February 20, 2023
DAY 52 JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR
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Focus Verses For Today: Judges 16:28-30
Continuing our journey through the book of Judges, we encounter the judges Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson. All judges were used by God, per His plan. This does not mean that all judges were devoted followers of God. For all his great strength, Samson was weak spiritually. He was easily led astray, which ultimately led to his downfall. When we look at world leaders, and our personal national leaders, think of Samson. No matter your opinion of the leader, each is serving God’s will.
Take some time to pray, asking God to share His meaning of what you will read in Judges today. If you have anything else on your mind, share it with God, He is interested and He cares. Today’s journey takes us through Judges 12-16, bringing us to the end of Jephthah’s reign over Israel, and taking us through Samson’s life.
Judges 12-16: We find Jephthah confronted by Ephraimite forces as we begin chapter 12 of Judges. They were upset because they claimed Jephthah did not invite them to battle the Ammonites with the Gileadites. Jephthah disputed the truthfulness of their claim and went to war with Ephram killing 42,000 of their men. Jephthah led Israel for six years and then died. Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon led Israel unremarkably for a combined period totaling 25 years. Samson was born during a time when Israel had turned away from the Lord. Samson was the only child of Manoah and his wife, who could not conceive, and was visited by the angel of the Lord to inform her that she would have a male child. She was told to never put a razor to his head and, that while carrying him, to not drink fermented drink or eat unclean food. The boy was to be a Nazarite, dedicated to God from the womb. His purpose was to begin the liberation of Israel from the Philistines. We again meet Samson in adulthood, skipping his entire childhood. Samson saw a Philistine woman and wanted to marry her, even though it is forbidden for a Jew to marry a Philistine. Samson didn’t care and his parents dutifully went about arranging the marriage of Samson to the Philistine. The marriage failed before it got started, when his new wife betrayed his confidence to her friends and resulted in the death of her and her father, and 30 other Philistines. The Philistines later attempted to capture Samson only to have 1,000 Philistines killed by the jawbone of a donkey wielded by Samson. Samson asks God for water and God provides refreshing water to Samson. This prayer is the first of only two prayers of Samson recorded in the Bible. Samson continues to live an ungodly life while fulfilling God’s mission on this earth. Samson kept the company of a prostitute named Delilah, who had no affection for him and only desired to rob him of his strength so the Philistines could capture him. She succeed and Samson was captured and his eyes gouged out. During a celebration to Dagon, “The Philistine god,” celebrating the defeat of Samson and his God, they brought Samson to the temple where the celebration was taking place. All the Philistine leaders were there – the crowd numbering deep into the thousands. Samson offered one last prayer and was given the strength to topple the temple. (Judges 12:1-16:31)
The focus verses for today:
28Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!”
(Judges 16:28-30, NIV)
The story of Samson is sad. It is the story of a man who appeared to only care about himself from the earliest Biblical accounts of his life after his birth, to the moments leading up to his death. It was all about what he wanted, without regard to his heritage, without regard to the consequences his actions may bring. It is also about how God uses an unclean vessel for His glory. Take a moment to reflect on what you have just read. Do you think Samson told Delilah that the source of his strength was his hair because he wanted the glory for his feats of strength without crediting God for his strength’s true source? Do you believe Samson really thought his hair was the source of his strength? Pray for God to reveal the truth to you. Are you proud and arrogant? Are you caring and loving? Answer honestly now. Who are you?
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