Judges 14, Acts 18, Jeremiah 27, Mark 13
 
 

Judges 14:1-4
I have mixed emotions when I read of Samson's life.  I am envious of Manoah and his wife for their experience of spending time with the "angel of the LORD."  What a blessing to spend time with the pre-incarnate Jesus!  But I also dread the difficult period to come for Manoah and his wife.  What wonders the LORD worked in this family but how painful life must have been for Samson's parents as he became a young man. 
 
The events of Samson's life are impossible to understand without trusting the sovereign will of a good and gracious God.  The angel of the LORD promised Manoah's wife a son who "shall begin to save Israel."  Then Samson's parents saw, spoke with, and made an offering to the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ (Judges 13:11-22).  Starting in Judges 13:25, the Spirit of the LORD becomes very active in Samson's life.  Judges 14:6, 19, 15:14-15 give three examples of the "spirit of the LORD" rushing upon Samson.  The first time Samson killed a lion with his bare hands.  Samson killed thirty men from Ashkelon for their clothes the second time this occurred.  The last time the "Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him" Samson killed 1,000 men with the jaw bone of a donkey.   To me, the most complex events in Samson's life arise because of his desire for a Philistine woman (Judges 14:1-3, 16:1, 4).  For an Israelite to marry a foreigner was against God's instruction in Deuteronomy 7:3.  Yet, Judges 14:4 tells us this desire of Samson's is from the LORD.  In Judges 15:18-20 it is evident Samson found favor with God.  Samson, like Jephthah, is acknowledged for his faith in Hebrews 11:32. 
 
LORD, the One who works wonders, I confess Your ways are not mine.  Your thoughts are not mine either.   You are the only One who can work all things together for good to those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.  As I read of Samson's life, I know why Jesus said: "Judge not lest you be judged."  Because if I lived in Samson's day, I fear I would have judged him differently than You.  Please teach me to reserve my judgments and trust Your ways and thoughts.
 
Acts 18:4
When I am speaking to unbelievers, how do I communicate?  Do I reason with them as Paul did?  What does it mean to reason with someone? 
 
In Isaiah 1:18 the LORD of hosts, says "Come now, let us reason together."  In the previous seventeen verses, the LORD has brought a charge of godlessness against Israel.  After asking the people to come reason with Him, the LORD says "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool."  The LORD did not "sugar coat" Israel's sin; He was blunt in His assessment, but at the same time He spoke of forgiveness.  It would seem, from this example, a significant part of "reasoning together" is speaking the truth in love.  
 
The truth was the Israelites stood condemned before God, but He was offering forgiveness based upon His love.  In Isaiah 1:19-20, the LORD says "If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword."  Reasoning together/speaking the truth in love requires me to present both options. 
 
Jesus, I know Paul said I have Your mind in 1 Corinthians 2:16.  Please teach me to use Your mind instead of mine.  I desire to reason with people about the truth of who You are and what You have done and are doing.  Holy Spirit, please do everything You desire within me to cause me to speak Your truth in love faithfully. 

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