Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17 - Judges 16

Today's reading in our daily plan is Judges 16. 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?)

  • Samson was a he-man with a she-weakness.  With all his great power, he couldn't control his own lust and passion.  In this chapter we see him spend the night with a prostitute and fall in love with an untrustworthy woman.
  • Motivated by greed, Delilah uses her persistence to wear down Samson.  Due to his infatuation with her, Samson gave in to her and revealed the secret of his strength.  In doing so, Samson was disobedient to God and in complete violation of the Nazirite vow.  
  • Samson's uncontrolled pride and sinful passion lead to his downfall as the Philistines captured him and made him their slave.
  • God answers Samson's cry for help by giving him the strength to destroy the temple of the Philistines and those gathered inside.  This last heroic act brought an end to Samson's life.    

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Trouble is inevitable when we let our desires and impulses begin to rule our lives rather than God.  Samson was a walking impulse machine.  If he wanted it, he took it.  This was a pattern in his life.  He is driven by his personal passions more than the Spirit of God.  This cost Samson and the Israelite people greatly.
  • Our choices have consequences.  Verse 20 says that the Lord had left Samson.  Why?  Because Samson chose to go his own way rather than be close to God.  Although God didn't completely abandon Samson (verses 28-30), He allowed Samson's decision to stand, and the consequences of his decision followed naturally.  Samson didn't choose to be captured, but he chose to be with Delilah, and he could not escape the consequences of his decision.  
  • In spite of our past, God loves us.  In spite of Samson's past, God still answered his final prayer and destroyed the pagan temple and worshipers.  God was willing to hear Samson's prayer of confession and repentance and use him this final time.  

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

  • Before we judge Samson too quickly, we must realize that we can be driven by our desires and impulses just as he was.  Maybe it's lust for you.  Perhaps it's the impulse to gossip and speak negatively about others.  It could be anger, greed, or any other sin.  All of us can be driven by our desires.  Ask yourself this question: Is there any area in my life where I am driven by my impulses?  Is there a repeating sin that keeps getting the best of me?  
  • As you acknowledge areas of struggle, ask God to give you the strength to overcome those sinful desires and impulses.  Confide in a friend you can trust to help you overcome the struggle and hold you accountable.  
  • One of the effects of sin in our lives is to keep us from feeling like praying.  But perfect moral behavior is not a condition for prayer.  Don't let guilt feelings over sin keep you from seeking God's help.  No matter how long you have been away from God, He is ready to hear from you and restore you to a right relationship with Him.  If God could still work in Samson's situation, He can certainly make something worthwhile out of yours.