Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Judges 13-15

Again, the Israelites are doing "evil in the eyes of the Lord," and so they are ruled by the Philistines for forty years.  Meanwhile, we meet Samson, another one of God's heroes, in Judges 13-15.  God uses Samson's short and rocky marriage as part of His plan to rescue the Israelites from the Philistines.  Along the way, we learn more and more about how God works in our lives.

Unlike, Gideon and Jephthah (unlikely heroes), Samson is an expected, likely hero.  His conception and birth are a Holy experience.  His parents know that God is going to use him in a big way from the very beginning when they encounter the angel of the Lord.

Samson is dedicated to God, for God's work.  Without realizing it, I had unspoken expectations in my head for Samson.  The stakes are high.  And then, I began reading his story.  

Now, I don't know about you, but I found myself wondering what in the world Samson is doing.  His story just doesn't make sense to me at first.  He seems to rush into a marriage that is doomed.  It feels like a mistake on my end, but then I realize that God is using this unlikely marriage as an avenue for His mighty purpose.  

Take a look at how God uses this messy situation... 

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.)

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...

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.

14 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. 15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.

After all this, God revives Samson with His water.  Sampson ends up leading Israel for twenty years.  Who would have thought?

It becomes clear that what seems like a disaster to me is all part of something much bigger for God.  Not only does God use unlikely heroes, He also uses unlikely situations.  

We'll never know how God is going to use us or the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  But, we can be sure that God fills us with His Spirit, like he does for Samson, to put us in the right places at the right times for His wonderful and loving purposes. 

What unlikely situation or circumstance might God be using in your life? 

 A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You for using messy situations in my life for Your glory.  Help me to lean into Your Spirit that is within me, guiding me.

Fill me, Lord, with Your living water so that I am renewed and strengthened in Christ each day.

In the name of Your Son, Jesus, I pray,

May the Lord bless you and keep you,

*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more.

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