Bible Readings for July 30th

Judges 13 | Acts 17 | Jeremiah 26 | Mark 12

In Judges 13, we read the beginning of the story of one of the more prominent figures in the book of Judges: Samson. Most importantly, the story of Samson foreshadows the story of Jesus in significant ways—very similar to how the story of Joseph foreshadows the story of Christ.1 Samson, however, is not a righteous figure as Joseph was but rather a deeply flawed person whose failures, more than his successes, cast light on Christ’s glory. In Judges 13, we see the first of two major hints about the forthcoming story of Jesus.

First, we read that Samson was born miraculously to a barren woman, according to the prophecy of a heavenly messenger. While the barren women of the Bible were often looked down upon in their societies, God loved them and used them uniquely to demonstrate his power by opening their closed wombs. And just as God had opened the wombs of Sarah (Gen. 21:1), Rebekah (Gen. 25:21), and Rachel (Gen. 30:22), so God also opens the womb of the wife of Manoah here in Judges 13.

Second, we read that Samson was set apart from the beginning as a Nazirite to God. The laws concerning Nazirites were given in Numbers 6, describing the only way that non-priestly Israelites could become holy before Yahweh. Samson would be set apart for the duration of his life, requiring him to avoid touching anything unclean and to refrain from cutting his hair for as long as he lived. As we will see, Samson did not keep this vow well; however, the Spirit of God was upon him from when he was young, stirring him toward the purpose that God had set him apart to accomplish (Judg. 13:24–25).

And in these two elements of Samson’s story, we see glimmers of the story of Jesus. Ultimately, God would demonstrate his power most fully not merely by opening the womb of a barren woman but by opening the womb of a virgin who had never known a man sexually at all (Luke 1:34). More than that, Jesus was also set apart like Samson, although not through a Nazirite vow.2 Instead, Jesus was publicly set apart as the beloved Son of the Father at his baptism. At that point, the Spirit of God came upon him to anoint him for the ministry that God had prepared for him (Matt. 2:16).

Through such an imperfect man like Samson, God not only saved his people Israel in the short term but also laid the foundations for the way he would save his people eternally through his Son. Tomorrow we will continue to see how God raised up a servant like Samson to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus.

1 See meditations for Genesis 37–50.

2 Jesus was a Nazarene (Matt. 2:23)—that is, he lived in the city of Nazareth—not a Nazirite.

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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