Have you ever seen other people’s kids whom you want to slap, just because of how they treat their parents? It goes without saying, if you have kids, you’ve wanted to slap them at some point. But other people’s kids acting badly sometimes help you feel better about your own. Until they cross that line, and you want to slap them. Yeah, that’s Samson…
Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So he came back and told his father and mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.” Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she looks good to me.” (Judges 14:1-3 NASB)
Up to this point in the account, I want to slap Samson for being overly mouthy. Children in Israel did not give their parents commands, and here, each of these statements from Samson are commands. A picture emerges of a spoiled boy. He’s their only son, and promised by God. He’s special even if they didn’t treat him that way. And yet, while the Spirit of Yahweh stirs in him (see 13:25), it seems the Spirit doesn’t really influence him to be a better person.
Samson goes to Timnah, an Israelite city controlled by the Philistines (now ruling over Israel for 40 years, see 13:1). There, he sees a Philistine woman, and wants her…she “looks good” to him, or “she pleases his eyes”. He’s very deep at this point of his life. This judge, who has such an auspicious introduction, like Jesus’, is behaving like a spoiled brat. He’s not likeable at this point in the story, yet, we have a caveat included by the author: However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. (Judges 14:4a NASB)
Samson wants what he wants when he wants it, but this is from Yahweh? Have any of you parents wanted to hear that your kid’s “issues” were from our Master, and not your fault? There have been days, let me just say that. So, this behavior of Samson, his driven desire for a Philistine woman, is from Yahweh. It sounds strange, but, so far in Judges, what has sounded normal?
The lesson from this introduction, at least as I read it, is that God will even use those we assume have no regard for Him. Samson is a spoiled brat, or at least he talks like one. Yet this is from Yahweh. Our Master uses a spoiled brat to begin to take down the Philistines, or show His people that they can be taken down. So, simply because someone is irritating to me, that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful to my Master. Jesus’ command to love everyone, even our enemies, is partly so that we will allow our Master to use anyone He chooses.
Think about that. We assume, way too often, that God will only use the “good people”. Even though we “speak” grace, we assume God will judge and select only the people of the best behavior. This plays out in our lives in the way we treat those who misbehave with disdain. Jesus would never use these “doers of iniquity”! Um, yes, yes He does. In fact, He kind of likes using them because His power is more obvious. When He uses us “goody two-shoes” believers, we assume it was because we’re so good. How does that glorify Him? It glorifies us!
See, our Creator wants us to love Him, because that is the only sure way to adjust our attitude, which then changes our behavior. But we want to work the system backwards. We want to change our behavior, thereby changing our attitude (becoming self-centered since we changed ourselves), and now our Creator loves us. That’s not going to work with our Savior. It’s not that He’s not going to use someone like that, He uses busted examples of believers all the time. But that’s not what He wants for us. There’s no relationship involved, and, therefore, no real benefit for the believer.
When worked backward, the process becomes sin, specifically, iniquity: the twisting of the relationship rules. God uses sinful people, but the relationship is fractured. And to our Creator, the relationship is the whole point. We can still be useful, just not within His kingdom.
So, let us see ourselves as a “Samson”, and align our minds and hearts with our Creator’s mind and heart. Let us look at others with the compassion of our Savior, and the love of our Creator, and surrender to the Hand of our Master.
What’s your view through the fence this morning?