January 22: Even From the Mess

Read Judges 15

Samson was kind of a hot-head. Not that he didn’t have a right to be upset about his father-in-law giving his wife to another man. His best friend, no less.

But his reactions seem so . . . extreme.

I mean, tying torches to the tails of foxes to burn up the Philistines’ crops? Going banchi with a donkey’s jawbone and killing 1,000 men with it? It goes against what I’ve always thought when I consider God’s choosing of Samson before birth. Was He disappointed in His choice? Did God ever wish He’d not set that man apart?

Judging by Samson’s actions after taking down those Philistines and ensuring the demise of his ex-wife’s family, I would say Samson struggled with the same kinds of questions.

“And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam” (v8).

Samson’s one true love, who’d betrayed him and hurt him more deeply than any cutting or beating ever could, was dead. Sure, he’d been avenged, but that didn’t make his heart hurt any less. As Samson hid inside that rock cleft, I wonder if he had it out with God. Did God remind him of His command to not marry outside the Israelite people? Did He chastise him for going against His law?

I would be willing to bet that when the men of Judah showed up and tried to convince Samson to fight again with them, he was not only surprised that God might allow such a thing, but despondent. Because he knew he’d screwed up. Badly. Still, God used Samson’s strength, the strength He Himself had bestowed, to help fight off the enemy. Still, He used the one He’d called for His greater purpose.

No doubt, Samson’s story could have been more victorious. But God never went back on the word He’d spoken to Mr. and Mrs. Manoah. “(F)or the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death” (Ju. 13:7). Samson had been set apart for God’s work since before conception. Whether he liked it or not.

Samson’s story points straight to God’s faithfulness. It screams, God does not go back on His word. Not even a man’s will can thwart that.

Humbling to think of how God uses us. I wonder how God uses me, even in the midst of all my screw-ups. I wonder how He uses you.


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