Saturday, April 11, 2009

Impetuous


im·pet·u·ous
1 : marked by impulsive vehemence or passion 2 : marked by force and violence of movement or action

Today we read a gripping story. But in the background is this looming tragedy.

It starts with an act of bravery. "Jonathan attacked and killed the Philistine governor stationed at Geba (Gibeah). When the Philistines heard the news, they raised the alarm: "The Hebrews are in revolt!" Saul ordered the reveille trumpets blown throughout the land. The word went out all over Israel, "Saul has killed the Philistine governor—drawn first blood! The Philistines are stirred up and mad as hornets!" Summoned, the army came to Saul at Gilgal. "

Act 2 is disaster. Saul assembles an army, but they melt just looking at the huge and invincible Philistine force. They start running away, hiding in caves and pits, even running away as far east as the other side of the Jordan river!

Now Saul only has 600 warriors left, and they haven't even started fighting!

Act three is an incredible story all by itself. 23 "A patrol of Philistines took up a position at Micmash Pass. (1 Samuel 14)1 -3 Later that day, Jonathan, Saul's son, said to his armor bearer, "Come on, let's go over to the Philistine garrison patrol on the other side of the pass." But he didn't tell his father."

Jonathan and his armor bearer kick butt! 14 -15 "In this first bloody encounter, Jonathan and his armor bearer killed about twenty men."

Not only did they fight incredibly, but their little victory had a cascading effect on the rest of teh Philistines. " That set off a terrific upheaval in both camp and field, the soldiers in the garrison and the raiding squad badly shaken up, the ground itself shuddering—panic like you've never seen before! "

Act 4. All the Israelites join the fray and get a huge victory. 20 -23 "Saul immediately called his army together and they went straight to the battle. When they got there they found total confusion—Philistines swinging their swords wildly, killing each other. Hebrews who had earlier defected to the Philistine camp came back. They now wanted to be with Israel under Saul and Jonathan. Not only that, but when all the Israelites who had been hiding out in the backwoods of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were running for their lives, they came out and joined the chase. God saved Israel! What a day! "

Act 5. Saul is Impetuous. 24 "Saul did something really foolish that day. He addressed the army: "A curse on the man who eats anything before evening, before I've wreaked vengeance on my enemies!" None of them ate a thing all day. "

Of course, he didn't know that the ONE person who had had the courage to confront this huge and fearsome military force was Jonathan, and Jonathan, who was too busy fighting to sit around and hear his father's impetuous burst of idiocy, was the one person who was going to eat something that day.

Have you ever done something impetuous?

Do you have the courage and wisdom to realize it was stupid, stop it, correct it and change course as needed?

Impatient


There are lots of great stories in today's reading of Samuel 13 and 14. Especially the one of how brave Jonathan was, and how he and his armor bearer single handedly turned the tide of war.

However, what has always bothered me is Saul's relationship to God. I think he was a very typical North American. So I am reading about me. And about you.

Impatient.

Saul is in a big battle with the Philistines. 6 -7 "When the Israelites saw that they were way outnumbered and in deep trouble, they ran for cover, hiding in caves and pits, ravines and brambles and cisterns—wherever. They retreated across the Jordan River, refugees fleeing to the country of Gad and Gilead. But Saul held his ground in Gilgal, his soldiers still with him but scared to death.
8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel. Samuel failed to show up at Gilgal, and the soldiers were slipping away, right and left."

The odds are against him. His soldiers are leaving him. He waits SEVEN days. Action is called for. Enough sitting around, waiting. Samuel hasn't come. Just because Samuel is a loser doesn't mean that Saul has to be a loser. What is an insecure, young, newly appointed king to do?

Well - he takes matters into his own hands. We need God's direction, and we need it now. God is like a puppet on a string. A genie in a bottle that you rub and it does what you command. God needs offerings before He will speak? OK. Let's make offerings. 9 -10 "So Saul took charge: "Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!" He went ahead and sacrificed the burnt offering. No sooner had he done it than Samuel showed up! Saul greeted him. "


Hi Sam. How are you doing? What took you so long? Samuel is neither amused nor pleased. 11 -12 "Samuel said, "What on earth are you doing?"

