THURSDAY, MAY 3
SCRIPTURE: JUDGES 14
BY: Jacob Steward
As you begin to read through this chapter, there will be a common theme: Samson disregarding the Nazirite vow that God intended him to fulfill. Samson was supposed to be the moral and upright deliverer of Israel, but the carnal and physical desires derailed his path. However, throughout this chapter we see God begin to use Samson with all of his flaws, to fulfill God’s plan.
As we have seen in chapter 13, the Israelites were being held captive by the Philistines because of their evil actions. But God did not intend to let them stay that way. That is the reason that Samson was to come. He was going to be the deliverer.
First, we see direct opposition to Israelite customs. Samson was going after Philistine women. Even with Samson’s parents pleading him to find an Israelite woman, he insists that they bring the Philistine woman to him (we do not know her name). To most people, and probably most of us, this is the start of someone who seems to be fighting God’s plan. The farther we get in the story, the more we realize that God was working to free the Israelites through Samson even if it looks like Samson is falling apart.
As Samson was heading down to meet her he came in contact with a lion. This part of the story shows us a few things. First we see the incredible strength that God has given Samson as he kills a lion as someone kills a goat. But we also see the breaking of the Nazirite vow. Samson was not supposed to tough anything dead. Finally, interaction with the lion is what prompts Samson to use a riddle later in the chapter.
When Samson returned, he passed by the lion which was now filled with honey. Not only did he eat this, making him unclean and breaking the Nazirite vow, but he also fed it to his parents without telling them where it came from. Samson, the one who came to free the Israelites, seems to be falling apart. But God has a plan.
As the wedding approaches, Samson is surrounded by 30 Philistine men as was tradition. At this time, Samson presents the riddle from the lion to these men (v. 14). The men could not figure out the riddle without the help of the woman that Samson was in line to marry. Because of her nagging (v. 17), Samson finally told her the answer. The men used this to mock Samson and this threw Samson into a rage. In this rage he called the woman he was supposed to marry a heifer (I don’t see any scenario where this is a compliment), and killed 30 men to repay the men who were told the meaning of the riddle.
In the end, Samson did not marry the woman (his best man did), and he had pretty much failed as a devout Israelite and in his Nazirite vow. But God had a plan. God’s plan was working even though the actions of Samson seem to point to chaos. God is still working. Even if it is not apparent to us, God is working.