Archive for the ‘bondage’ Category

Deliverance for the Deliverer!

I must confess, I have come to the story of Samson with some already preconceived ideas about him. A self-pitying womanizer, a self-willed brat, an uncontrollable egotistical brute, who wants the world to know just how smart he is by talking in riddles! (I’m not very generous, am I?!)

And initially, the chapter for today, Judges 15, only provides credence to that assessment.

But when I try to read this through a more gracious set of eyes, I’m especially struck by the last verse. Here I am judging this judge by the 5 or so incidents recorded in the 4 chapters given to him. But look at verse 20:

And he judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

In this one verse we see the next 20 years of Samson’s life as he judges Israel with no mention of his sensual lifestyle. Twenty years without incident and I want to critique him based the years of his youth. I don’t know very many people would care to be measured by that standard…myself included.

That is the beauty of God. Even with all of our sins, failures and weaknesses, He manages to cull fruitfulness from us, and then praises us as if it were our own doing. Just look at how Samson was viewed through New Testament’s eyes, a hero of the faith, Hebrews 11:32.

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Another verse that was delightful to consider is verse 14:

Then the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him; and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds broke loose from his hands.

Just muse on that verse in regards to your own life…what God has done or what you desire for Him to do!

There is no limit to His powerful deliverances. Whatever be the cords of evil habits, woven through long years, and however entangling our circumstances, God’s indwelling power can set us free. Ephesians 1:19. I wonder if Samson marveled at the liberation he experienced so easily just as it seemed he was being totally given over to the enemy?

Lord, I pray that you would make the ropes that hold my heart become like flax that is burned with fire. Strengthen me to share the good news of Your indwelling power with others, especially those those snared by lust and addictions.

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Another Identity Chapter

I’d have to confess, this was a hard chapter to feel fed from. I mean, reading all of the dysfunction, and unhealth, and outright bondage contained in Judges 9…where is food in that?

But to me, I’m struck by the fact that I’m a child of Royalty, a daughter of the King. And if I can rest in that, be secure in that, I won’t go about behaving as a child in bondage (verse 18).

You’ll notice the dysfunction in Abimelech in more areas than just his murder. He manipulated his brothers, he was determined to get his way, had insufferable sibling rivalry, had someone else do his dirty work, hired worthless and reckless men, wanted to be “king” (notice it wasn’t merely a “judge”) of everyone, and everything he involved himself in seems to have ended in destruction, one way or another…including his suicidal death. Trying to manipulate even the way he died.

He was the son of bondage. And he remained in that bondage until the end.

Yet he was confronted with a turning point. It is as if his brother Jotham laid before him the right road to chose (yeah for Jotham to have the courage to even face the man who killed his 68 brothers). Notice how forward and forthright and thoughtful Jotham’s confrontation with Abimelech was. It seems so healthy, so bold.

It seems Jotham took after his liberating father, Gideon, while Abimelech continued in bondage.

And then just one last thought…it is interesting that in this chapter of chaos, evil, injustice and outright brutality, that the writer makes it clear, that God was still in charge. He isn’t wringing His hands in fear that Abimelech might thwart His ways. Everything is being worked out according to Love’s goodness!

Oh Father, I desire to take after You and live in Your liberating love. Help me to be as bold as Jotham and make amends where ever there is a need. And thank You for being so faithful to visit with me even through hard chapters like today’s.