Raising Up Deliverers – Judges 16:1-16 – Week 14 – Rob Covell

Raising Up Deliverers

Judges 16:1-16

Week 14

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this Session, we will begin the last series of events in Samson’s life that ultimately end in his death and the death of approximately 3000 Philistines. Samson’s life is tragic in the sense that the he was called to lead all of Israel and free them from the oppression of the Philistines. Unfortunately, his compromises with sin eventually limited his ability to give God glory in his life.

On the positive side, Samson’s life teaches us that although Samson did not walk or serve the LORD in fullness, the LORD was patient, kind, graceful and merciful to this disobedient son, and gained as much glory for Himself, despite Samson’s weaknesses and poor choices. The LORD was committed to Samson’s destiny as a Deliverer and related to him based on his calling.

As we come to end of this narrative, we see tragedy and loss, and we see grace and glory. As the Apostle said to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 10:11- These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.

As we seek the LORD in the Scriptures, we have the opportunity to be taught by the Holy Spirit, to know His heart about a matter and gain wisdom for life so we do not error. We should never discount the power of the Scriptures, as led by the Holy Spirit as guide for our lives.

Judges 16:1

a) The narrative of Samson’s life is characterized by compromise in the areas of sexual purity and lust. Notice that the verse says that Samson “saw” a prostitute. His attraction to the strange woman was an indulgence of the flesh and outright disobedience to God. 1 Corinthians 6:16 – Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”

b) A pattern of consistent sin in our lives will cause us to compartmentalize our lives. In the example of Samson, he was outwardly a Nazirite with all of the outward appearances of a person who is set apart for God, while at the same time living a secret life that stands opposed to his Nazirite identity. Luke 6:46 – “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Jesus teaches that He has claim to our whole lives, because we have been bought with a price.

Judges 16:2-3

a) Gaza means “the strong” and was supposed to be part of Judah’s land promise in Joshua 15. Gaza is located on the Mediterranean Sea and was an important economic center of the ancient world. It was also the place where Samson died as we will see as the narrative progresses.

b) We could spiritualize the text and see that a pattern of compromise will lead to a stronghold that will eventually take your steal your strength, your vision and your life.

c) The people of Gaza plotted to kill Samson and enigmatic of the assignment of the devil and his demons to kill, steal and destroy God’s people.

d) Notice the mercy and grace of God by allowing Samson to escape and leave the city of Gaza exposed. In ancient cities, gates were the defensive measure of a city, and whoever possessed the gates of a city, possessed the city. We can see a consistent pattern of the LORD showing Samson mercy and grace and making opportunity after opportunity to repent and to get right. Romans 2:4 – Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Judges 16:4

a) Verse 4 introduces us to the final chapter of Samson’s life and instead of the fullness of his destiny coming into view, the fullness of his compromises with sexual sin becomes manifest.

b) Valley of Sorek – “torrent of choice vines” – as a Nazirite, Samson was forbidden to eat grapes, eat their seeds, eat their skins, drink wine or any other alcoholic drink. The Valley of Sorek was not the type of place where Samson should have been seeking. Notice that Samson gets in the most trouble when he is in the territory that is controlled by the enemy and is alone in every case.

c) Delilah – “feeble” – Delilah becomes the one who will make the strong “feeble” and overcomes Samson by deception and seduction.

Judges 16:5

a) The Philistine rulers make an accord with Delilah to “lure/seduce” Samson so that they might be able to overcome him. All sin begins with a lie that seduces people and causes pain.

b) This is a story of 2 loves. Samson loved the woman who was not part of his destiny and Delilah loved money. How many Christians fall in love with those who are not part of their God story and end up hurt? 1,100 pieces of silver is estimated at 28 pounds of precious metal. Today it is the equivalent of approximately $6,800.

c) It is a strategy of the enemy to subdue God’s people so that they are no longer effective in their calling and destiny.

Judges 16:6-8

a) Samson must have been completely under the influence of this Delilah’s strong personality, deception and control. So much that she directly asked the source of His power. It is unfortunate that Samson accomplished most of his supernatural acts of strength and power alone, because he could have made God famous and given the LORD the glory among the Israelites. b) Notice the “7” symbolism in the text. 7 the number of completion, perfection, wholeness, giving Delilah the indication that the 7 fresh bowstrings were the answer. In the context of the culture, the Philistines pantheistic idolaters. Delilah was looking for a charm, spell, or esoteric secret source of Samson’s power. Not a personal relationship with God.

