate you, if obedience to God earns acrimony from fellow Christians, don’t falter. Don’t be obnoxious, but remember that the offense of the cross is inescapable.
Father, there are foxes that invade my life and disrupt my devotion to You. Help me keep my priorities right.
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