Saul feels no smidge of humility or repentance. No way! "Saul answered, "When I saw I was losing my army from under me, and that you hadn't come when you said you would, and that the Philistines were poised at Micmash, I said, 'The Philistines are about to come down on me in Gilgal, and I haven't yet come before God asking for his help.' So I took things into my own hands, and sacrificed the burnt offering."

Listen Sam. I'm doing the right thing here. Things are desperate and I need to hear from God. He likes offerings, so I did an offering. How is that such a bad thing?

13 -14 "That was a fool thing to do," Samuel said to Saul. "If you had kept the appointment that your God commanded, by now God would have set a firm and lasting foundation under your kingly rule over Israel. As it is, your kingly rule is already falling to pieces. God is out looking for your replacement right now. This time he'll do the choosing. When he finds him, he'll appoint him leader of his people. And all because you didn't keep your appointment with God!"
15 At that, Samuel got up and left Gilgal. "

Saul heard. But he didn't hear. He didn't repent. Didn't ask for direction. Didn't change his course of action. Waiting to God was too hard. Too risky. Action was called for. So... "What army there was left followed Saul into battle. They went into the hills from Gilgal toward Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul looked over and assessed the soldiers still with him—a mere six hundred! "

Round one. Saul is impatient. Although he wants God's direction, and God's blessing, he is not willing to either wait for God (God is WAY too slow!) or do things God's way. Samuel says that God is already looking for someone different to be king instead of Saul.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Eye eye, sir!

Today is Good Friday, but in our reading, we are introduced to Saul, son of Kish. "Saul, a most handsome young man. There was none finer—he literally stood head and shoulders above the crowd! "
What an auspicious beginning!

God tells Samuel that Saul is the chosen king. Samuel gives Saul four miraculous signs that he is the chosen one, and anoints him. All come true, and Saul recieves the holy spirit and starts prophesying with a group of prophets.

Later, 17 -18 "Samuel called the people to assemble before God at Mizpah". He gives them a message, lines them up, and begins a process of elimination to pick the king. Saul is chosen.

Samuel presents Saul to the people as their new king, and they all go home. Nothing much has changed at that point. In fact, "the riffraff went off muttering, "Deliverer? Don't make me laugh!" They held him in contempt and refused to congratulate him. But Saul paid them no mind."

Things were about to change. Over across the Jordan, the Israelites were suffering.

"Nahash, king of the Ammonites, was brutalizing the tribes of Gad and Reuben, gouging out their right eyes and intimidating anyone who would come to Israel's help. There were very few Israelites living on the east side of the Jordan River who had not had their right eyes gouged out by Nahash."

(OK, the picture shows the patch over the LEFT eye. Sorry!)

Word goes out, and 6 -7 "The Spirit of God came on Saul when he heard the report and he flew into a rage. He grabbed the yoke of oxen and butchered them on the spot. He sent the messengers throughout Israel distributing the bloody pieces with this message: "Anyone who refuses to join up with Saul and Samuel, let this be the fate of his oxen!"
7 -8 The terror of God seized the people, and they came out, one and all, not a laggard among them. Saul took command of the people at Bezek. There were 300,000 men from Israel, another 30,000 from Judah.
9 -11 Saul instructed the messengers, "Tell this to the folk in Jabesh Gilead: 'Help is on the way. Expect it by noon tomorrow.'"

With that kind of manpower, and an unsuspecting enemy, "At first light they broke into the enemy camp and slaughtered Ammonites until noon. Those who were left ran for their lives, scattering every which way."

BIG victory for Saul and his brand new kingdom.

15 "They all trooped out to Gilgal. Before God, they crowned Saul king at Gilgal. And there they worshiped, sacrificing peace offerings. Saul and all Israel celebrated magnificently. "

Lovely ending to a beautiful story, right? Not quite. Old man Samuel has some things to say...

