Category Archives: Arrogance

How We Approach the Needs of Others Matters

Contrast the response to David’s request by Nabal and by his wife, Abigail. It is clear which is pleasing to the LORD. The LORD’s anointing was on David and his men had acted honorably and been helpful to Nabal’s servants. Nabal reacted with selfishness and arrogance and spurned them. Abigail interceded with grace and wisdom and a servant’s heart.

Let us reflect personally on how we respond to situations like this in our lives, even if they are not quite so dramatic as 400 armed men coming to get supplies from us. People around us do have needs. We should pray and ask the LORD to give us the right attitude.

1 Samuel 25:2-38

Nabal and Abigail

      2Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel; and the man was very rich, and he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And it came about while he was shearing his sheep in Carmel 3(now the man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name was Abigail. And the woman was intelligent and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings, and he was a Calebite), 4that David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, visit Nabal and greet him in my name; 6and thus you shall say, ‘Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7‘Now I have heard that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us and we have not insulted them, nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel. 8‘Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”

      9When David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in David’s name; then they waited. 10But Nabal answered David’s servants and said, “Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master. 11“Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men whose origin I do not know?” 12So David’s young men retraced their way and went back; and they came and told him according to all these words. 13David said to his men, “Each of you gird on his sword.” So each man girded on his sword. And David also girded on his sword, and about four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred stayed with the baggage.

      14But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, and he scorned them. 15“Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything as long as we went about with them, while we were in the fields. 16“They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep. 17“Now therefore, know and consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him.”

Abigail Intercedes

      18Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves of bread and two jugs of wine and five sheep already prepared and five measures of roasted grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19She said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20It came about as she was riding on her donkey and coming down by the hidden part of the mountain, that behold, David and his men were coming down toward her; so she met them. 21Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good. 22“May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave as much as one male of any who belong to him.”

      23When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground. 24She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant. 25“Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.

      26“Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, since the LORD has restrained you from shedding blood, and from avenging yourself by your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek evil against my lord, be as Nabal. 27“Now let this gift which your maidservant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who accompany my lord. 28“Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil will not be found in you all your days. 29“Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God; but the lives of your enemies He will sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30“And when the LORD does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel, 31this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. When the LORD deals well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”

      32Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, 33and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. 34“Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male.” 35So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, “Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and granted your request.”

      36Then Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; so she did not tell him anything at all until the morning light. 37But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became as a stone. 38About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal and he died.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Pray Humbly and Wholeheartedly for Personal Repentance

For those of us who wish to truly submit to Yeshua and follow him, we must be willing to humbly admit our faults in order to change them. Yeshua provides a wonderful example of a sinful man who genuinely comes before YHWH for repentance and contrasts that with someone who is praying in a noticeably prideful manner. I encourage each of us to thoughtfully and humbly read the scripture from Luke and then come before our father in genuine humility, admitting our sins, and ask for genuine forgiveness with wholehearted commitment to repent and sin no more.

Luke 18:9-14

9And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14“I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

All of us remain sinful, no matter where we are in our journey. Take time to identify an area in which you need change and come before YHWH with pure motive and pure heart, privately, and ask forgiveness and ask his help with repentance. Then work consciously to change your wrong behavior and he will help you. Avoid the trap of just asking forgiveness and then continuing in your sin, without repentance and change on your part. If you refuse to change, that is not true repentance and acknowledgment that you are wrong. There is a distinction between having difficulty changing and refusing to change or not trying. Often we will need his help to change our ways as it is difficult for us.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Commendation of Wisdom

I really need add nothing more to explain Proverbs 8. Wisdom, godly wisdom, is worth pursuing and praying for… worth studying the Bible to learn.

Proverbs 8

The Commendation of Wisdom

1Does not wisdom call,
And understanding lift up her voice?

2On top of the heights beside the way,
Where the paths meet, she takes her stand;

3Beside the gates, at the opening to the city,
At the entrance of the doors, she cries out:

4“To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.

5“O naive ones, understand prudence;
And, O fools, understand wisdom.

6“Listen, for I will speak noble things;
And the opening of my lips will reveal right things.

7“For my mouth will utter truth;
And wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

8“All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness;
There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.

9“They are all straightforward to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.

10“Take my instruction and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choicest gold.

11“For wisdom is better than jewels;
And all desirable things cannot compare with her.

12“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And I find knowledge and discretion.

13“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverted mouth, I hate.

