IT ALL BELONGS TO GOD!
9. The Philistines retaliated by setting up camp in Judah and spreading out near the town of Lehi.
10. The men of Judah asked the Philistines, “Why are you attacking us?”
The Philistines replied, “We’ve come to capture Samson. We’ve come to pay him back for what he did to us.”
Judges 15: 9–10 NLT
After reviewing Today’s Passage, it finally dawned on me, after all these years of reading the Story of Sampson, why I love it and am drawn to it so much. At its most basic, this is a revenge story. As a writer of thriller stories, who doesn’t like those?
However, The Story of Sampson is far more than what it appears on the surface. Underneath the tale of vengeance lies a more nuanced narrative about how God Manages His Work and how we, as His Hands, can foul up His Masterworks with our frailty, oversights, and pride.
When we mistake God’s Favor and Blessings for our acumen and prowess, never realizing, or at least never acknowledging, where the Power we utilize came from in the first place, we make the same error Sampson did. And in doing so, we face similar dangers, though on a spiritual, not physical, plane.
Looking at Today’s Passage, we see the consequences of Sampson’s violent retribution against his wife’s murderers. And, of course, the Philistines would not let the attack go unpunished. But Sampson hid in the mountains after his slaughter, and the Philistines couldn’t locate him. So, they set camp in Israelite lands, further subjugating the already beleaguered people.
The actions of the Philistines in this Passage expose the reasons God had Commissioned Sampson for this task against them. They thought nothing of invading an enemy’s lands and occupying them until they took their own revenge. The Philistines essentially held the entire Land of Judah hostage just to capture one man!
The Philistines thought they had the Israelites under their thumbs (proven by the callousness of their invasion,) but Sampson, a one-man army, proved to everyone that at least one person could not be cow towed by their subjugation. Their attack would have thrown the entire region into flux; this was the impact of Sampson’s vengeance. He threw off Philistine’s financial security with the fox stunt and savaged their pride with his hit-and-run tactics.
Sampson demonstrates to the Israelites that the Philistine threat is not as terrifying as they’d like them to think. But now, with this unprecedented invasion, they are trying to reestablish their dominance by intimidating the fearful Israelites and threatening them into compliance.
We’ll look at what the Israelites do about it in the next Daily Word post, but until then, let’s see if we can discover Today’s Lesson. When you’re winning, there will always be haters hoping to bring you down to their levels. When God Calls you to a task, you should expect adversity.
The enemy hates God, and he hates us because God Loves us. Lucifer thinks we stole his adoration. But Lucifer was the one who drove the wedge between himself and God; that was not our doing. Still, his hatred is so all-encompassing, and he is so self-deceived by his pride that he blames everyone else but himself for his position. Fool.
Only a fool ignores their own glaring sin to heap the blame on another, which is the same sin the Philistines commit in Today’s Passage. They ignored the reason for Sampson’s vengeance and only focused on what he did, not that they were the cause of it. And that is the Vicious Cycle of Revenge at work.
We see it in the streets of Chicago every day. A person is shot, and the witnesses, instead of letting the police do their jobs, take justice into their own hands. They seek out opportunities to strike back at the shooter, beginning a cycle of death and revenge that may never end. That is why in two places, The Word tells us, “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord…” It is not on us to take revenge on our enemies; it’s on God. If He Called you, then He’ll Protect you and ensure your safety through your time of trial. That’s exactly what he sent Sampson into Philistia for.
But Sampson screwed up his Gift and his Blessing by being willful and self-centered. And when we ignore God’s Will, taking His Blessings for granted, or worse yet, taking them as our own doing, we fall into the same Pride Trap” that Sampson, the Philistines, and Lucifer did when they fell to their failure. Learn the Lesson from them. Take the Example; learn the Moral. It’s all God’s Power; He deserves the nod.
Have a Fantastic Friday And Remember, Pride Goes Before Destruction And Arrogance Before A Fall!