JUDGES 13:1 – 15:20 and LUKE 9:28–62
Sad to say but again the children of Israel have turned away from God resulting in their being delivered into the hands of the Philistines for forty years (vs 1). This time we do not see an account of Israel crying out unto the Lord for deliverance. In verses 2-25 we are introduced to a man named Manoah from the tribe of Dan. We also come to know that his wife is barren, one of several such women seen in scripture. There is something about these women who are barren and the eventual sons that they bring forth. We will see it later with Elizabeth who was the mother of John the Baptist; with Hannah the mother of Samuel and others.
Manoah’s wife has a visitation from an angel and is told that she will conceive. There are special instructions that were given to her seeing that her son will be a Nazarite unto the Lord. What does the vow of a Nazarite speak of? It speaks of a separated and consecrated life that is to be brought before God. The primary problem that Israel has been battling has been in the area of Balaam worship in addition to idolatry. There would be short lived victories after which Israel would call upon God in trouble. They would quickly revert back to their idolatrous ways. God is looking to raise up a different manner of deliverer, one who has a life that is separate and consecrated unto Him. This required the parents to make sacrifices as well. God was looking to raise up a leader who would not be tainted nor corrupted, a leader in whom the spirit of God could come upon.
As we will see in future examples of barren women there is a great price to pay for such a promise. It is often at a time when the land is in need of significant person to come on the scene to further accelerate the purposes of God. When a woman is barren she is denied something that is very precious and natural to her; the ability to give birth. It can create a travail, cry and longing for God to move in this area of need. There is a greater consecration that often comes forth as well. This will be seen later with Hannah before she is given the promise of a Samuel. The deliverer that is about to be raised up is one that is initiated by God, a man who will experience the moving of the Spirit of God upon him (vs 25). This man is going to present an illustration of the person of the Holy Spirit. He will also symbolise one of the 7 spirits of God as seen in Isa 11:2-3 (The spirit of might). The Spirit of Might will be a supernatural demonstration of the power of God to accomplish His purposes. I feel it was the anointing of this Spirit of Might that was upon Jesus when He turned over the table of the moneychangers while in the temple (Mark 11:15-16). It will be the means by which the strong man will be bound in the last days.
“To bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord” (Psa 149:8-9).
The question now is what kind of vessel will be entrusted with this level of anointing? Can you see the damage that such a person can do if he is not tempered; abusing this anointing after his own interest? When we examine the life of Samson we will be able to make a distinction between the gifts of the Spirit and the Fruits of the Spirit. There will be many instructive lessons that we will be able to glean from the life of Samson. The means of God’s deliverance for Israel is going to take a different turn. He is going to use a man empowered with extraordinary strength as an instrument of judgement upon the Philistines. What will be called into question is the character and integrity of the man God is going to use.
Samson immediately violates one of the commandments of God by going down to a land now inhabited by the Philistines; it is here where he finds a woman he takes interest in. This raises some questions. Was this God’s will based on what we see in verse 4? If this is God’s will then why would He allow Samson, a man birthed of a barren woman, a Nazerite to be connected with a Philistine bride? Is this an ends justifies the means kind of arrangement?
In verse 4 the Bible states this was of the Lord so that God could move in judgment against the Philistines. I want to tread carefully on these questions because there seems to be some contradictions from what we have seen before. We know that a prophet by the name of Hosea is called to marry a harlot so that the message of God loving an unfaithful church could be better understood. Clearly, it is not God’s intent that a man would go forth and take a bride with a reputation of unfaithfulness and yet it was God’s instruction in this unique case of Hosea.
I personally am of the mind in approaching this matter with the thought of God’s foreknowledge. The Lord would not authorize a saint of his to go out and commit some of the acts that we will see regarding Samson. Still, God uses this man mightily. The Lord knew the choices and the heart that Samson had and predestinated him for this ministry. The instruction and counsel of Samson’s parents were right and just (vs 3). They will account for their counsel to Samson before God and I feel be affirmed for it. The question of God’s foreknowledge and predestination is seen in this account.
God needed a Pharaoh to be raised up that would allow for iniquity to become ripe so that Egypt could be judged (Rom 9:17). God knew the choices and decisions he would make due to what was in his heart. Since God knew the choices Pharaoh would make he was predestinated for this ministry. Please don’t think that God just randomly places people into positions to fit his eternal plans. He predestinates people into positions due to His knowledge in how people will respond to light. It all stems from what is in the heart. This is why it is essential we allow God to get at root issues in our lives at an early stage. We saw this with Judas; he was a thief who heard the finest teaching and yet could not allow the axe to get the root of covetousness in his heart. At the appropriate time he then became the man who would betray Christ (Joh 13:2, 27). He is without excuse.
I feel this may help us to understand the account regarding Samson. Yes, it was God who used Samson to judge the Philistines through his marrying the woman of the Philistines. This does not change the laws that God gave to Moses regarding the marrying of foreign wives. Remember, this was the primary sin of Balaam so why would God suddenly make an allowance here? Secondly, how is it that God would allow such an extraordinary anointing to come upon a man who is given to weakness in this area? There are other lessons that will come forth from Samson that may prove helpful in what to observe in the last day outpouring of God’s spirit. The power and might seen working within Samson will again be seen in the last days. Such power and anointing will need to be well stewarded. We see some of the dangers of abuse of such power in the ministry of Samson but at the same time we will see him being used as God judges the Philistines. Have you ever wondered how certain ministries seem to function and be effective even when there may be known sin in leadership? The Psalmist had this same question in Psalm 73. His questions were answered and perspective was given when he entered into the sanctuary (Psa 73:17). It is here where revelation of the big picture is given and understanding is given as to why God does things a certain way.
