May 11, 2023
“Then 3,000 men of Judah went to the cave at the rock of Etam, and they asked Samson, 'Don’t you realize that the Philistines rule over us? What have you done to us?'”
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“Then 3,000 men of Judah went to the cave at the rock of Etam, and they asked Samson, ‘Don’t you realize that the Philistines rule over us? What have you done to us?’ ‘I have done to them what they did to me,’ he answered.” Judges 15:11 (HCSB)
The men of Judah blurt out their mission; they have come to bind Samson and turn him over to the Philistines. Oddly enough, Samson offers no resistance, which apparently Judah expected, or they wouldn’t have sent out so many men. He only extracts an oath from them that they will not kill him themselves; they willingly accept this condition. No reader can miss the irony of their reply: Oh, Samson, we don’t want to kill you; we only want to bind you and give you over the Philistines, so they can kill you! Thanks.
Judah, (the tribe that had formerly waded into battle after battle) had become a collection of spineless wimps. They regarded the Philistines as their rulers and Samson as their enemy. In that sense, they remind me of many people in the “church” today. It seems Christians are increasingly afraid of offending non-believers with the gospel than they are concerned with offending God for not standing up and proclaiming His Word. The men of Judah didn’t even want to be the Lord’s “free people”; they didn’t even see that as a possibility. Are you willing to stand and be counted among His people today?
It is always a dark day in the history of God’s people when they are content to allow His enemies to control them. Something is wrong with us when we no longer despise our true enemies. Friendship with the world offends God. (Romans 8:7)
In the wake of our initial faithlessness, the Lord declared He was imposing “enmity” between the Serpent’s seed and the woman’s seed (Genesis 3:15). This divisiveness, this “hostility,” came from the Lord. He was not going to allow even His fallen creatures (Adam and Eve) to cuddle up in the bosom of evil. The Maker of heaven and earth refused to walk away from Eden, shrugging His shoulders and muttering, “You win some, and you lose some.” No, He is the stubborn God who will set all creation on fire with holy war in order to have a seed and a people for Himself. Jesus extends the same promise to never leave or forsake His followers as well.
That’s why redemption is an act of violence; that’s why Jesus came on a mission of violent destruction (1 John 3:8). That’s why lovers of God are commanded to “hate” evil (Psalm 97:10) and why compilers of Psalms did not edit out verses 19-22 from Psalm 139.
Whether it is the evil and sin within us or some form of it outside us, God does not call us to negotiate with sin and evil. That’s why we call it “spiritual WARFARE.” We are to wage war on sin and to maintain a holy hatred towards it in all its various forms. We are near hopeless when we begin to adopt Judah’s slogan: It has always been this way – how can we expect to change anything?
If we are truly a generation desperate for “change,” then we must fight for it!
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©Steve Wiggins 2021