14“Counsel is mine and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, power is mine.

15“By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.

16“By me princes rule, and nobles,
All who judge rightly.

17“I love those who love me;
And those who diligently seek me will find me.

18“Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring wealth and righteousness.

19“My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,
And my yield better than choicest silver.

20“I walk in the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,

21To endow those who love me with wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.

22“The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.

23“From everlasting I was established,
From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.

24“When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no springs abounding with water.

25“Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills I was brought forth;

26While He had not yet made the earth and the fields,
Nor the first dust of the world.

27“When He established the heavens, I was there,
When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,

28When He made firm the skies above,
When the springs of the deep became fixed,

29When He set for the sea its boundary
So that the water would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth;

30Then I was beside Him, as a master workman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,

31Rejoicing in the world, His earth,
And having my delight in the sons of men.

32“Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
For blessed are they who keep my ways.

33“Heed instruction and be wise,
And do not neglect it.

34“Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at my doorposts.

35“For he who finds me finds life
And obtains favor from the LORD.

36“But he who sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate me love death.”

 

Timeless Wisdom

Proverbs contains timeless wisdom we should still be teaching our children. Do not become financially responsible for someone else’s debts. Do not be lazy. Plan ahead for your future. Even the ants do that. Do not speak with perverse mouth or speak wicked things. Do not devise evil or stir up strife. In particular, there is much emphasis on avoiding adultery.

Proverbs 6

     Parental Counsel

     1My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor,
Have given a pledge for a stranger,

2If you have been snared with the words of your mouth,
Have been caught with the words of your mouth,

3Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself;
Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor,
Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.

4Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids;

5Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

6Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,

7Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,

8Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.

9How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?

10“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”—

11Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.

12A worthless person, a wicked man,
Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,

13Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet,
Who points with his fingers;

14Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,
Who spreads strife.

15Therefore his calamity will come suddenly;
Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.

16There are six things which the LORD hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:

17Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,

18A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,

19A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.

20My son, observe the commandment of your father
And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;

21Bind them continually on your heart;
Tie them around your neck.

22When you walk about, they will guide you;
When you sleep, they will watch over you;
And when you awake, they will talk to you.

23For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life

24To keep you from the evil woman,
From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.

25Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her capture you with her eyelids.

26For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread,
And an adulteress hunts for the precious life.

27Can a man take fire in his bosom
And his clothes not be burned?

28Or can a man walk on hot coals
And his feet not be scorched?

29So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
Whoever touches her will not go unpunished.

30Men do not despise a thief if he steals
To satisfy himself when he is hungry;

31But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold;
He must give all the substance of his house.

32The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense;
He who would destroy himself does it.

33Wounds and disgrace he will find,
And his reproach will not be blotted out.

34For jealousy enrages a man,
And he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

35He will not accept any ransom,
Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Slaying Giants By YHWH’s Power

When we are operating in YHWH’s will and submitting ourselves to Him in our lives, He will help us slay giants that we could not defeat on our own. This does not mean we have to face physical attack by large men. There could be many intimidating situations we face that He can help us through His power. It is important to remember, however, that this is not a license to go pick fights with giants. We want to be fighting only the battles that YHWH wants us to fight. David was fighting for the name (aka reputation) of YHWH and the nation that followed Him. David was not fighting for personal glory, although that came with the victory.

Another aspect I have found very much worth highlighting is that David recognized where YHWH had been acting in His life already and then applied that to future situations. In his case, YHWH had protected him from lion and bear in protecting sheep and David saw this as a clear pattern in which he had faith YHWH would protect him from the Philistine as well. I have witnessed similarly, certain aspects or patterns of my life in which YHWH has chosen to interact to guide my path or just communicate with me. As I see where He has been active in the past, I have increasing faith He will continue in that way in the future. Of course, it will not be in the same way for everyone, so pay attention to where He has moved in your life in the past.

1 Samuel 17

Goliath’s Challenge

      1Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; and they were gathered at Socoh which belongs to Judah, and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2Saul and the men of Israel were gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines. 3The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. 4Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze. 6He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. 7The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him. 8He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 9“If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” 11When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

      12Now David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons. And Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced in years among men. 13The three older sons of Jesse had gone after Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and the second to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul, 15but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem. 16The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand.

      17Then Jesse said to David his son, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves and run to the camp to your brothers. 18“Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news of them. 19“For Saul and they and all the men of Israel are in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.”

