Getting What You Want (Judges 14)


Samson most certainly has a weakness, which shows to be his biggest problem. His weakness? Philistine women. In this chapter, we see his first recorded showing of this weakness. While he was in Timnah, Samson came across a Philistine woman. I’m sure she was very attractive, because he told his father, “Get her for me! She looks good to me.” (14:3, NLT). His parents tried to talk him out of it, but he wouldn’t have it. So Samson’s parents went to Timnah to get the woman to be their son’s wife. While traveling, Samson was attacked by a lion, which he defeated with his bare hands. He kept it a secret from everyone. During another trip to Timnah, for his wedding, Samson came across the lion’s dead body. He went to investigate and discovered that bees were now living inside it and had produced honey. He grabbed some and ate it on the way to Timnah. Samson made a wager with his groomsmen that they couldn’t figure out his riddle before the celebration was over. Then men spent days trying to figure it out. When they couldn’t, they went to Samson’s wife to have her make him tell them the answer. She persisted for days to try to get the answer from him. On the final day of the celebration, he told her the answer for the riddle. She told the men, and they came back to Samson with the correct answer. Samson then lost everything, including his wife.

Have you ever wanted something so bad you would do anything to get it? We pray and we pray for God to give us this thing we want so badly, and we get upset when God says “No”. The truth is that God doesn’t say “no” just because. Jesus said, “You fathers — if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” (Luke 11:11-13, NLT). God wants to give us good gifts, not the ones that punish us. When we fight against Him, and take what we want anyway, the thing we want usually comes back to give us problems. Just like Samson. The woman he wanted, no matter what, ended up being his downfall.

Are you fighting God for what you want? I know I do it, and I might even be doing it now. The truth is that God doesn’t want to give us gifts that will destroy us. He wants to shower blessings on His people. We must be content with what God has given us, and if He says “no”, there is probably a good reason for this. So trust God. He knows what is best.

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Psalms to Pray: Psalm 69-72

It Takes Sacrifice (Judges 11)

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Today’s chapter has two distinct sections. The first section we see the life of the next Judge of Israel, Jephthah. We see that he is a illegitimate child, and was chased away by his father’s “actual” sons. But during the oppression by the Ammonites that we read about yesterday, the sons of Gilead came back to Jephthah and asked him to rule over them and lead them in battle. In the second section we see a prayer from Jephthah. He prayed, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the Lord whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” (11:30-31, NLT). Upon returning home, Jephthah’s daughter, his only child, came out of the house celebrating her father’s victory. After telling her what he must now do, he sent her away for two months to grieve over the rest of her life and the fact she wouldn’t ever have children.

In order to receive blessing from God, a sacrifice must be made. The bigger the blessing, the more costly the sacrifice. The book of Leviticus is full of directions for sacrifice, what to sacrifice for which situation. But here, Jephthah gave a fairly open ended sacrifice. He wasn’t simply asking for victory over the Ammonites, he was also asking for God to come back to the nation of Israel. So the sacrifice had to be large. Jephthah was going to have to give up his one and only child for the salvation of the Israelites. Sounds a little familiar doesn’t it?

“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, …” (Romans 8:3, NASB). There is no amount of sacrifice that we could give to overcome our sin, because the sacrifice was more than anyone could give. So God did what no man could do; He gave the greatest sacrifice so we could receive the greatest blessing of all time. Jesus did not die simply because it was in God’s plan. He died because God loved you and me so much that He wanted to gives us a way to be with Him.

Life is hard, and to receive blessing will take sacrifice. But thank goodness the price has been paid for our sins.

Also in this series


Psalms to Pray: Psalm 61-65