My daughter has one of those GPS thingys… Global Positioning Systems… that tells you how to get from point A to point B. Sometimes it doesn’t take the usual route that I’ve gone for the past several years from point A to point B, and that has given me a fresh look at where I live. I never knew you could drive down Palestine Road and get to Jackson Landing with no traffic. Or take Highway 11 instead of the Interstate and shave off 15 minutes. Fascinating that it will tell you the quickest route or shortest route, all you have to do is plug it in and then type in where you want to go.
Another fascinating thing is that it won’t yell and scream at you if you miss a turn. It says, “Recalculating.” Then in a few seconds, it will tell you to “Turn right at the next intersection in 400 meters…” If you miss that turn, “Recalculating…” How refreshing. It will continue to recalculate your position and give you directions back to where you need to go, even if you’ve missed the mark by a wide margin. Always patient, never excited, never yelling or waving the map around pointing to an indistinct spot on the map saying, “You missed the exit! We’ll be another hour before we get there!” Then adding a few more “Harumphs!” just to let you know that you are an incompetent driver.
Last week we talked about how to know God’s personal will for our lives. We don’t always follow the perfect route that God has laid out for us. If we did, we’d most likely have fewer bloody knees and noses because we’d fall down less often, I’m sure. However, God, in His perfect foreknowledge of us and His design of the perfect works we are to do in our Christian walk, prepared for those moments for “Recalculating.”
Think about Sampson, called by God to judge Israel. He was born to an infertile couple, although the Bible calls The Wife barren. She is not named, however the father is Manoah of the Tribe of Dan. The Angel of the LORD came to The Wife and told her she would bare a son and he was to be dedicated to the LORD, be a Nazarite (someone who makes a vow to God and who does not drink strong drink, never cuts his hair until the vow is complete which could be for life or for a pre-set time) most likely for life as God asked for him to be dedicated from the womb.
Compare Sampson with Samuel. The only thing similar between the two was they were both named Sam. Samuel did as the LORD bade him, followed the Torah, and he was a great Judge of Israel. Sampson, on the other hand was not so dedicated to the LORD.
Sampson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman of the daughters of the Philistines. His dad said, “Is there no one of our people that you would like to marry? Must you go to another nation to claim a wife?” God had forbidden Israel to marry women from seven surrounding nations, but the Philistines were not one of the nations God had forbidden. Technically speaking, to marry one of them was not a sin, but they were uncircumcised, and they were foreign. Sampson’s choice of a bride was seriously weak. In fact, his choice in women was poor to say the least, and he could not see the deceit of his choices for what it was. God, however, took Sampson’s poor choice and used it to work against the wickedness of the Philistines. God destroyed the power of this people through one man and his weaknesses rather than through an army just as He used one small boy and a stone to destroy a Philistine giant.
So off Sampson’s father goes and procures this woman that Sampson must have for a wife. At the wedding feast, he sets a riddle for the guests along with a bet. They puzzled over the riddle for three days then finally threatened the wife to find out the answer upon pain of death of her and her father if she did not. Instead of telling her husband of their treachery, she enticed Sampson to tell her the answer. This set of a chain of events that lead to the killing of 30 Philistines, then the torching of the ripened wheat fields plus olive groves and vineyards. This led to the killing of 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. The oppression of Israel by the Philistines was lifted and Israel was at peace for about twenty years.
In our weakness is God’s strength. No more is that evident than when Sampson fell in love with Delilah. His weakness for Philistine women with terrible ethics and no loyalty for their husband ends with his death and the destruction of the temple to the Philistines’ demon god, Dagon. One must wonder that if he could slay 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey, what kind of destruction could he have wreaked if he had not fallen for Delilah. How much greater would God’s glory have been if Sampson had been obedient to the calling of the LORD?
The Dagon idol landed on its face broken to pieces which did bring God glory. It would be almost laughable, if the consequence of Sampson’s sin wasn’t so tragic.
In Judges 16:20, he did not even know the LORD had departed from him. How incredibly sad. One has to wonder how many Christians today disobey the LORD and give into all kinds of temptations of the flesh and either lose their life as Sampson did, or suffer all kinds of consequences because of their sin? And never knowing how much richer their life would be if only their relationship with the LORD was strong and deep, not pockmarked with disobedience and rebellion. God “recalculated” after Sampson’s sin and His purpose was served with the destruction of Dagon’s Temple and all those within its walls, including Sampson, but the tragic ending may not have been, except for the disobedience.
Make sure your GPS -- God Positioning System -- is plugged in before you start your day. Listen for that still small voice and follow the instructions. It can definitely keep you on track.