Never Underestimate Your Source

Read Judges 15:1-17

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10-12

Sampson insults his bride deserting her on their wedding night hell-bent on vengeance only to return months later with the gift of a young goat. Possibly some sort of make up gift (women today prefer flowers or chocolates over a young goat) to either appease his guilt (assuming he has any) or to diffuse the anger of the woman he abandoned.

Discovering his wife married a man who committed to both showing up and sticking around on their wedding night, Sampson devised an elaborate plan to avenge his loss and retaliate against those who robbed him of his bride. Sampson tied 150 torches between the tails of 300 foxes and sent these terrified animals zigzagging frantically through the Philistine fields. Their four-fold destruction included, first, destroying the standing grain; second, the shocks of harvested grain; third, the vineyards; and fourth, the olive groves. This was a devastating blow to the economy’s grain and wine production and a mockery to Dagon, the Philistine god of grain or harvest.

In pursuing Sampson, the Philistines camped out in Judah. They may have thought they’d have to fight the Israelites to get Sampson, but the Israelites had no desire to fight. They already conceded to Philistine rule and didn’t want Sampson to stir the pot of their compliance. Instead of securing their freedom, in their despondent state they wondered why Sampson hadn’t acknowledged Philistine supremacy.

Planning to continue on with their lives while maintaining the current status quo, they deliver Sampson over to the Philistines. Once again the Spirit of the Lord, which was Sampson’s source of strength, came upon him. With God’s empowerment, Sampson single-handedly killed 1000 Philistines.

The Israelites give us a picture of the error of looking at the enemy, comparing our strength to theirs, and as a result, trembling at our inadequacy. In doing this we fail to see ourselves as soldier in God’s army fighting with His strength and empowerment. When we lose sight of God’s overcoming power, we worship a false god called fear.

Sampson, on the other hand, shows us the deception of thinking of believing we can fight in our own strength and win. Here is another false god called pride. When we see God as an adequate strength and the source of our strength, God becomes our purpose and motivation for overcoming.

Because Sampson failed to see God as his source of strength, he failed to see the battle victory was from the Lord. When his energy no longer allowed him to provide for his thirst, he calls out to God with a request for water but with an accusation of God’s negligence in not providing water. Why do we wait until life’s challenges dry us out until we cry out to our true source?

Personal Response

Are you getting trapped in comparative thinking?

  • Making others a standard of measuring your value. This faulty thinking commonly results in dismissing God’s power and purpose within you.

Have you fallen into the deceptive thinking of interpreting the challenges or conflicts you face as God’s absence or neglect?  Examples of this “Philistine” thinking are:

  • If God loved me He wouldn’t have allowed….
  • If God loved me He would have prevented or changed…

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