Bible Readings for August 1st

Judges 15 | Acts 19 | Jeremiah 28 | Mark 14

The last two days, we have been meditating on the ways the life of Samson foreshadows the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. We will return to that theme tomorrow, but for today, we should spend some time thinking about the tragedy of Samson’s life. Certainly, God accomplished his plans through Samson, but Samson stands as a warning not to waste the gifts God has given to us, since God gives us gifts for his purposes, not for ours.

In Judges 15, we find Samson doing what Samson does throughout his entire life—recklessly attacking the Philistines in whatever way is right in his own eyes. To be clear, the problem with attacking the Philistines or burning their fields is not Samson’s violence. God raised Samson up as a judge in Israel for just that purpose—to defeat the Philistines in order to give peace to God’s people. The problem, rather, is with the way that Samson goes about it, seeking vengeance only in retaliation for his own, personal vendettas.

We see a major clue that Samson is fulfilling his role as judge in the wrong way in Judges 14:3, when Samson was originally asking for his parents to get him the Philistine woman as a wife. There, he said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.” This phrase, “right in my [own] eyes,” is the cause of all Israel’s trouble in the book of Judges. Right after the death of Samson at the end of Judges 16, we read this summary in Judges 17:6: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Samson did what everyone else in Israel did by seeking to do what was right in his own eyes, not what was right in Yahweh’s eyes.

And yet, Yahweh still used Samson, and used him mightily. But even though Yahweh can use our total rebellion against him for his own purposes and glory does not mean that we are justified in our rebellion. Furthermore, Samson’s sin directly caused needless suffering in his life. God used him, but Samson suffered because of his sin.

The lesson we learn from Samson, then, is that God uses even the worst, most disobedient people for his purposes in building Christ’s kingdom on this earth. Nevertheless, when we disobey God, we needlessly bring suffering upon ourselves. Furthermore, we should recognize that not everyone has the opportunity to repent as Samson did. If you find yourself seeking to do what is right in your own eyes, repent before it is too late.

Today, seek to do what is right in God’s eyes, not your own. Repent, believe the gospel, and seek to obey Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit wherever he leads you—not only for Christ’s glory, but also for your good.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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