God-ordained Disaster

Judges 15:1-8

1Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father would not let him go in. 2“I was so sure you hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.”

3Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.” 4So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails, 5lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.

6When the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” they were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because his wife was given to his companion.”

So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death. 7Samson said to them, “Since you’ve acted like this, I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.” 8He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.

Introduction

God chose Samson to save Israel. Before Samson was born, an angel of the Lord informed his parents that he will be leader in delivering the Israelites from the hands of the oppressive Philistines. Was it God’s will for Samson to destroy the Philistines? God is love but does He ordain vengeance?

How should we apply the ferocity of Samson against the Philistine in our Christian lifestyle when the Lord Jesus teaches us to love our enemies?

In Romans 12:19, 19Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

There are situations we cannot control. We admit that God did not directly command us to take revenge against our enemies. Samson’s battle was ordered by God for the sake of Israel. What can we learn from Samson’s battle?

If God ordains a person to take vengeance, there are also consequences of any action taken. When God is at work, unexpected events may happen.

1. Unexpected

1Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father would not let him go in. 2“I was so sure you hated her,” he said, “that I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister more attractive? Take her instead.”

Samson was angry, left his wife, and went to his parents’ home. His father-in-law did not expect that Samson will return. He was so sure that Samson hated the woman when he left her. Samson didn’t expect that she will be given away.

When his father-in-law gave his wife to another man, it implies that it was not really God’s will for Samson to build a family with the Philistine woman. Did God allow Samson to get angry so that his vengeance would more brutal?

Samson was a Nazirite who was set apart for the Lord. He may have been kind and respectful person. His parents may have taught him to live a lifestyle acceptable to the Lord. One may not expect Samson to start a trouble. So, God had designed unexpected events for him to really get angry and furious.

Pilate

When Christ was presented to Pilate, Pilate did not find probable cause to crucify Him. It says in John 19:12: 12From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

Pilate may have been indecisive but he wanted also to do what’s right. It only shows that when God ordains it, unexpected turns of events will occur.

Personally, we wish to accomplish what we planned for personal matters, family affairs or church concerns. But, we have to accept that even with thorough planning, there’s no guarantee that we get the result as we have expected.

People get marry to enjoy marriage life but unexpected turns of event may happen even with God’s chosen people. Did Samson expect his marriage life to be tragic? God’s work differs in each person. It is unique for that person.

2. Unique

3Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them.” 4So he went out and caught three hundred foxes and tied them tail to tail in pairs. He then fastened a torch to every pair of tails, 5lit the torches and let the foxes loose in the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the shocks and standing grain, together with the vineyards and olive groves.

Samson caught 300 foxes, how did he do that? Did he run after them? He must be quick, fast, and had a lot of energy to do that, right? If he did not catch them by his hand, he may have used a lot of snares or traps to catch foxes. Anyway, it was not mentioned if he caught 300 foxes in a day. Maybe weeks!

When he used 300 foxes to burn up the harvested and not harvested grains, vineyard, and olive groves were Samson’s unique vengeance. Why did he waste his time catching foxes? Why did he not just burn them himself? Did it satisfy his anger when he let the foxes destroyed the Philistine properties?

When angry, will you get even? Trust that God will surely vindicate us.

Evangelize

Since Christ has forgiven us, we use the forgiveness we receive from God to forgive others. But if you still want to satisfy your anger, someone advised to share God’s word to the person who angered you. Why? It says in John 12:48,

48There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.

When you share the very words of the Lord to the person who made you angry, he/she may believe and repent. And, it feels great to see changes in the person’s life. You may also earn more eternal treasures for yourself.

But if the person would reject the word of Christ, the Lord declared that the very words that the person rejected will be used against him at the last day. Therefore, the more you share the word of the Lord to that person who made you angry, the tougher the sentence he/she will suffer in eternity.

Eternal punishment has different intensities of severity. Some punishments are bearable than others. When Christ sent His disciples to preach about the kingdom of God, some people rejected their message. Christ said in Luke 10:12, 12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Eternal punishment for Sodomic wickedness will be more bearable than the punishment for rejection to Christ. Imagine when Samson’s wife was burned. It was an unpredictable turn of events that triggered Samson’s brutal vengeance.

3. Unpredictable

6When the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” they were told, “Samson, the Timnite’s son-in-law, because his wife was given to his companion.” So the Philistines went up and burned her and her father to death. 7Samson said to them, “Since you’ve acted like this, I swear that I won’t stop until I get my revenge on you.” 8He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.

Previously, Samson’s wife was concerned about the safety of her family more than her relationship with Samson that was why she pressured him to tell the answer of his riddle. She did not know that Samson had unpredictable temperament. The Philistines assumed also that Samson was just an easy prey.

Samson being a Nazirite would do anything that would bring glory to God.

Nazirites were set apart for the Lord. They don’t mind living alone like hermits or staying in solitary places. John the Baptist was also a Nazirite from birth and when he grew matured he lived in the desert. It narrated about John the Baptist in Luke 1:80, 80And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

As believers, we are set apart for Christ’s glory. Some groups of believers misinterpreted “set apart,” isolated themselves and established their community.

Truly, we are commanded not to conform to the pattern of this world. But it doesn’t necessarily mean living in a community isolated from non-believers.

Believers are not commanded to live in a secluded community. To be isolated won’t guarantee a lifestyle acceptable to God. When believers live exclusively among themselves, the practice of cultism is very possible.

Be empowered by Christ’s Spirit to resist worldly temptation. It’s tough to live among non-believers but God’s grace becomes real in such situations.

It says in 2 Peter 1:3-8, 3His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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