We see in Samson a particular weakness in the area of women. He initially retains the secret of the answer to a riddle to himself but under the constant persuasion of his wife eventually gives up the secret. This is a precursor to his future downfall when we get to Bathsheba. We can liken this to playing with fire. Samson retained this powerful anointing of might for a period of time feeling more confident that it would never be compromised. The angel who came to Manoah and his wife gave the instructions of the Nazerite vow which would be the basis for this anointing to come upon his life. The method used to obtain the secret to the riddle will be the same method later used to gain the secret to his strength. Do we have an Achilles heel, an area of vulnerability that may lead to a future downfall? How important it is to allow God’s law of circumcision to have its work and way in our lives today.
Samson decides to go into the chamber of his Philistine wife but is denied access by her father. For some reason the father thought that Samson hated his daughter and so gave her to one of his companions. This put into motion a sequence of events. First we see Samson capturing 300 foxes and tying them together tail to tail. He set them on fire and sent them into the fields of corn causing great damage. This resulted in the Philistines coming to the father’s house where they killed him and his daughter (Samson’s wife).
This now gives Samson all the more reason to execute judgement upon them. He slaughtered a number of the Philistines under the anointing of the Spirit of might. God was bringing to pass the reality of judgement upon the Philistines through a man but it sure is an unconventional means of doing so. It does showcase how the anointing can be abused by a leader whose heart is not circumcised.
After this slaughter the Philistines then come to a place called Lehi which was within the camp of Judah (vs 9). Judah was still under captivity to the Philistines so they were concerned as to what Samson was doing. Judah gathered 3000 men to bind Samson and deliver him to the Philistines so as to not offend their captors. This is an interesting situation seeing that you have Samson, who will be the future Judge over Israel being bound by Judah to be delivered into the hands of the Philistines, their enemy. Samson pleaded with Israel to not fall upon him. Did he know and see the bigger picture and just play along with the scenario, knowing that he will have opportunity to wreak further havoc upon the enemy or was he truly dependent upon Judah extending mercy to him? Judah bound Samson and delivered him from the rock, the hiding place (vs 13). Once the Philistines shouted against Samson, the spirit of the Lord came upon him and broke his bands. He further was empowered to destroy the enemy by use of a jawbone of an ass where there was the slaying of 1000 men. Afterwards he was thirsty and feared that he would again fall into the hands of the uncircumcised. So again we see a certain fear in Samson after this demonstration of power. It appears that he was not yet taking for granted the power of the spirit that was coming upon him. The Lord hears his prayer and allows water to flow out of the hollow place in the jawbone. The jawbone was an instrument that provided deliverance and provision of water.
The sequence of events we have seen tells us that the Spirit of might came upon Samson at unique times to accomplish a purpose. There are words that speak prophetically of Christ that resembles what we see in Samson. “The zeal of thine house hath eaten thee up” (Psa 69:9). There were times when the Lord was overwhelmed with the abuse taking place in His Father’s house. This resulted in Him going through it with holy indignation by turning upside down the tables of the merchandisers’. We were able to observe a measure of this in Phineas when he executed God’s judgment upon the Moabite woman and her husband (Num 25:7-8).
There will be similar physical demonstrations of the power of God in the days to come however I feel the true power will be in the binding of fallen angels, principalities and powers that rule in the high places. There will be the binding of the strong man in cities and in nations. Those that have this privilege will be people of extraordinary character and integrity. What we see Samson doing in the natural is what will happen in the spiritual realm. The true overcomers, the man-child company of believers that will displace these foes will have the fruit of faith and not just the gifting of faith. There is a big difference. A true Nazarite is one who chooses to separate him or herself from the things of the world. They are also those who separate themselves unto God in prayer and fasting. As we know this is the definition of holiness.
Samson was not a holy man, he did not possess the fruit of the Spirit but rather functioned in the gift of might as the Spirit moved upon him. We will see Samson begin to take for granted this precious gift that God had given him. As we continue in our study of the Judges we will see the leadership, including the priests beginning to take the presence of the Lord for granted. This is the warning and message that we cannot miss. The vow of a Nazarite is a call to a life of consecration and holiness. There is tremendous power reserved to those who follow the Lord accordingly. It is a call to the Holy of Holies which is beyond the Outer Court and Holy Place. Remember, in the Ark of the Covenant was the Law, the golden pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded. It is here where we have the presence of God, the hidden truths of God that are to be revealed in the last days, (Dan 12:3-4) and the witness of the resurrection power of God. Samson was experiencing this measure of power but it was not with a consecrated heart. He had this power due to a promise that came via an angelic visitation. The promise to this barren woman required that she not be defiled with wine and the things of the world. The requirements upon the child were that there would be no razor put to his head which speaks of the anointing and a separated life. Here we see the power of God demonstrated through a man with a call to holiness but whose heart is not wholly given to God. Still, the power of the Spirit comes upon him at appointed times to fulfil God’s agenda.
Luke 9 – Read day 88 commentary