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24 June 2019

Judges 14

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 towards him. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him 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, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey 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.
10 Now his father went down to see the woman. And there Samson held a feast, as was customary for young men. 11 When the people saw him, they chose thirty men to be his companions.
12 ‘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. 13 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.’
14 He replied,
‘Out of the eater, something to eat;
    out of the strong, something sweet.’
For three days they could not give the answer.
15 On the fourth[a 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 steal our property?’
16 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?’ 17 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.
18 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 ploughed with my heifer,
    you would not have solved my riddle.’
19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home. 20 And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.

God is sovereign and His plans always succeed – usually despite, but often including, sinful people. God wants to bring salvation to His people and so He chooses to use sinful men and women for His glory.

Samson was such a flawed man anointed by God in the era of the Judges over Israel. Although listed as a man of faith (Hebrews 11:32), he was too often sinful and impulsive. Despite those weaknesses, God used him to punish the enemies of Israel.

The faithless wife that Samson chose had no love for God or loyalty to Samson- she betrayed him to save her own skin. Proverbs 15:33 says: ‘Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”‘ Strangely, even Samson’s bad choice in women was ‘from the Lord’ (verse 4). What a mystery that God even used Samson’s bad choices for His glory.

It sounds like Romans 8:28: ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ Does this mean we should seek out a destiny that rejects God’s word, thinking to ourselves, ‘All will be well?’ Of course not! Don’t be too clever and debate too much in your mind – just obey what God says in His word. Deuteronomy 5:33 says, ‘Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.’

The Spirit of God made Samson supernaturally strong to kill a lion easily with his bare hands and then later to bring terrible judgement on the Philistines. If we trust Him, God will also strengthen us by His Spirit to bring honour to the name of Jesus. 

Prayer; Heavenly Father. We praise You for Your sovereign mercy on us. Although You don’t need us, You call daily us to obey You. God, would You please strengthen us with Your Holy Spirit in our inner being to trust and obey You. Help us to resist temptation and to see sin for the emptiness that it is. You are more valuable than sinful pleasure. In Jesus’ name and for His glory. Amen.