RAF: It is amazing in this book to see how long the People of God can walk in obstinance before they feel the pain of their fall and cry for recovery. Over and over. – Heavenly Father, give me a heart that repents at the drop of a dime. Do not let me grow so hard and cold that long times pass before I feel the woeful state of my soul and fly back to you.
2 – “Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.”” (Judges 13:4-5, ESV)
RAF: If what a mother may take in physically has an impact on the child, how much more what is taken in spiritually. Is the mother one who takes in worry, doubt, faithlessness, little of God’s Word, little of His grace, mercy, goodness or glory? What are we passing on to our children?
3 – “And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”” (Judges 13:12-14, ESV)
RAF: More important than any specialized treatment based upon his “mission” was a life of simple obedience to what God had commanded. Ours is not to fret over what God hasn’t revealed, but to pay attention to what He has.
4 – “Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.” But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”” (Judges 14:2-3, ESV)
RAF: It is often a grave mistake of parents to reason with their children over issues of sin, rather than to demonstrate their own commitment to what God has said. In the end, the one with the stronger resolve will win irrespective of what we know to be God’s will.
5 – “His father and mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.” (Judges 14:4, ESV)
RAF: God is often at work even in the passions of men. That is not an excuse not to do right, but a gracious consolation in retrospect.
6 – “Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.” (Judges 14:6, ESV)
RAF: According to Numb. 6 & Lev. 11, Samson’s touching of the dead carcass should have made him unclean. Made unclean, he would have been required to shave his head – rendering him weak and out of service for a season. This is the first of a series of such defilements – which will ultimately result in God taking drastic measures to humble him and shave his head in obedience.
7 – “He scraped it out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. And he came to his father and mother and gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion.” (Judges 14:9, ESV)
RAF: This is his second defilement, and he defiled his parents as well. No action is taken by him. God is patient.
8 – “And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father’s house.” (Judges 14:19, ESV)
RAF: This is now his third defilement.
9 – “And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam.” (Judges 15:8, ESV)
RAF: Samson’s fourth defilement. He still refuses to humble himself before God, to be weak and out of the line to serve until he is restored.
10 – “And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men.” (Judges 15:15, ESV)
RAF: We can confuse God’s using us to fulfill His purposes, with our being in right standing with Him. This is now Samson’s fifth defilement. Granted, he was defiled in the Lord’s service, nevertheless each of these incidents would call for a time set aside. This, he remains unwilling to do. God will have to do it for him.
11 – “And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore; it is at Lehi to this day. And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.” (Judges 15:18-20, ESV)
RAF: He is still God’s man. God is still patient with him. God still blesses him. God does not abandon him. Samson is not yet right. There is this very serious issue still needing resolved. But see how patient, kind and faithful our God is to His servants. Even in the face of very serious errors. This goes on for 20 years without a corrective.
12 – “ Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her.” (Judges 16:1, ESV)
RAF: His 6th defilement.
13 – “Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.”” (Judges 16:13, ESV)
RAF: His words are telling. He refused to be weak “like any other man.” He saw himself as having an elite status. Had he been shaving his head at each defilement, he would have regularly been owning the reality that he really was just like every other man, just used by God in this way. Spiritual gifts are not a necessary mark of spirituality.
14 – “She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him.” (Judges 16:19, ESV)
RAF: When we will not willingly humble ourselves before the Lord, He may well employ our enemies to do it.
15 – “But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” (Judges 16:20c, ESV)
RAF: Can there be any sadder words in all of Scripture?
16 – “But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.” (Judges 16:22, ESV)
RAF: Can there be any more grace-filled words in all of Scripture?
17 – “ There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. And he said to his mother, “The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, “Blessed be my son by the Lord.” And he restored the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother. And his mother said, “I dedicate the silver to the Lord from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you.”” (Judges 17:1-3, ESV)
RAF: Nothing more reveals the corruption of a society than the rewarding of evil, especially in the home.
18 – “And the man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and household gods, and ordained one of his sons, who became his priest.” (Judges 17:5, ESV)
RAF: The second great sign of a depraved society is the complete privatizing of religion. Each man makes up his own. It becomes completely subjective.
19 – “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6, ESV)
RAF: The third great sign of a bankrupt society is that Law no longer holds any authority. Each man determines for himself right and wrong. There is no objective standard. Man is the Law- giver. Man is God.
20 – “Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest.”” (Judges 17:13, ESV)
RAF: The fourth great sign: A superstitious approach to God. Having this Levite was akin to having a good luck charm for Micah.
21 – “And he said to them, “This is how Micah dealt with me: he has hired me, and I have become his priest.”” (Judges 18:4, ESV)
RAF: The fifth great sign: A purely professional and mercenary clergy. Performing as their employers dictate. See: vss. 18-20.
22 – “Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and how they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone.” (Judges 18:7, ESV)
RAF: The sixth great sign: Using the name of God to justify preying upon the innocent and unsuspecting.
23 – All of chapter 19.
RAF: The seventh great sign: A shocking, public and unimaginable brutality.
24 – “And the leaders of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house against me by night. They meant to kill me, and they violated my concubine, and she is dead. So I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel, for they have committed abomination and outrage in Israel. Behold, you people of Israel, all of you, give your advice and counsel here.”” (Judges 20:5-7, ESV)
RAF: The eighth great sign: A total lack of personal responsibility. Note how the Levite omits anything of his own contributing behavior, and ow he gave her up to these men to save his own spineless neck.
25 – “So the people of Israel came near against the people of Benjamin the second day. And Benjamin went against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed 18,000 men of the people of Israel. All these were men who drew the sword. Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to Bethel and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. And the people of Israel inquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, ministered before it in those days), saying, “Shall we go out once more to battle against our brothers, the people of Benjamin, or shall we cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand.”” (Judges 20:24-28, ESV)
RAF: When corruption is this deep, pervasive and longstanding, it is not turned in a night. Even doing what is right in response will be met with little results at first. These are not light matters.
26 – “Now Benjamin had begun to strike and kill about thirty men of Israel.” (Judges 20:39, ESV)
RAF: Fighting evil on this level is a costly proposition. Good men will have to give their all.
27 – “And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”” (1 Samuel 1:8, ESV)
RAF: How easily our miseries can blind our eyes to our blessings.