In a situation where it feels too big or bigger than you thought? In a situation where you need help or wisdom? In a situation where you need answers? In a situation where you aren’t sure where to turn? Do you need to see it to believe it? Can you believe it without seeing it? So what are you going to do about it? Where will you turn for wisdom?
Today’s reading continues with Samson…
Riddle of the Lion
1Then Samson went down to Timnah and eyed in Timnah a woman, one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2So he came back and told his father and mother saying, “I have seen a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So now get her for me as a wife.” 3Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your kinsmen, or among all our people, that you are going to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is the right one in my eyes.” 4But his father and mother did not know that it was of Adonai, for He was seeking a pretext against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel. 5While his father and mother went down to Timnah, Samson went to the vineyards of Timnah, and behold, a young lion came roaring at him. 6Then the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him, and he tore him apart as one would have split a young goat—yet he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7So he went down and talked with the woman, and she looked right in Samson’s eyes. 8After a while he returned to get her, but turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion. 9So he scraped it into his hands and went on, eating as he went. Now when he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it, though he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion. 10Then his father went down to the woman, and Samson made a banquet there, for so the young men used to do. 11Now it came to pass, when they saw him, they brought 30 companions to be with him. 12Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propose a riddle to you. If you can indeed solve it for me during the seven days of the banquet, and figure it out, then I will give you 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes; 13but if you cannot solve it for me, then you must give me 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes.” “Propose your riddle,” they said to him. “Let’s hear it!” 14So he said to them, “Out of the eater came forth food, out of the strong came forth sweet.” But for three days they could not solve the riddle. 15Now on the seventh day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband so that he will explain the riddle to us—or else we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us?” 16So Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me! You don’t love me! You proposed a riddle to the sons of my people—yet you haven’t explained it to me!” “Look,” he said, “I haven’t explained it to my father or my mother, so should I explain it to you?” 17But she wept before him the seven days while their banquet lasted. So it was on the seventh day he told her, because she nagged him. Then she told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day, before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” But he responded to them, “If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have solved my riddle.” 19Then the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed 30 of their men, took their spoil, and gave the changes of clothes to those who solved the riddle. Since his rage was burning, he went up to his father’s house. 20But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his best man.
–from Judges 14
Beware of temptation! Leave the honey alone! Don’t cheat! Don’t trick! Don’t lie! Do you really want to deal with the wrath of an injured man? a hurt man? a cheated man?
Victory with a Jawbone
1But after a while, during the time of wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat. “I am going to my wife in her room,” he said. But her father would not let him enter. 2“I thought for sure you had utterly hated her,” her father said, “so I gave her to your best man. Her younger sister—isn’t she better than her? Please, let her be yours instead.” 3Then Samson said to them, “This time I am blameless from the Philistines when I do harm to them.” 4So Samson went and caught 300 foxes, and took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch between every two tails. 5Then he set fire to the torches and released them into the standing grain of the Philistines, Thus he burned up both the stacks and the standing grain, along with vineyards and olive trees. 6Then the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” They were told, “Samson, son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to his best man.” So the Philistines came up and burnt her and her father with fire. 7Then Samson said to them, “Since you have acted like this, surely I will take revenge on you—after that I will quit.” 8So he struck them leg upon thigh with a great slaughter. Then he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam. 9Then the Philistines went up and camped in Judah and spread out in Lehi. 10The men of Judah asked, “Why have you marched against us?” They replied, “We have come to arrest Samson—to do to him as he did to us.” 11Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are ruling over us? So what is this that you have done to us?” He said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” 12“We have come down to bind you,” they said to him, “so that we may hand you over to the Philistines.” So Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you yourselves won’t kill me.” 13“No, we won’t kill you,” they said to him, “but we will bind you fast and hand you over to them.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock. 14When he arrived at Lehi, the Philistines shouted upon meeting him. But the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him so that the ropes that were on his arms became like flax burned with fire and his bonds melted off his wrists. 15Then he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out and took it, and killed a thousand men with it. 16Then Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, a heap … two heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey I struck down a thousand men.” 17As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand. Then he named that place Ramat-lehi. 18Then he became very thirsty, so he called to Adonai and said, “You have granted this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant. So now, will I die of thirst and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?” 19But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out of it. When he drank, he regained his strength and revived. Therefore he called it En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. 20Then he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines for 20 years.
–from Judges 15
Can you trust them? Can they trust you? What will come of it? Consider your thoughts! Consider your actions! Consider the response or repercussions! Do you really want to tease? Do you really want to trick? What will that cause? Will you walk in the power of the Spirit or will you try to go it in your own strength? Do you realize the difference? Do you realize the risk? Do you realize the consequences? What are you going to do about it?
