Godly Prompter

Judges 14:15-20

15On the fourth day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?” 16Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.” “I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?” 17She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.

18Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” Samson said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle.” 19Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home. 20And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.

Introduction

How do you determine when God is prompting you to do something? How do you know if a signal comes from God or just some pressures from others?

The Board of Trustees has been pressured to decide whether or not to change the 9am worship schedule on Sundays. Those who asked for worship time to be adjusted have presented their personal or family reasons, and the BOT decided not to adjust just yet. Was it God’s will to adjust or not?

If the BOT adjusts the schedule of worship service just to accommodate a person who asked for it, anybody will ask to accommodate their schedule also. As much as we wish to please everyone, the reality is it’s impossible to please everybody. Why? We all have different preferences and choices.

Individually, we can be confused when we decide. We can be pressured to decide not because it’s God’s will but because of pressure from others.

Samson was pressured by his wife who was pressured by 30 Philistines.

1. Pressure

15On the fourth day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to steal our property?” 16Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.” “I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?” 17She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.

Samson married the woman. Before the marriage was completed, Samson held a 7-day feast, and the people chose 30 men to be his companions. Samson gave the 30 men a riddle for them to get busy thinking instead of just spending the whole week drinking wine. The riddle was very simple but not popular among Philistines or in Israel because Samson himself coined it or formulated it.

The riddle revealed the hostility of the men. Well, was it God’s will for him to marry the Philistine woman? The woman was given to one of the men who accompanied Samson. The wedding was God’s will but to live as couples, no.

God allowed Samson to be attracted to the woman as prompter for him not to have his own family but to confront the Philistines. It says in Judges 14:4, 4His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.

Is it God’s will when things turn out different from expectation? Often, we assume as God’s will based on obvious things because it’s not easy to see the whole picture of what God planned to do. It helps to wait upon God’s prompter.

King Saul

After Prophet Samuel anointed Saul as king of Israel, he instructed it in

1 Samuel 10:6-7, 6The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

Later, Prophet Samuel ordered King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:3, 3Go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.

King Saul did not totally obey Samuel’s instruction. He spared the king of the Amalekites and the best animals for themselves and for burnt offering. Samuel said that God was pleased for partial obedience. King Saul answered in 1 Samuel 15:24, 24Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them.

Like King Saul we can also be pressured. We want to accommodate our loved ones or other people we respect, even when we know that it’s not God’s will. What should we do? How should we decide when we sense pressure?

We’ve got to pray, not decide just yet, and wait for God’s empowerment.

2. Power

18Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” Samson said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle.” 19Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of everything and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home. 20And Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions who had attended him at the feast.

The men pressured Samson’s wife, and warned her that they will burn her father’s household if she cannot give them an answer. They did not want to give 30 sets of garments and 30 sets of clothing. They did not want to be ridiculed as losers. One Israelite was smarter than 30 Philistines! That’s not acceptable.

When they agreed to the condition of Samson about the riddle, there were certainly witnesses who heard it. Those who invited them to accompany Samson could be relatives of the woman, and they were observing.

When they threatened Samson’s wife, she was scared of possible tragedy. She must have known that the men as violent characters. Do you agree that such that what happened was designed by the Lord for Samson to get angry?

Samson killed 30 men in Ashkelon for their clothing and gave to the men who answered his riddle. Ashkelon was located north of Gaza, a Philistine territory. Samson was attracted to the woman and had some plans. But, the Lord twisted the events. Samson got angry, left his wife and went home.

King David

Many times, we have great ideas we wish to do but cannot accomplish.

At one point, King David planned to build a temple for the Lord. He had defeated all enemies of Israel. He had vast wealth. He had built a palace for him and his family. He was king of Israel but he chose to know if it is the will of God for him to build a temple. It says in 1 Chronicles 17:1-4, 1After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent.” 2 Nathan replied to David, “Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.” 3But that night the word of God came to Nathan, saying: 4“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in.’

Although Prophet Nathan told him to do whatever he had in mind, King David obeyed it when Prophet Nathan returned to tell him about the will of God. King David did not insist on building the temple. It would have been a legacy he can leave under his name to build the temple but he chooses to obey the Lord.

One thing that we can learn from King David is his readiness to obey the will of God. He was king. He can decide and do whatever he wishes to do.

Unlike King Saul who was scared of his men, King David was scared more of the consequences of his action if he disobeys the Lord.

It says in 1 Corinthians 2:9-12, 9“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—10these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

Isn’t that amazing? God has prepared something for those who love Him. And the Holy Spirit will reveal to us. When we are empowered and filled by the Holy Spirit, we will understand what God gave us freely. Meaning, it does not require much human effort to receive them. The condition is to love the Lord.

Christ says in John 14:23-24, 23Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Seek for Christ’s Spirit to bear fruit of love as godly prompter to obey Him. We can know God’s will when filled and empowered by Christ’s Spirit. Amen!

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