13 -15 "So here's the king you wanted, the king you asked for. God has let you have your own way, given you a king. If you fear God, worship and obey him, and don't rebel against what he tells you. If both you and your king follow God, no problem. God will be sure to save you. But if you don't obey him and rebel against what he tells you, king or no king, you will fare no better than your fathers...
19 Then all the people begged Samuel, "Pray to your God for us, your servants. Pray that we won't die! On top of all our other sins, we've piled on one more—asking for a king!"

God is telling them through Samuel, and us too - I God am sufficient for you. I want you to live your life in dependance on me. When you depend on any of your human props, you dishonor me. Don't depend on yourself. Dont depend on your money. Don't depend on your skill, or talent, or beauty, or health or connections. Depend on me, and me alone.

Aye aye, SIR!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

widespread, fearful movement toward God

This treasure is from Samuel chapter seven.

There are so many stories in a reading of 4 chapters, that it is hard to get more than a taste of the good things God has to show us.

Listen to this:

2 From the time that the Chest came to rest in Kiriath Jearim, a long time passed—twenty years it was—and throughout Israel there was a widespread, fearful movement toward God.
3 Then Samuel addressed the house of Israel: "If you are truly serious about coming back to God, clean house. Get rid of the foreign gods and fertility goddesses, ground yourselves firmly in God, worship him and him alone, and he'll save you from Philistine oppression."
4 They did it. They got rid of the gods and goddesses, the images of Baal and Ashtoreth, and gave their exclusive attention and service to God.
5 Next Samuel said, "Get everybody together at Mizpah and I'll pray for you."
6 So everyone assembled at Mizpah. They drew water from the wells and poured it out before God in a ritual of cleansing. They fasted all day and prayed, "We have sinned against God."

These few short verses represent the last 20 years of Samuel's life. Imagine! Twenty years. He followed God all his life, without deviating. He lead the people to follow God also.

The Philistines prepared another battle, and God defeated them.

13 -14 "The Philistines learned their lesson and stayed home—no more border crossings. God was hard on the Philistines all through Samuel's lifetime. All the cities from Ekron to Gath that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored. Israel also freed the surrounding countryside from Philistine control. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. "

The slavery they had suffered was over. They were free in their land to prosper and enjoy the benefits of their own work. Samuel faithfully ministered the words of God to all the people.

15 -17 "Samuel gave solid leadership to Israel his entire life. Every year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah. He gave leadership to Israel in each of these places. But always he would return to Ramah, where he lived, and preside from there. That is where he built an altar to God. "

The story moves on - because nothing stays still forever. But in this interlude, Samuel is faithful. He teaches the people to be faithful.

And there is "widespread, fearful movement toward God."


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Doan Mess Wid Da Ark!

Tragedy!

The Israelites attack the Philistines to get their freedom. After a small failure, they go get the ark of God and bring it to the war front. The Israelites rally for a while, but the Philistines rout them. 40,000 soldiers dead. The ark is taken by the Philistines. The two sons of the high priest dead (as Samuel had prophesied)

A runner goes to Shiloh, where the ark had come from. The town erupts in sorrow. Old man Eli, the high priest, falls off his stool and dies. His daughter in law is giving birth and she dies.

Did I mention it was a tragedy?

This is where God steps in. The Philistines, of course were happy. They went back home to Ashdod, and put the ark in the temple of their pagan god Dagon. 3 -5 "Next morning when the citizens of Ashdod got up, they were shocked to find Dagon toppled from his place, flat on his face before the Chest of God. "So what do they do? What every pagan idol worshipper does. "They picked him up and put him back where he belonged. First thing the next morning they found him again, toppled and flat on his face before the Chest of God. Dagon's head and arms were broken off, strewn across the entrance. Only his torso was in one piece."

God wasn't done with them yet.

