Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Judges - "Designer Religion"|
Chapter: Jud 13
Passage: Jud 13:1-25
A. Find Out:
1. What was the state of Israel again? v.1
2. What did the angel tell Manoah's wife? v.2-7
3. What instructions did the angel give Manoah? v.8-14
4. How was Manoah convinced that this was an angel? v.15-22
5. How did his wife reassure him? v.23
6. What was the result of the visit? v.24,25
1. Why do you think Manoah struggled to believe?
2. What is the significance of this story?
3. Why do you think the Lord chose a childless couple?
The story of Samson starts before his birth. The account is intriguing and gives us an insight in angelic visitations. The story starts with a childless couple at a time when Israel was again in apostasy and under the oppression of an enemy neighbour – this time the Philistines.
A man comes to Manoah's wife and tells her she will have a baby who will be special, set apart to God from birth. The man leaves and she tells her husband who is slightly sceptical and so prays and asks for the man to return – so he does! Manoah then asks the man about the child. He appears to only partly believe but the man again gives instructions about the boy to be born. Whether he's an angel or a prophet, Manoah is still not sure but seeks to be a good host and feed him, but the man declines the food and suggests an offering instead. While preparing the offering Manoah asks the man his name but is refused. When Manoah lights the fire for the offering the angel ascends in the flame to heaven. Manoah is convinced! This IS an angel! It is God's message, it will happen! His wife conceives and at last has a baby who is named Samson, and he is blessed by God's Spirit who stirs him.
Whatever else will happen to this child, the one thing we know is that he was chosen by God from birth. He has everything going for him; he is to become Israel 's new deliverer from the Philistines.
1. We have been chosen by God (Eph 1:4)
2. Yet how we turn out is still much down to us. That's free will.
Chapter: Jud 14
Passage: Jud 14:1-20
A. Find Out:
1. What did Samson demand that upset his parents? v.1-4
2. What happened on the way to Timnah? v.5-7
3. What did he see when he went back some time later? v.8,9
4. How did he challenge the Philistines? v.10-14
5. How did they seek to defeat him? v.15-18
6. So what did he do in his anger and what resulted? v.19,20
1. How is Samson shown to be foolishly wilful at the outset?
2. What effect did the Spirit of God have on him?
3. Why did all this happen?
This is a story about a man that God is using without him being aware of it. It seems that the cycle is not following its usual course and Israel have not been crying out to the Lord. Indeed, if Samson's behaviour is anything to go by, they are learning to live with the world.
Samson is clearly a wilful young man, not overly concerned with God or His will. He wants a wife from the Philistines and badgers his parents to consent to this. He marries her and when his parents come for the wedding feast, as was the custom, Samson provokes the Philistines with a riddle based on the lion that he had previously killed and whose carcass had become a home for a beehive with its honey.
The Philistines can't cope with this and put pressure on his new wife who puts pressure on him, so he tells her, and she tells them. The end result is that Samson realises what has happened and killed 30 of their men and abandons his new wife. Discord has been sown between Samson and the Philistines to replace the wrong peace between God's holy people and the idol-worshipping pagans. And how has God done this? He's simply used the worldly attitudes of Samson, given him a boost of strength along the way, and let the two parties argue and then fight. If that's the only way to get His people to rise up and cast off the oppressors, He will do it.
1. Beware wrong attitudes you haven't dealt with. They'll backfire!
2. God calls us to be holy/distinct from a godly & unrighteous world.
Chapter: Jud 15
Passage: Jud 15:1-20
A. Find Out:
1. How was Samson rebuffed? v.1,2
2. So what did he go and do? v.3-5
3. What response did that evoke and how did Samson respond? v.6-8
4. How did the Philistines try to deal with him? v.9-13
5. But what did Samson do? v.14-17
6. How did the Lord finally provide for him? v.18,19
7. What was the outcome of all this? v.20
1. How did one event follow another?
2. What was the end outcome?
3. Why did all this happen like this?
The Lord, we were told (14:4), was behind all that happened to bring about the release of Israel who had become totally subdued by the Philistines. He uses Samson's impetuosity and gives him strength when he needs it. Samson apparently now regrets walking out on his wife and goes back to her, but is rebuffed by her father. This angers Samson so he sets their harvest on fire. The Philistines retaliate by killing Samson's wife and her father. Samson in turn, retaliates and kills more of them.
When he goes back into Israel , the Philistines follow and cause alarm among the oppressed people there. They go to Samson and demand he surrenders. On their promise not to kill him but to just hand him over to the Philistines, Samson agrees to be tied up. Thus he is presented to the Philistines but as this happens, the Lord comes upon him in power and he's again given great strength that snaps the ropes and enables him to kill a large number of the unsuspecting Philistines.
The result of this seems to be that the Philistines left Israel alone for 20 years while Samson reigned. No doubt word of his great strength got back and they feared to attack again. At the end we see the Lord graciously providing water for this warrior. Is there anything godly about Samson? No! The Lord simply uses the poor-best available.
1. The Lord will use who He will to save His people.
2. Being used by God is not a sign of our holiness.
Chapter: Jud 16
Passage: Jud 16:1-22
A. Find Out:
1. Who did Samson next visit & how did he escape? v.1-3
2. Who did he fall in love with & what was she bribed to do? 4,5
3. In what 3 ways she he lie to her? v.6-15
4. How did she wear him down? v.16,17a
5. What did he say was his secret & with what consequence? v.17-20
6. So what did the Philistines do to him? v.2122
1. What was Samson's obvious vulnerability?
2. Why was this episode with Delilah so obviously foolish?
3. Why do you think his strength left him?
Samson is the story of a man with an unrestrained vice: women! He has already got into trouble because of taking a wife from the Philistines and now he goes to a prostitute in the land of the Philistines, and then falls in love with another Philistine woman. Not only is his problem women, but it's women of the world, not of his own people. In this he is expressly flouting God's commands to the people of Israel not to take a wife from the existing peoples of the land. He may have been brought up a Nazirite, but there is nothing godly or righteous about him.
