Unconventional Occasion

Judges 14:1-7

1Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. 2When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.” 3His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” 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.

5Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. 6The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done. 7Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.

Introduction

When a person says that he had accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, ask this probing question: “What is it that the Lord has done in your life to practically prove that Christ has really become your Lord?”

When God is at work in a person’s life, the experience is always very unique to that person only, why? God wants a personal encounter and personal relationship with every individual. God has unlimited ways of revealing Himself to a person and there is no exactly situation when God reveals Himself personally.

The Bible has recorded the different ways that God revealed Himself in the past. Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Isaiah, Hosea, or even Apostle Paul had unique stories how God revealed Himself to individuals.

When God is at work in a person’s life, the life of the person will certainly change. This is also true to any of us when we allow Christ to be Lord of our life. We can experience things we have never expected to happen.

The parents of Samson expected him to marry someone from their own people. When Samson insisted that he wanted to marry a Philistine woman, his parents were confused because they did not know at that moment that God has used that unconventional occasion to confront the Philistines.

1. Confront

1Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. 2When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.” 3His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” 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.

God has chosen Samson to save Israel from the Philistines. When the right time came, the Spirit of the Lord stirred Samson to explore the land. He went to Timnah, and he was attracted to a Philistine woman. The town of Timnah was more or less 10 kilometers from where Samson’s family lived.

Manoah the father of Samson was from the tribe of Dan. He lived in the town of Zorah which was more or less 35 kilometers west of Bethlehem. The original land given to the Danite Tribe was located in the northern part of the Philistine territory in the north-west part of the land of Judah.

God has chosen Samson from the tribe of Dan to confront the Philistines because the Danite people were most affected by the Philistines’ cruelty.

Samson’s parents were puzzled that their Nazirite son chooses to marry a woman from the Philistine people. The Philistines invaded and tormented them. So, why marry from the enemy, particularly, from uncircumcised people?

It was not common. It was not proper. To marry from the daughters of those who live in Canaan was a violation to the commands of the Lord to Israel.

It says in Exodus 34:15-16, 15Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. 16And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.

Samson, however, was very insistent to marry the Philistine woman but story narrated that the woman did not end up as Samson wife. Marrying a Philistine woman was not about marriage. It’s an occasion for God to save Israel.

Sometimes, God places us in situations we don’t like to reveal His plan for us, to experience His empowerment for us, and to grow in our trust in Him.

Samson’s heroic accomplishment was a realization of Jacob’s prophecy about his son Dan. Before Jacob died, he said in Genesis 49:16, 16Dan will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel.

And God raised Samson from the tribe of Dan to confront the Philistines. Do you agree that God sent a young lion to challenge Samson?

2. Challenge

5Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. 6The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done. 7Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.

First a young Philistine woman was God’s instrument for Samson to venture and explore in the Philistine territory. And then, before Samson was about to confront the Philistines, God may have sent the young lion as practice fight to warm-up or challenge the strength of Samson.

Samson was powerful. He was not scared of the young lion. He destroyed it because the Spirit of the Lord has empowered him. Interestingly, Samson did not need to brag about what he has done, his victory over the lion. He kept it secret. When God’s Spirit is at work, there’s no need to brag about it.

When God is at work in our life, we don’t crave appreciation from others because glory belongs to God. When God empowers us to do things we don’t expect to do, God uses that opportunity to reveal what He can do in our life.

Paul

Paul Testified in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, 23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

So, if Apostle Paul considered it as foolishness to tell the Corinthians those persecutions and hardship he had gone through, was he teaching that it’s not proper for us to testify about what God has done in our life?

Paul warned the Corinthians against false apostles. He did not need to tell them about his suffering but he made himself like a fool by telling them about his hardship as proof that real apostles have to suffer like Christ. Those false apostles did not have the mark of persecution in their bodies.

Paul was consistent of what he said in the beginning of his 2nd letter to the Corinthians when he said in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Sometimes, we feel like we have to fight for our right. When others gossip or make issues against us, we feel like we want to retaliate. We complain about unfairness, bias, or prejudice. Complaining does come not from the Holy Spirit.

If we suffer because we serve Christ, we don’t feel the need to complain.

If the Lord allows suffering or persecution for serving Him, He certainly, empowers through His Spirit living in us, and we would experience the fruit of the Spirit. It’s not complaining that we sense. We’ve got joy and peace in the midst of suffering and persecution when Christ is performing His lordship in our life.

Gossips are like roaring lion. It can scare us but cannot harm us. Samson destroyed the roaring lion when he was empowered by the Spirit of God. Roaring gossip can’t bother us, no more when we are empowered by the Spirit of God.

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