6 "God was hard on the citizens of Ashdod. He devastated them by hitting them with tumors. This happened in both the town and the surrounding neighborhoods. He let loose rats among them. Jumping from ships there, rats swarmed all over the city! And everyone was deathly afraid.
7 -8 When the leaders of Ashdod saw what was going on, they decided, "The chest of the god of Israel has got to go. We can't handle this, and neither can our god Dagon." They called together all the Philistine leaders and put it to them: "How can we get rid of the chest of the god of Israel?" Asdod sent it on to Gath and the same thing happened. So they sent it on to Ekron. They didn' want it either! Finally they asked for help how to get rid of it. They were told to put the ark on a cart and send it back to Israel, along with some gold replicas of the rats and tumors they had been plagued with.

It came back, and there was rejoicing in Israel.

2 "From the time that the Chest came to rest in Kiriath Jearim, a long time passed—twenty years it was—and throughout Israel there was a widespread, fearful movement toward God.
3 Then Samuel addressed the house of Israel: "If you are truly serious about coming back to God, clean house. Get rid of the foreign gods and fertility goddesses, ground yourselves firmly in God, worship him and him alone, and he'll save you from Philistine oppression."
4 They did it. They got rid of the gods and goddesses, the images of Baal and Ashtoreth, and gave their exclusive attention and service to God. "

So what is the application?

First of all, even when the child of God is defeated by the gods of this world - like materialism - don't admire and respect or worship the false gods. They are empty of power and will always fall before the God above all Gods.

Second, we must do our part, but always cry out to God, because when He does His part, big things happen.

Third, even in the midst of terrible tragedy, God is still working. We may not see it, or notice it, or even know about it for a period of time. But He is still working. The Israelites were consumed in their own sorrow and grief and confusion over what had just happened. They had no way of knowing that God was putting on a show of His power over satan in the Philistine towns.

But He was...

Doan mess with the ark!

Hearing God's Voice

Does God speak today?
If He speaks how do you hear Him?
If you hear something and you think it may be Him, how do you know?
Does someone with more experience and wiser in religion have a "leg up" on you in hearing God's voice?

Today's story also starts in tragedy. A godly husband. A godly wife. But no children. Did it bother the mom, Hannah, at all? Read with me:

8 "Her husband Elkanah said, "Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren't you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?"
9 -11 So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God's Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably."

If you are a couple wishing for a child, these emotions are all too familiar for you. Why, God? Why us? What have we done? We have all this love. We want so badly to love and nurture and care for a little one. Why Lord?

"Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably."

That's how the story starts. Hannah makes a vow - if God will give her a son, she will give him back to God. Literally. Well, He does, and she does.

Hannah's dance of joy in 1 Samuel chapter 2 is worth printing and posting on your mirror. It's THAT good! Hannah brings her little little boy to the temple where he will grow up and spend the rest of his days. This is a much loved and adored little child, with all the simplicity and innocence of a beautiful little boy.

Now today's story:

1 -3"The boy Samuel was serving God under Eli's direction. This was at a time when the revelation of God was rarely heard or seen. One night Eli was sound asleep (his eyesight was very bad—he could hardly see). It was well before dawn; the sanctuary lamp was still burning. Samuel was still in bed in the Temple of God, where the Chest of God rested."
4 -5 Then God called out, "Samuel, Samuel!"
Samuel answered, "Yes? I'm here." Then he ran to Eli saying, "I heard you call. Here I am."

This happens three times. Finally Eli catches on. God is talking to this pure, innocent, eager child. He says, "Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, 'Speak, God. I'm your servant, ready to listen.'"

He does, and God does. God gives the little boy a message directed at his boss. It is not a pretty message. God tells the boy that He is going to bring down Eli the priest and his "could-care-less-about-God" family. Eli gets it out of him and accepts it.

19 -21 "Samuel grew up. God was with him, and Samuel's prophetic record was flawless. Everyone in Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, recognized that Samuel was the real thing—a true prophet of God. God continued to show up at Shiloh, revealed through his word to Samuel at Shiloh."

How do you hear God's voice?

Listen, for starters.

Have your heart open to God and your ears open to God.

Obey what you know.

God will keep talking to you.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tica

We have a dramatic change of pace today. The entire book of Ruth only has 4 chapters, so the entire book is today's reading.