Rather than look at the process of lies that ensued in this final relationship, let's remind ourselves what is actually going on in the bigger picture. Israel have turned from the Lord to the local peoples and their idols, and God is wanting to separate off His people. There appears no man in a state to be used in relationship with the Lord, so He simply takes the wrong attitudes and outlook of Samson and uses them. The Lord, or sometimes the Lord using Satan, uses the vices of men to bring judgement on men. Unrestrained sin will turn back on the sinner or the people and bring their downfall. Samson has now lost his hair, the sign of a Nazirite, so he is outwardly now what he had been all along – an ordinary man not given over to God. His occasional strength had been a gift of God and now hair and gift are not there.
1. We disregard God's laws at our own risk.
2. We disdain who we are, God's children, at our own risk!
Chapter: Jud 16
Passage: Jud 16:23-31
A. Find Out:
1. What did the Philistines do after capturing Samson? v.23,24
2. What did they decide to do with Samson? v.25
3. Where did Samson ask to be put? v.26
4. What did Samson ask the Lord to do? v.28
5. What did he then do? v.29,30
6. What did he finally do? v.31
1. How was Samson's position here as a result of his folly?
2. Yet how did he redeem himself in it?
Preachers have commented on Samson as a man of charisma without character. He has the charisma, the gifting from God, but he did not have the character to match it. Yet God still used him for His purposes but it was in no way a glorious time. Because of the folly of constantly going after women, and women of the enemy at that, he allowed himself to get in a position where he was worn down, denied his calling, and made himself vulnerable. The result is that he was weakened, blinded, chained and used as a source of entertainment. There was nothing glorious in this.
Yet in this position, in his extremity, he rises up, out of revenge, and determines to give his life in one last, bold action to kill many of the Philistines' leaders. One last time he receives strength from the Lord. It seems as if this is the only time he actually asked for it. On all previous occasions the power of the Lord had just come upon him, but this time he acknowledges the weakness of his position and cries to the Lord. The Lord's intent had been to confront and provoke and beat back the Philistines (14:4) and release Israel , even though they had not cried out to the Lord in their idolatry. Thus He uses a man called from birth to be holy, but who in fact disdained his calling and pandered to his sensual desires. This the Lord still used to achieve His purposes
1. When the Lord calls us, He calls with a set purpose for us in mind.
RECAP - "Samson" - Judges 13-16
In this fifth group of 5 studies we have seen :
Samson's Birth 13:1-25
- Israel 's evil means oppression for 40 years (13:1)
- Manoah's wife is sterile & childless (13:2)
- An angel comes to her and promises a child (13:3-5)
- She tells her husband who prays for more help (13:6-8)
- The angel comes again and instructs them (13:9-23)
- She has a boy and names him Samson (13:24,25)
Samson and his wife 14:1 – 15:20
- Samson demands a Philistine wife (14:1-5)
- Samson kills a lion (14:5-9)
- At the wedding feast Samson tells a riddle (14:10-14)
- Samson's wife coaxes him to tell the answer (14:15-17)
- In anger Samson kills 30 Philistines (14:18-19)
- His wife is taken & he burns their vineyards (14:20-15:5)
- They kill her and he kills many of them (15:6-8)
- They pursue him and he kills a thousand of them (15:9-17)
- The Lord provides water for him (15:18,19)
- Peace for 20 years (15:20)
Samson and Delilah 16:1-22
- Samson goes to a Philistine prostitute (16:1-3)
- Samson falls in love with Delilah (16:4)
- The Philistine leaders ask her to get his secret (16:5)
- Delilah tries to get the secret (16:6-16)
- Eventually he tells that he is a Nazirite (16:17)
- He is taken , bound and blinded (16:18-22)
Samson's Last Stand 16:23-31
- They make him a showpiece (16:23-25)
- He pulls the temple down and dies (16:26-31)
The crucial issue here, it seems, is that Israel have given up crying to the Lord, yet He will not give up on them. He has a plan to bring conflict between Israel and the Philistines who seem to have accepted the status quo (14:4). Thus he chooses Samson who turns out to be a man with an insatiable appetite for women – and he doesn't care if they are from the Philistines. In fact he seems especially attracted to Philistine women – despite the fact that the Covenant said stay away from the inhabitants and don't marry or mix with them. Three times his activities with Philistine women bring conflict. Eventually, as a result of the last one he is killed in a last-moment act of bravery-desperation and kills a large number of the Philistine leaders. This is a terrible period, where God uses the sinful activities of a man who was supposed to be set apart for God, to bring first separation of Israel from the Philistines and then destruction of the Philistines. Israel are a holy people – they agreed to it at Sinai and that cannot be revoked.
1. Unrestrained desires bring downfall.
2. God will even use our sinful acts to achieve His ends sometimes.
3. This is not an excuse for unrighteousness
Ask the Lord to deliver you from any lack of self control. Commit your whole life fully to Him.
PART 6 : "Self-Destruction & Repercussions"
In this final Part, which acts more as an epilogue than a record of the judges, we will see how people doing their own thing led to greater and greater sin and eventual destruction.