Delilah Betrays Samson
1Once Samson went to Gaza and eyed a prostitute there, so he went to her. 2The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” So they surrounded him, lay in ambush for him all night at the gate of the city, and kept quiet all night saying, “When morning light comes, then we kill him.” 3But Samson lay in bed till midnight, got up at midnight, grabbed the doors of the city gate along with the two gateposts and pulled them up bar and all. Then he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is near Hebron. 4It came about afterward that he fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5So the Philistine lords came up to her and said to her, “Coax him, see where his great strength comes from and by what we may overpower him, so we may bind him to subdue him—then we’ll each of us give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me please, where does your great strength come from? How could you be bound to subdue you?” 7Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh cords that have never been dried, then I would be weak and be like any other man.” 8So the Philistine lords brought up to her seven fresh cords that had never been dried, and she bound him with them, 9while an ambush was waiting in an inner room. “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” she said to him. But he broke the cords just as a strand of straw snaps when it touches fire. So his strength remained unknown. 10Delilah said to Samson, “Oh, you deceived me! You lied to me! Now tell me please, how you can be bound?” 11He told her, “If they only bind me with new ropes never used for work, then I will be weak and be like any other man.” 12So Delilah took new ropes, tied him up with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” Yet while the ambush was waiting in the inner room, he snapped them from his arms like a thread. 13So Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you’ve mocked me and told me lies! Tell me how you can be bound!” He told her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web of a loom.” 14So she pinned it with a pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin of the loom and the web. 15“How can you say, ‘I love you,’” she said to him, “when your heart is not with me? This is three times you’ve deceived me and not told me where your great strength comes from.” 16Now it came about when she nagged him daily with her speeches and kept bothering him, his soul was annoyed to death. 17So he divulged to her all his heart and said to her, “No razor has ever been upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I will be weak and be like any other man.” 18Now when Delilah realized that he had confided to her all his heart, she sent and called for the Philistine lords saying, “Come up this time, for he has told me all his heart.” So the Philistine lords came up to her and brought the silver in their hand. 19Then she made him sleep upon her knees, and she called for a man and had the seven locks of his head shaved off. She even began to humiliate him while his strength departed from him. 20Then she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” When he awoke from his sleep, he thought, “I’ll go out as at other times, and shake myself off.” He did not comprehend that Adonai had departed from him. 21Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he became a grinder in the prison. 22However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off.
23Now the Philistine lords gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, as they said, “Our god has given our enemy Samson into our hand.” 24When the people saw him, they praised their god, as they said, “Our god has given into our hand our enemy and the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us.” 25Now it came about when their hearts were merry that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may amuse us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he did make them laugh, when they made him stand between the pillars. 26Then Samson said to the lad that held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the temple rests, so I may lean on them.” 27Now the temple was full of men and women. All the Philistine lords were there and about 3,000 men and women on the roof looking on while Samson was amusing them. 28Then Samson called out to Adonai and said, “My Lord Adonai, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, so that I may this once take revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29Then Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the temple rested and leaned on them, one with his right hand and the other with his left. 30Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He bent with all his might so that the temple fell on the lords and on all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed during his life. 31Then his kinsmen and all his father’s household came down, lifted him, brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. For he had judged Israel 20 years.
–from Judges 16
What is your part in God’s plan? What’s your purpose in God’s plan? What is your calling?
Is your focus on the now and the temporary? Is your focus on the future and the eternal?
1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the community of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah: 2Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah!
Troubles From an Eternal Perspective
3We ought to always thank God for you, brothers and sisters, as is appropriate, because your faithfulness grows wonderfully, and the love of each one of you for one another continually increases. 4Therefore, we ourselves boast of you among the communities of God—about your perseverance and faithfulness through all the persecutions and troubles that you endure. 5This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. ( 6For after all, it is right in the sight of God to pay back trouble to those who trouble you, 7and relief to you who suffer trouble along with us. At the revelation of the Lord Yeshua from heaven with His mighty angels 8in flaming fire, He will command judgment on those who do not know God and do not heed the Good News of our Lord Yeshua. 9They will pay the price of eternal ruin, away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power— 10on that Day when He comes to be glorified among His kedoshim and marveled at by all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.) 11With this in mind, we pray for you constantly, that our God may consider you worthy of the calling and fulfill with power every good desire and work of faith, 12so the name of our Lord Yeshua may be glorified in you, and you in Him, in keeping with the grace of our God and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
–from 2 Thessalonians 1
Yes, things are looking tough and out of place! Yes, things are looking that they are spiraling out of control! But don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith, put your trust in God! We live by faith and not by sight! Let’s believe what God says rather than worry because of what we are seeing! Where does your hope come from? As for me and my house, our hope comes from the Lord!
The Man of Lawlessness
1Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, concerning the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah and our gathering together to Him, 2not to get shaken out of your mind or disturbed—either by a spirit or a word or a letter as if through us—as though the Day of the Lord has come. 3Let no one deceive you in any way, for the Day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the one destined to be destroyed. 4He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in the Temple of God, proclaiming himself that he is God. 5Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I was telling you these things? 6And you know what now holds back, for him to be revealed in his own time. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already operating; only there is one who holds back just now, until he is taken out of the way. 8Then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Yeshua will slay him with the breath of His mouth and wipe him out with the appearance of His coming. 9The coming of the lawless one is connected to the activity of satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10and with every kind of wicked deception toward those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11For this reason God sends them a delusional force, to lead them to believe what is false, 12so that they may be judged—all those who did not believe the truth but delighted in wickedness.
Firstfruits of Salvation
13But we should always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits for salvation through sanctification by the Ruach and belief in the truth. 14He called you to this salvation through our proclaiming the Good News, for you to gain the glory of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 15So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by our letter. 16Now may our Lord Yeshua the Messiah Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good deed and word.
–from 2 Thessalonians 2