Tag Archives: Samson

Judges 16; Acts 20; Jeremiah 29; Mark 15

Looking at examples in the Bible, I think God is trying to say that it’s okay to go through pain – only He wants to walk through it with us.

Samson is a fine example.  Even though he had failed, God did not leave him.

Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” He strained with all his might; and the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his life. – Judges 16:30 NRSV

For Paul pain was a way of life and he prophesied the same to us. Only way through it and its the staple of my walk with Jesus is to place my hope in God, counting on His grace as my foundation and my fountain of joy.

 Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God[d]that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.[e]  I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. – Acts 20:28-30

That is why I struggle with this promise that I still quote from time to time —

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.  When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,  I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes – Jeremiah 29:11-14

I struggle with it not because it is not true, but because if it is taken out of context it misses the fact that there was 70 years of pain before this promise was realized.

So Jesus’s life has to be the accumulation of all my thoughts.  The cross and Skull Hill represented death, mockery and pain but for me I found there a place of redemption, forgiveness and hope because of Jesus.  What begins in horror and inhumanity, ends in victory and grace.

 Then they brought Jesus[d] to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull).  And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it.  And they crucified him – Mark 15:22-24

Lord, thank you for your promises, they are true, every last one of them.  While I  journey with You and we might be joined by hurt, may I take comfort that You and others that You have called have already gone before me.  

evanlaar

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Judges 15, 16, 17; Luke 10:1-24

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2

Being on the mission field, this is a prayer that my husband and I pray a lot. “Oh Lord, send people who will walk with us, side by side in the work you have called us to. Send people who are willing to labor, willing to sacrifice; send people who have a like heart, who are loyal and faithful, who burn with a passion for You, a desire to serve You…”

A shortage of trustworthy, dedicated laborers is an ever present issue for many ministries. It is difficult to find people, native or foreign, who are willing to put in the work that it takes to conduct outreaches and other enrichment programs; it is tough to find people who are willing to give up personal comforts and potentially risk their well-being and safety to evangelize, to preach the Gospel to unreached people who may lash out in anger against messengers of the Living God.

Becoming a foreign missionary is challenging on many levels, and I fully understand why many aren’t ready to answer that call, preferring to stay in their own neighborhoods. But I often wonder if there is a greater obstacle that is a discouragement to people.

As I began to hear the call to India, I often questioned: Why would God choose me? I have nothing to offer, my spotty past makes me ineligible to serve the Lord!?

I couldn’t see past my failings; I didn’t understand how God could use me, when I had sinned so much in my life. I felt my past overshadowed my present, my future, my ability to serve.

As I read the Bible and the Lord’s voice grew stronger, I began to understand that God did not call me because of what I had to offer, because I had everything I needed for the commission, or because I was sinless. He called me because He has a plan to use me despite of my lack, my failings, regardless of my sin, to show His glory through me.

Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God…” Judges 16:28a

Samson is a perfect example of a man used by God to accomplish His purposes, to act as a judge for Israel, in spite of the sin in his life. He was a man given to sins of lust, frequenting prostitutes and engaging in premarital sex. He was full of pride, anger, unforgiveness, and a craving for vengeance. He was a murderer. But, God chose him, gave him strength, and used him give Israel’s enemies a thrashing many times over.

Samson’s story shows me that God has called all of His children, that He has a specific purpose for everyone, even for me. Samson’s story reminds me that, though my past may be filled with shameful things, God is greater than my weaknesses. He takes away my shame and gives me the strength that I need. He equips me for my assignment to labor for the harvest.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Judges 13,14,15; Luke 15:1-10

Again.

Again the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines, who oppressed them for forty years. Judges 13:1 NLT

I was reading a chapter for a bible study about thorns in life. Next to the stick-figure face with pointy horns, it reads the devil is the one who gives us thorns. It felt really good to read that. I had someone to blame for pain in my life. I had a way to make sense of the yucky stuff I’ve experienced. My mind wandered to Job, and God’s offer to Satan, “Have you considered my servant?”

All that tragedy, God approved. I struggled with it. But I still had Satan to blame. Here in Judges, the word “again.” Again, they did evil, and this time, the Lord handed them over to the Philistines. Again, they returned to sin–and God let them go into the consequence.

Samson wants a wife, and the impression I get is that his parents weren’t too thrilled with his choice. But he insists on that one.

His father and mother didn’t realize the Lord was at work in this, creating an opportunity to work against the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time. Judges 14:4 NLT.

He gets that girl. She betrays him by telling the answer to his riddle. He goes and kills thirty men. Later sets crops on fire. Goes into hiding, only to kill 1,000 more men. All the while, there’s a lot of blaming. “If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer”; “Because you did this, I won’t rest until I take revenge upon you”; “I only did to them what they did to me.”

Sometimes tragedy comes upon us–hand selected and delivered by Satan. And sometimes we bring it upon ourselves. Either way, God will use it for good–because He is good. Samson seems a bit self-entitled and vengeful. But God let Samson continue in his way to eventually reveal His strength.

In the New Testament, Jesus is talking about the one lost sheep–and wouldn’t the shepherd leave the flock to search for the missing one? Jesus, the one the Pharisees complained about because he kept company with sinners, (this man who came to heal the sick, because the healthy don’t need a doctor) the one who will go after the one lost sheep. (I love him for that!)

Joy repeats in Luke. And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! (Luke 15:5-7, NLT).

Lord, that I could be more aware of my sin so that I can turn from it to bring you joy. I want to walk with you–not away from you! You love me, still, to find this lost sheep–with joy, claiming me as yours. I am grateful that you have power over evil, to bring good from it. Your power made perfect in my weakness. Help me to see. Help me to turn from it and return to you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Judges, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament