Today’s Tasting: Judges 13–15: The Angel of the Lord appears to a barren couple at a time when Israel is again under the dominion of the Philistines. The Angel of the Lord tells the woman she will become pregnant and warns her not to drink wine or eat any unclean food, for the child she bears will be a Nazarite, dedicated to God from the womb. “So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him” (Judges 13:24 NKJV).
As a young man, Samson chooses a Philistine woman to be his wife. His parents are not happy about this, preferring that he choose a bride from among his own people. “But his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord—that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines” (14:4).
The marriage between Samson and the Philistine woman precipitates a conflict that leads to the murder of his wife and her father. Samson takes revenge by slaughtering a thousand Philistine men.
Today’s Nourishment: Samson is one of the most notorious characters in the Bible, known for his prodigious strength, but also for his insatiable appetites. When the Angel of the Lord appears to announce his birth, we know that something amazing is coming. Before his incarnation, Christ appears to His people as the Angel of the Lord. Samson’s parents recognized that they had been visited by God:
“When the Angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the Lord. And Manoah said to his wife, ‘we shall surely die, because we have seen God!’” (13:21–22).
And as we read about Samson’s life, we’re told several times that “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him” (see 14:6). Samson knew that his strength was supernatural, given to him by God. You would think he would have grown up to be a paragon—a model of excellence—always doing the right thing. Instead he had a quick temper, and was impulsive and boastful. Samson was often ruled by his emotions, and his actions often brought harm to those around him, and yet his life had a divine purpose.
When I’m convicted of my own failings, I remember that none of the great figures of the Old Testament, Samson included, was what we would call “a good person” all the time either. The Bible tells us we’re not capable of that, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This weekend, as we observe the occasion of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, I’m grateful for a perfect God who in His sovereignty has a divine purpose for my life and yours. His purpose for us is to reflect His glory, not our own virtue, for we have none outside of the cross. Thank God for His mercy toward us! Amen.
Tomorrow’s Delight: Judges 16–18
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