My sister is called Ruth. "Ruthie", we called her sometimes. Our favorite name was "Rutica", the diminutive form of the name in Spanish. Of course, that got shortened to "Tica." So, today's blog is called "Tica", diminuitive for Ruth, and dedicated to my sister.

So the story starts out as a tragedy. 1 -2 "Once upon a time—it was back in the days when judges led Israel— there was a famine in the land. A man from Bethlehem in Judah left home to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The man's name was Elimelech; his wife's name was Naomi; his sons were named Mahlon and Kilion—all Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They all went to the country of Moab and settled there."

Financial hardship led to a move. In the new country the boys married.

3 -5 "Elimelech died and Naomi was left, she and her two sons. The sons took Moabite wives; the name of the first was Orpah, the second Ruth. They lived there in Moab for the next ten years. But then the two brothers, Mahlon and Kilion, died. Now the woman was left without either her young men or her husband."

Over time dad dies, older brother dies, and younger brother dies.

6 -7 "One day she got herself together, she and her two daughters-in-law, to leave the country of Moab and set out for home; she had heard that God had been pleased to visit his people and give them food. And so she started out from the place she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law with her, on the road back to the land of Judah."

So Naomi's going back home. This is clearly a loving and lovely woman. Both daughters in law want to go with her.

8 -9 "After a short while on the road, Naomi told her two daughters-in-law, "Go back. Go home and live with your mothers. And may God treat you as graciously as you treated your deceased husbands and me. May God give each of you a new home and a new husband!" She kissed them and they cried openly."

She tells them to stay in their country, with their people. Orpah stays (she started a TV show and became very successful). Ruth goes with her. Ruth has found an older woman that she loves and respects, but also there was something about the God that Noami worshipped that really impacted her.

Ruth put out a statement so strong and moving that we often use it in wedding ceremonies.
"Where you go, I go; and where you live, I'll live.
Your people are my people, your God is my God;
where you die, I'll die, and that's where I'll be buried,
so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!"

So the two women come back into Israel, settling in Bethlehem.

What do you do when you are poor and life has dealt you a hard blow?

Look up your rich relatives. Of course!

Naomi did that. His name was Boaz. So she moved near to him.

Ruth, meanwhile, was not only sincere, and sweet, and loving; but she was also plucky and a hard worker. God's laws had established that the gleaners were always to leave some grain for the poor. Well Ruth was poor. So she found some fields nearby, asked permission, and went to work.

Here is where the story gets really cool. (Do you hear the music building in the background? You KNOW something is up...)

Rich man Boaz comes to his field and greets all his workers. By about this time, Ruth had come to his fields. Boaz notices her. (I think she was attractive, in addition to all her other good qualities) Who's the young lady over there, working away?

"Oh", he's told by his foreman, "Why, that's the Moabite girl, the one who came with Naomi from the country of Moab. She asked permission. 'Let me glean,' she said, 'and gather among the sheaves following after your harvesters.' She's been at it steady ever since, from early morning until now, without so much as a break." He calls her over. Stay in my fields. I have given orders for my servants to treat you well. If you need water, go ahead and have a drink.

Her reaction?

10 "She dropped to her knees, then bowed her face to the ground. "How does this happen that you should pick me out and treat me so kindly—me, a foreigner?"

He says, "They told me all about you. You are a good person. You are caring for your bereft mother in law.
13 She said, "Oh sir, such grace, such kindness—I don't deserve it. You've touched my heart, treated me like one of your own. And I don't even belong here!"
14 At the lunch break, Boaz said to her, "Come over here; eat some bread. Dip it in the wine."
So she joined the harvesters. Boaz passed the roasted grain to her. She ate her fill and even had some left over. "
Mutual admiration. Mutual respect. I think a healthy dose of attraction as well! This interchange turns into caring, into friendship, into romance, into marriage.