David Accepts the Challenge

      20So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry. 21Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle array, army against army. 22Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers. 23As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them.

      24When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid. 25The men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. And it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.”

      26Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” 27The people answered him in accord with this word, saying, “Thus it will be done for the man who kills him.”

      28Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.” 29But David said, “What have I done now? Was it not just a question?” 30Then he turned away from him to another and said the same thing; and the people answered the same thing as before.

David Kills Goliath

      31When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him. 32David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” 37And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.” 38Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. 39David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off. 40He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.

      41Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. 42When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. 43The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” 45Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. 46“This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.”

      48Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground.

      50Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. 51Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. 53The sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps. 54Then David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent.

      55Now when Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this young man?” And Abner said, “By your life, O king, I do not know.” 56The king said, “You inquire whose son the youth is.” 57So when David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine’s head in his hand. 58Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

Don’t let the familiarity of the story hide from you the deep faith and boldness of David or the fact that YHWH can help all of us overcome “giants” in our lives. We should strive to live for the glory and honor of YHWH, as David demonstrated in slaying Goliath.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Wisdom From Above Compared to Earthly Wisdom

There is an important distinction made about the wisdom… whether it is from above or from the world.

James 3:13-18

Wisdom from Above

      13Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Consider how this applies to your life today. Do not simply read it quickly and move on. Ask our Father to reveal to you godly wisdom. Be humble enough to accept it and change your ways as he enlightens you.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Samson’s Repeated Poor Judgement Brings Him Down

Samson clearly disregarded much of YHWH’s instructions and did things his own way. YHWH used him as he was “seeking an occasion against the Philistines” (Judges 14:4). We should take care not to assume YHWH approves of all the things which Samson did. We have previously covered some of his prior poor decisions and now in Judges 16 we see again his arrogance and poor judgment when it comes to dealing with Philistine women, including spending time with a harlot). He had every opportunity to see that Delilah was going to betray him, and ignored it. He knew he should not tell her, but eventually caved to stop the whining. He already faced a similar situation previously with his Philistine wife and he apparently did not learn from it.

We see now in chapter 16 that Samson, despite his great strength given to him by YHWH has put himself in a position to be defeated and humiliated.

Judges 16:1-21

Samson’s Weakness

      1Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her. 2When it was told to the Gazites, saying, “Samson has come here,” they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. And they kept silent all night, saying, “Let us wait until the morning light, then we will kill him.” 3Now Samson lay until midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two posts and pulled them up along with the bars; then he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the mountain which is opposite Hebron.

      4After this it came about that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5The lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Entice him, and see where his great strength lies and how we may overpower him that we may bind him to afflict him. Then we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.” 6So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength is and how you may be bound to afflict you.” 7Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh cords that have not been dried, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” 8Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh cords that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9Now she had men lying in wait in an inner room. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the cords as a string of tow snaps when it touches fire. So his strength was not discovered.

      10Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have deceived me and told me lies; now please tell me how you may be bound.” 11He said to her, “If they bind me tightly with new ropes which have not been used, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” 12So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” For the men were lying in wait in the inner room. But he snapped the ropes from his arms like a thread.

      13Then Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you have deceived me and told me lies; tell me how you may be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my hair with the web [and fasten it with a pin, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” 14So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his hair and wove them into the web]. And she fastened it with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the loom and the web.

Delilah Extracts His Secret

      15Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have deceived me these three times and have not told me where your great strength is.” 16It came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death. 17So he told her all that was in his heart and said to her, “A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any other man.”

      18When Delilah saw that he had told her all that was in his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all that is in his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19She made him sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his hair. Then she began to afflict him, and his strength left him. 20She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. 21Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.

Reflect on the poor choices that Samson made and the consequences he faced as a result. Despite great advantage given by YHWH, he managed to bring himself to ruin. Let us seek to be wise and use the gifts that YHWH gives us to his glory and not just to our own selfish purposes. There is so much more we can learn from studying Samson than just God gave him strength and he killed a lot of Philistines. Sadly, much of what we can learn is related to what we should not do.

Perhaps one simple summary would be that if YHWH puts an anointing on you with some great gift(s), do not think you can rely on that alone and ignore YHWH himself and his instructions.

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Arrogance, Manipulation, Mistrust and Anger Lead To Trouble

Samson was very strong indeed, when the spirit of the LORD was with him. However, we see in Judges 14 a flaw that ultimately becomes his downfall even more than what he experiences here. He seems to lack wisdom in whom to trust and allows himself to be manipulated by women with whom he is interested.

