I hope everyone had a merry CHRISTmas and a happy New Year! If you have resolutions, I hope you keep them! Resolutions just are not my things and as an active gym-goer year round it is pretty frustrating when the gym is packed in the morning and you don’t have access to the equipment you normally use but its okay! Resolutions are great and it is awesome for people to put in the effort…even if the amount of people die out by the end of the month. Either way, whether you purposefully make resolutions or subconsciously make an effort – good luck! Just remember one of the best resolutions out there is to actively pursue growing in your relationship with God!
Unfortunately, the book of Judges will be getting more and more gruesome until the end at this point. There is a reason that many kids stop learning about the book of Judges with Samson in Sunday school and it will be evident throughout my posts! Samson had already been fooled by his wife and he will be fooled once again by a new woman named Delilah. As I wrote in my previous post, Samson was impulsive and we see how much more impulsive he remains until his death. The Philistines went to Samson’s new love Delilah and asked her to find out to take down Samson and in return she would get money. Delilah asks Samson multiple times where his strength lies and multiple times Samson lies to her about what is the best way to take away his strength. Each time the Philistines would come and attempt to capture Samson in the way that he told Delilah would make him weak, and it failed every time. Delilah then said that she was hurt that Samson had lied to her and mocked her for he supposedly loved her. She is using seduction and pulling Samson’s heartstrings for sure. Samson then shares the way to bring him down – which is to break his Nazirite vow. He must have his hair cut. Remember this is the only part of the Nazirite vow he had kept up to at this point – he had eaten unclean food. Delilah shared the news with the Philistines and then cut his hair while he was sleeping. On top of losing his hair, he also lost his eyes (YUCK). The LORD had left him and could not give him the Spirit to attack and defend himself. There is an important verse at the end of this portion of this chapter and it said, ”But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved,” Judges 16:22. God was still preparing to use Samson for another plan! The Philistines were rejoiced to have Samson imprisoned and decided they wanted to use him as an entertainer – or like a joker. Samson asked the guards of him to allow him to stand and touch the pillars that held up the building he was in with the Philistines. All of the lords of the Philistines were there so it would be like having all of the senators, governors, representatives, Cabinet, president and such under one building – which we wont ever do in the USA. Samson began to speak to God begging for His help to take down the pillars and kill the 3,000 men and women in this building. Samson was able to pull the pillars down and kill all in the building, including himself. He had killed more Philistines at this one point than he had in the rest of his life. Samson had ruled Israel for 20 years and brought down the Philistines even if it did not happen until his last day on Earth.
Here is where we begin to get more and more gruesome. So in chapter 17 we flash to a boy named Micah that had stolen money from his mother and she then cursed whoever took her money and it made Micah nervous so he confessed that he was the thief. She then took the money her son had returned and made it into an idol – a statue. Micah then made a shrine and ordained one of his sons to be the priest. He was creating his own god and lifestyle really. If we even talk about making one’s own life their own god, this is a literal example. Then there is another man that is a Levite that is leaving Bethlehem and looking for somewhere to sojourn. Micah finds this Levite and tells him to be a priest for him and he will provide him with silver and ornate clothing. Levites were chosen to be the priests for the Israelites from the times of Moses, so Micah felt that his god and religion was now official since he had a Levite as a priest! It is really screwed up to say the least. Micah created a religion and a Levite that was a man of Judah went along with it…this just shows you the disarray of the Israelites at this time.
Chapter 18 we now flip to the tribe of Dan that was wanting to gain more territory and expand their inheritance and while pursuing this territory they come across Micah and the Levite priest in the country of Ephraim which is north of Dan and Benjamin. The Levite tells the men of Dan that God is watching over them throughout their journey to gain more land. The Danites continue on their journey and find a rather peaceful group of people known as the people of Laish for they were not expecting of anyone coming after their territory. 600 men of Dan decide to pursue this territory and they stop by Micah’s house once again and they stole all of the silver and treasures that Micah had made within his home and within his “religion.” The Levite was actually asked to join them for they wanted a priest – now this is the second twisted instance of people using this Levite to make it “okay” with God for he is allowed to be a priest. Micah was angry but was also a coward and did not want to obviously confront the 600 men to return his treasures and priest for that matter. The people of Dan capture the land and then put up the idols that had belonged to Micah! It was a circle of ungodly behavior and creation of a false god in order to pursue what they ultimately wanted…
The last chapters will be in my next post and it is going to be a violent one.