10 -13 "He said, "God bless you, my dear daughter! What a splendid expression of love! And when you could have had your pick of any of the young men around. And now, my dear daughter, don't you worry about a thing; I'll do all you could want or ask. Everybody in town knows what a courageous woman you are— a real prize!"

All the legal necessities are taken care of.

9 -10 "Boaz then addressed the elders and all the people in the town square that day: "You are witnesses today that I have bought from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech and Kilion and Mahlon, including responsibility for Ruth the foreigner, the widow of Mahlon—I'll take her as my wife and keep the name of the deceased alive along with his inheritance."

Out of tragedy - a beautiful story of love, loyalty, hard work, romance and marriage.

A special bonus! "Tica" is in the bloodline that Jesus the Messiah came from...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Debauchery! - Civil War!

Boy! Whoever wanted the "good ole days" to come back certainly never read Judges 19-21. It is one of the grossest stories in the entire Bible. Wish it wasn't there. None of the characters are upstanding.
o
Here is the story. 1 -4 "It was an era when there was no king in Israel. A Levite, living as a stranger in the backwoods hill country of Ephraim, got himself a concubine, a woman from Bethlehem in Judah. But she quarreled with him and left, returning to her father's house in Bethlehem in Judah. She was there four months."
o
So as a Levite, he was supposed to be somewhat religious, but he does not prove to be godly - not at all. What was the woman like? Was she cantankerous and quarrelsome? Maybe. Or maybe the Levite was an abusive husband? Could be. Whatever it was, they were not getting along. She ran away from him and went back to her father.
o
"Then her husband decided to go after her and try to win her back. He had a servant and a pair of donkeys with him. When he arrived at her father's house, the girl's father saw him, welcomed him, and made him feel at home. His father-in-law, the girl's father, pressed him to stay. He stayed with him three days; they feasted and drank and slept."
o
So the father treats this man like a friend and a hero. Did they have a relationship? Was the woman truly an irrascible person that the father wanted to get rid of? Doesn't really say. If the Levite was abusive, the father was certainly no protection for his daughter.
o
Well, the father carries on this feasting and hospitality day after day. I don't quite get it. Finally the Levite leaves and they travel back toward his town. The woman apparently has no input in the decision for her to stay with her dad, or go with the Levite.
o
They leave late, come to a town late, and since there are no hotels yet, they sit in the open town square, hoping someone will take them in. Finally an old man is coming home late from his field and takes them into his house. Here is where it gets ugly.
o
20 -21 "The old man said, "It's going to be all right; I'll take care of you. You aren't going to spend the night in the town square." He took them home and fed the donkeys. They washed up and sat down to a good meal. 22 They were relaxed and enjoying themselves when the men of the city, a gang of local hell-raisers all, surrounded the house and started pounding on the door. They yelled for the owner of the house, the old man, "Bring out the man who came to your house. We want to have sex with him."
o
So there is no law and order in this town. And they have sunk to such a level of debauchery that when a man comes into town, they want to gang rape him, because he is fresh meat. Disgusting. What follows is even worse.
o
23 -24 "He went out and told them, "No, brothers! Don't be obscene—this man is my guest. Don't commit this outrage. Look, my virgin daughter and his concubine are here. I'll bring them out for you. Abuse them if you must, but don't do anything so senselessly vile to this man."
o
The old man offers his own virgin daughter and the newly arrived concubine to this mob for their debauched pleasure. The two women, who are offered up so recklessly, apparently have no voice and no say in what happens to them. The mob wants the man.
o
25 -26 "But the men wouldn't listen to him. Finally, the Levite pushed his concubine out the door to them. They raped her repeatedly all night long. Just before dawn they let her go. The woman came back and fell at the door of the house where her master was sleeping. When the sun rose, there she was."
o
The Levite had taken this entire trip to "win her back." Did he love her? Well, he WANTED her. From what he did here he certainly didn't love her. How much does he care for her? It is pretty bleak. After he pushes her out the door for this lustful mob to do what they will, he - the caring loving concerned man that he is - falls soundly asleep in the comfort of his host's bed.
o
Meanwhile, outside, the mob is raping this poor woman all night long. When the sun comes up and the men disperse, the woman staggers back to the house and falls dead in front of the door.
o
27 "It was morning. Her master got up and opened the door to continue his journey. There she was, his concubine, crumpled in a heap at the door, her hands on the threshold.
28 "Get up," he said. "Let's get going." There was no answer. " (Because she was dead.)
o
The only words spoken to this woman in this entire story are, "Get up. Let's get going." But she can't get up. She is torn, and broken, and bruised - to death.
o
The Levite loads her on the donkey and takes her home. He IS outraged, which is good, but not at his own behavior, only at the behavior of the town and the men in it.
o
When he gets home, he cuts his concubine into 12 pieces and sends one piece to each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The story is told throughout the land, the entire country is outraged, and they declare war against this town and the entire Tribe of Benjamin.
o
The result is civil war. The entire country wages war against the tribe of Benjamin. In one of the battles, 25000 fighting men are killed. By the end of the war, everyone in the tribe of Benjamin is killed, including women and children and the towns are burned to the ground. The only ones to escape are 600 warriors who managed to hide.
o
Judges ends with this little statement. 25 "At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing."
o
A sad end to a sad story in a sad book.

