Saturday, May 16, 2015

May 16 - Judges 15

Today's reading in our daily plan is Judges 15. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • Angered at losing his wife, Samson burns up the Philistines fields, vineyards, and olive groves.
  • The Philistines retaliate by killing Samson's wife and her father.  Samson responds by killing many Philistines.
  • While being turned over to the Philistines, Samson uses his God-given strength and killed one thousand Philistine men.
  • Samson served as a judge for Israel for 20 years.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Revenge is an uncontrollable monster.  Samson's rationale for his treatment of the Philistines was, "I merely did them to them what they did to me" (verse 11).  Yet, each act of retaliation led to another act of retaliation.  It never solves anything and only hurts others and ourselves.  Revenge can only be dealt with by forgiveness.
  • We can use God's gifts for selfish purposes.  God gave Samson a special gift, incredible strength.  Yet, we watch him at times use them for ungodly and selfish purposes.  
  • There is often a let down after a great achievement.  Coming off a great personal victory, Samson's attitude quickly declined into self-pity, "Must I now die of thirst...?"  It was God who gave Samson victory, but Samson acts like God owes him.  When we experience personal victory, we must remember that God gave us the strength for that personal achievement. 

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Who in your life has hurt you that you need to forgive?  Who have you been taking revenge on - maybe through your actions or perhaps with your words?  Will you break the cycle of revenge and forgive?  What can you do this week to grant forgiveness?  Meet with them one-on-one?  Call them or write them a note?  Don't put it off.  Forgive so that you can be healed of that hurt and pain.  
  • The Bible says that God distributes abilities and skills and gifts to His people (1 Corinthians 12).  Paul, an apostle, writes that these gifts from God are to be used "so that the body of Christ may be built up" (Ephesians 4:12).  Take time to think about the gifts God has given you.  Consider how you can use them to help others, not just yourself.  If you're not already serving at Verve, sign up here to do a First Serve and discover how you can use your gifts to build up others.  
  • We are often vulnerable after a great spiritual victory or defining moment.  During those times of vulnerability, avoid the temptation to think that God owes you for your efforts.  Concentrate on keeping your attitude, actions, and words focused on God instead of yourself.