Daily Devotional

September 11, 2017

Daybreak: Judges 15:1-20

“And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.” (Judges 15:14)

We are in a constant battle with the enemy of our souls. While Samson fought some dramatic battles with his enemies, the skirmishes we face as Christians are no less important and require as much reliance on God as did those of Samson. 

Today’s attacks usually are not hand-to-hand combat, but a trial of our faith. Satan may bring a question to our minds about whether God is able or willing to take care of our needs or put a doubt to challenge our integrity or that of a brother or sister in the Gospel. He may send illness, accusations, or a myriad of other trials. In every attack, we can call upon the Lord and His Spirit will raise up a defense against the enemy.

I think back to the time when my husband was called to be a pastor. We were driving the curvy Redwood highway through the beautiful Smith River Canyon of California. We had left behind several young adult children, one of whom was facing a possible serious illness. My heart was pulling two ways — I felt joy to be answering God’s call, and yet my mother-heart ached at leaving my vulnerable young daughters. As we rounded a turn in the road, we came upon a little fawn that had been struck by a car and was struggling. At that point my emotions reached the brim, and I burst into sobs. My heart was fixed, and there was no thought of turning back, but I needed extra strength for that moment — and it came. 

At this point in my life, I remember back to that day with a smile. The Lord took good care of our girls, and my husband and I have been very fulfilled in our call. There have been other battles along the way, but as we have determined to do the Lord’s will, His Spirit has been there every time to comfort us and give us the strength we need. Because God has been our help and strength in these small battles, I know we can trust Him if we ever face a huge one like Samson’s! 

Background

God had given the land of the Philistines to Israel, but the Philistines still occupied the land and they were troubling Israel. God had raised up Samson to bring judgment to these oppressors. Samson was a man with a quick temper and one who seemed to take much credit for his exploits against the Philistines rather than giving the glory to God as he should have. 

In an act of revenge for his Philistine wife having been given to his “companion” (or friend), Samson caught three hundred foxes, set their tails on fire, and sent them through the Philistines’ fields. Rounding up that many foxes would not have been too difficult because the country abounded with these animals. The burning of the enemies’ crops was a common method of warfare in that day. Samson’s act constituted national aggression, and made him a chief enemy of the Philistines. 

After Samson performed a great slaughter of the Philistines, the men of Judah offered to give up Samson to the Philistines. This would indicate that Judah did not have faith that God was able to give victory through Samson. However, through the Spirit of the Lord, Samson was able to break the bands by which he was restrained. After slaying 1000 Philistines with a jawbone of an ass, and being delivered from extreme thirst by the creation of a fountain of water by God, Samson was appointed judge over Israel. During the twenty years Samson judged Israel, he never was able to rout the Philistines completely but only overcame some of them at times with great feats. 

Commentators suggest that there was a significant time lapse between the close of chapter 15 and the events described in chapter 16. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   Conditions during the period of the judges
      C.   Parenthesis: the tyranny of Abimelech
            9.   Samson 
                  b.   Israel’s deliverance
                        (2)   The conflict with the Philistines
                               (a)   Because of the woman of Timnah
                                      [4]   Samson’s loss of his wife
                                             [a]   Her marriage to another (14:20—15:2)
                                             [b]   Her several revengeful acts (15:3-8)
                                                    i.   Samson’s revengeful acts (15:3-5)
                                                    ii.   Philistine ;reprisals (15:6)
                                                    iii.   Samson’s reaction (15:7-8)
                                      [5]   Samson’s fights with the Philistine army (15:9-20)
                                             [a]   The Philistine attack on Judah (15:9-13)
                                             [b]   Samson’s single-handed victory (15:14-20)

A Closer Look

  1. By what power was Samson able to do exploits? 
     
  2. Why do you think God continued to empower Samson when he so often seemed to use that power selfishly?
     
  3. How can the focus verse encourage us when we face a trial that is too big for us to handle?

Conclusion

No matter how big the enemy may seem in our Christian warfare, God is much more powerful. With Him we will always win!

Reference Materials