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Judges 15:1-20, Psalm 106:40-48, Isaiah 40:27-31
BY Guest Writer
Scripture Reading: Judges 15:1-20, Psalm 106:40-48, Isaiah 40:27-31
Goodness, things just keep getting worse.
Reading Samson’s life story feels like watching a particularly dark television series. Death and destruction follow him everywhere he goes. In Judges 15, Samson sets fire to the tails of 300 foxes and sets the Philistines’ farmland and vineyards ablaze. His wife and father-in-law are burned to death in a gruesome retaliation. Men are ripped limb from limb. And when it’s all said and done, Samson, infused with the Spirit of the Lord, single-handedly kills 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:16).
What in the world is going on here?
It’s important to remember that in the midst of this bloody, heartbreaking story, God is still present, and that He has endowed Samson with great strength and fervor in order to free the Israelites from the Philistines. It’s also important to remember that redemption is never clean and simple. It is a bloody business. Samson is caught in a web of back-and-forth retaliation, and he knows in his heart that in the end, it is his job to rid the Israelites of their oppressors.
When the Israelites find Samson hiding out in a cave, they do not join him to fight the way the Israelites have done in the past. No, they bind him and hand him over to the enemy. They cower. They see his strength, but they do not see him as a savior. Instead of recognizing Samson as a deliverer, they hand him over to the Philistines, bound and ready for death. But Samson inflicts justice on the Philistines through this small, weak weapon: the jawbone of a donkey. It is an unexpected, bloody redemption.
Does this story sound familiar at all?
Many years after the time of the judges, God sent the Israelites a Savior who is one with God and full of the Spirit (John 1:1–18; Luke 3:21–22). Rather than recognize His strength, the Israelites handed Jesus over to their oppressors and Pontius Pilate to be crucified.
But this time—this final time—the blood that was shed was not of the enemy. God turned the story on its head. Rather than kill off the Romans, Jesus went to the cross willingly to shed His own blood for us. It is an unexpected, bloody redemption.
Thanks be to God for saving us from ourselves, our sin, and the schemes of the enemy. May we give thanks to His holy name, and rejoice in praising Him (Psalm 106:47).
Claire Gibson is a writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Patrick, their son, Sam, and their dog, Winnie. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, will be published next year.