One can have a debate about whether or not he should be marrying someone he did not feel he could trust for sure. However, he knew he did not trust her and thus was not telling her the secret at first. However, he allowed her crying to manipulate him and ultimately gave up his secret for the wrong reasons. He did not do so because of a loving and trusting relationship with a woman who was to become his wife. He did so because of crying and manipulation. He ultimately is manipulated again similarly by Delilah and to his ultimate downfall.

Let us take care and use wisdom in whom we trust and why. Let us neither be the person who makes a decision based on manipulative tears nor the person who uses the manipulative tears to coerce someone.

Imagine if she could have simply come to her soon to be husband and told him the truth, that she and her father were threatened. Perhaps Samson could have protected her and they could have built a trusting relationship. It is also fair to point out that Samson brought on some of this situation by pursuing a Philistine instead of an Israelite wife and also by arrogantly making a wager about his riddle. The Philistines and Israelites did not like one another and he antagonized the situation. We see also that he has an unrighteous anger and he goes and kills others who were not even involved and steals from them to pay his debt. Samson is not a righteous man, and yet the LORD saw fit to grant him strength and use him to bring victory to the Israelites against the Philistines. YHWH’s ways are not our ways. He chooses at times those whom we would not expect.

 

Judges 14:12-20

Samson’s Riddle

     12Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. 13“But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.”

14So he said to them,
“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”
But they could not tell the riddle in three days.

      15Then it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?16Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people.

18So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,
“What is sweeter than honey?
And what is stronger than a lion?”
And he said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have found out my riddle.”

19Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his friend.

Perhaps one aspect which I find very interesting to reflect on is easy to miss as we think about the mess Samson made. There seems little argument that Samson was like a bull in a china shop. He breaks things. He is not acting in a righteous manner. Yet YHWH was using this situation to create “an occasion against the Philistines”.

Judges 4

4However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.

So I am once again reminded to take care in what assumptions I make about whom YHWH chooses to use and how. I am also reminded not to assume every time something gets messy that somehow it is not YHWH’s plan. Sometimes he does use conflict for his purposes, sometimes he uses unrighteous people to his righteous purposes.

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YHWH Uses Whom He Chooses, And We May Not Understand Why

Samson was chosen by YHWH to be judge and leader of Israel and to bring, on many occasions, victory to Israel over the Philistines. I find there is much more though to reflect on than just the simple children’s story about a man with great strength. He was gifted by YHWH, but showed a callous disregard for YHWH’s ways.  He seems very arrogant and self reliant rather than consistently seeking YHWH.

There is no wisdom in seeking to marry someone who does not share your faith. YHWH actually warns against it elsewhere in the Bible. We see time after time when God’s people mix with others, they are drawn away from him and into worship of false gods. We are not to mix and mingle. There is no wisdom in seeking to marry someone you have only seen and not even met.

While YHWH does not endorse or approve of Samson’s attempt to marry a Philistine in Judges 14, verse 4 tells us it was of the LORD. The LORD was planning to use this situation for his purposes. Ironically, Samson’s parents were correct in their objecting, but YHWH had more unusual plans this time around on how to use Samson’s disregard for his ways.

We also understand that a Nazarite should not only not cut his hair, but also not touch dead bodies. Samson disregarded this often, but quite clearly while eating honey from a dead lion’s mouth. Samson appeared to have quite a disregard for YHWH’s ways.

YHWH showed him mercy and grace in abundance and still used him, but as we all know how the story ends, Samson’s arrogance and carelessness eventually brought about his downfall. YHWH will choose and use whom he chooses, even if we don’t understand why.

I find it worth puzzling over and reflecting on to consider how and why the LORD continued to use Samson despite all his flaws. Clearly we can be encouraged that we too can be used by our Creator despite our flaws, but we should none the less try to be more focused in living according to YHWH’s ways and less focused than Samson was on doing things our own way.

Judges 14:1-11

Samson’s Marriage

     1Then Samson went down to Timnah and saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2So 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.” 3Then 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.” 4However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.

      5Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. 6The Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. 7So he went down and talked to the woman; and she looked good to Samson. 8When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. 9So he scraped the honey into his hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it; but he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey out of the body of the lion.

      10Then his father went down to the woman; and Samson made a feast there, for the young men customarily did this. 11When they saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.