Sex! Sad Story of Sampson's Seduction...

Judges 16:1 -2 "Samson went to Gaza and saw a prostitute. He went to her. "

Do you notice how much time there is between those two sentences? He saw her. He went in to her. No reflection. No praying. No thinking. (He was thinking, all right. With the little brain between his legs.)

Didn't consult. Didn't pause to decide if it was dangerous or not. If it was smart or not.

She's beautiful. He's horny. Said and done.

Well, the Philistines didn't waste any time at all. "The news got around: "Samson's here." They gathered around in hiding, waiting all night for him at the city gate, quiet as mice, thinking, "At sunrise we'll kill him."
3 Samson was in bed with the woman until midnight. Then he got up, seized the doors of the city gate and the two gateposts, bolts and all, hefted them on his shoulder, and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron."

Well. That was that. Over and done. No harm no foul.

4 -5 "Some time later he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek (Grapes). Her name was Delilah."

So - he was a judge in Israel for 20 years. The ruler of the country. God gave them peace under his leadership.

Did he not even NOTICE the girls of Israel? Not once does he appear to be interested in anyone from his own country.

This following story is famous. How does a cute girl, with fluttering eyelids, bring down the leader of a country, the strongest man in the world, a man over whom God has shed His grace and power? Easy! SEX!

"The Philistine tyrants approached her and said, "Seduce him. Discover what's behind his great strength and how we can tie him up and humble him. Each man's company will give you a hundred shekels of silver."
6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me, dear, the secret of your great strength, and how you can be tied up and humbled."

She wastes no time, and does not beat around the bush. I'll tell you - the guy must have been in heat! There is no other way to explain how stupid he is!!!

"Tell me, dear, the secret of your great strength, and how you can be tied up and humbled."
I want to kill you. Would you help me, please? Please?

We know the story. She keeps badgering him, probably bargaining sex for information.

Three times she gets the information from him and acts on it. Three times it is wrong.

16 -17 "She kept at it day after day, nagging and tormenting him. Finally, he was fed up—he couldn't take another minute of it. He spilled it.
He told her, "A razor has never touched my head. I've been God's Nazirite from conception. If I were shaved, my strength would leave me; I would be as helpless as any other mortal."
18 When Delilah realized that he had told her his secret, she sent for the Philistine tyrants, telling them, "Come quickly—this time he's told me the truth." They came, bringing the bribe money."


His hair is cut off. He is overtaken, his eyes gouged out, put in chains, and made to work as a slave for the Philistines.

Eventually his hair grows back. He is brought in to be taunted and tormented at a big festival to a heathen god. The final act of his life - blind, in chains and in slavery - is to cry out to God once again.

He toppled the central pillars of the building, it falls down, killing him and the others there. "He killed more people in his death than he had killed in his life. "


Sad end to a life with so much promise!