READ: Judges 15-16

BACKGROUND: These chapters describe the rise and fall of Samson.
By Verse:
15:5 – These are the 3 main crops of the Philistines.
9 – Ironically, Lehi means “jawbone.”
12 – Samson wanted to make sure that he didn’t have to harm, fight, or kill any of his fellow Israelites.
16:3 – These were ridiculously large and heavy gates…and Samson carried them approximately 38 miles.
20 – The strength was never about the hair. It was always about the Spirit of God.
21 – Samson was reduced to humiliating slave labor.
30 – He had previously killed at least 1030.

THINK: Sit quietly and let your thoughts settle. Read this section from The Message translation, and let the story filter through your heart and interact with your present reality:

Then this: Everyone was feeling high and someone said, “Get Samson! Let him show us his stuff!” They got Samson from the prison and he put on a show for them. They had him standing between the pillars. Samson said to the young man who was acting as his guide, “Put me where I can touch the pillars that hold up the temple so I can rest against them.” The building was packed with men and women, including all the Philistine tyrants. And there were at least three thousand in the stands watching Samson’s performance. And Samson cried out to God: “Master, God! Oh, please, look on me again, Oh, please, give strength yet once more. God! With one avenging blow let me be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes!” Then Samson reached out to the two central pillars that held up the building and pushed against them, one with his right arm, the other with his left. Saying, “Let me die with the Philistines,” Samson pushed hard with all his might. The building crashed on the tyrants and all the people in it. He killed more people in his death than he had killed in his life.

What stands out to you about Samson’s dramatic action and the ending of his life? Do you resonate with his deep desire for justice to be served? What do you observe about how he acted on that desire for revenge?

PRAY: Read that section from The Message another tie, looking specifically for a word of phrase about Samson’s desire for revenge or justice that is meaningful to you. Maybe his act angers you, or you eel a similar desire. When you finish reading, close your eyes. Recall the word or phrase and sit quietly, mulling it over. Let it stimulate you into a dialogue with God.

LIVE: Read the section from The Message one last time, watching how God interacts with Samson and with the Philistines: Although God does not directly act or speak in the passage, he grants Samson’s request to avenge himself, and he allows the Philistines to lose their lives. What stands out to you about God’s involvement (or lack of Involvement)? Talk with him about your perception of him in this passage. Be open to what he may be showing you through what you read.

From Eugene Peterson in Solo

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