Judges 16:9-14

a) Notice that each of the 3 attempts at discovering the source of Samson’s power, the place where Samson is tied is closer to the answer. He is first tied 2 times at the hands and the last time as the seven braids of his hair.

b) The relationship between Delilah and Samson was certainly a toxic cycle. It was dance of sexual immorality and deception. This is an Old Covenant lesson on a New Covenant reality. Colossians 3:5 – Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Judges 16:15-16 a) Delilah obviously did not love Samson at all and was motivated by the prospect of being paid the reward for betraying him.

b) Just as Samson gave into the nagging of his first wife, he yields to the nagging of this proto-Jezebel. Hebrew – nagging – tsuwq – to constrain, press, bring into straits, straighten, oppress, to compress.

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Raising Up Deliverers – Judges 15:11-20 – Week 13 – Rob Covell

Raising Up Deliverers

Judges 15:12-20

Week 13

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this Session, we will complete Judges chapter 15 and study verses 12-20. As we mentioned in the last Session, Judges 15 is divided into 2 sections. The first part of Judges 15, takes us to the crescendo of Samson’s compromises and illustrates to us that having a history of small compromises and a pattern of consistent disobedience will limit our ability to fulfill our call and destiny, and will result in death. As Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”; we can see that this contrast between living a life aligned with the Lord will bring life, and living aligned with the enemy will bring death. In Samson’s narrative, his sin brought the death of his wife, her father, and many others as Samson sought revenge from the Philistines.

Eventually a pattern of compromise and disobedience will lead us to the place where we are isolated from God and from His people, as illustrated by Samson ending up at the cave in the rock of Etam (lair of wild beasts). It is at this place where Judges 15 divides, and the LORD finds Samson and turns the narrative into a glory a story.

This contrast that is drawn in Judges 15 helps us see the redemptive nature of the LORD, and highlights His commitment to His children to give them every opportunity to correct the direction of their lives when they are off track. We can see throughout the book of Judges that the LORD God will bring the most amount of glory for His Name, even in the midst of our immaturity, poor choices and sins.

We also see that from Samson’s narrative that our prophetic destines are conditional, in that they are limited by our ability to obey God and co-labor with Him. See 1 Timothy 4:14 – Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

Samson’s compromises limited the fullness of his destiny. The LORD still received glory through Samson’s life, but in way that fell far below the prophecies that were declared over him in Judges 13:3-5.

Judges 15:12

a) The LORD re-enters the narrative beginning in verse 11, as the men of Judah find themselves out of identity and oppressed by the enemy, the Philistines. According to the word of God, the Israelites would never have anyone ruling over them, except in the place of disobedience to the LORD. At this point the LORD is going to intervene through Samson and teach them identity and showcase His power through Samson, so that Judah may come back to faith.

b) Judah is in the place of fearing the Philistines, so they go to Samson to tie him up and hand him over to their enemies. Fear of the enemy robs us of faith, robs us of identity and keeps us from living a powerful life in God. 2 Timothy 1:7- For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

c) Samson asks them to only arrest him and not kill him and bring his body to the Philistines as the bounty price.

Judges 15:13

a) The men of Judah agree with Samson’s request and arrest him so that they can hand him over to the Philistines. Notice that they tied him up with 2 new ropes; this is internal evidence in the text that Samson had a reputation for being supernaturally strong.

Judges 15:14

a) Imagine the scene as thousands of Philistines run at Samson in rage. It would not do any violence to the text to imagine thousands of Philistines running toward Samson, the men of Judah retreating and running away from Samson, and Samson standing alone between them. This is a faith or fear moment!

b) “The Spirit of the LORD”, comes on Samson in power because the LORD is ready to bring Judah back to faith and identity. Hebrew – “came powerfully” – tsä·lakh’ – to rush, to make prosper, to success, to show or experience prosperity.

c) Notice the grace of God in the text. We see the following truths in this narrative. 1 – The LORD will work providentially in our lives, behind the backdrop of life and work all things for our good. 2 – The LORD is always willing to re-engage us, even when we have wandered far from Him. 3 – God will bring the most amount of glory for His Name, even in the midst of our immaturity, poor choices and sins. 4 – Our breakthroughs are not only for us, but for others as an invitation to enter into the same reality of experience with God.

d) The Holy Spirit empowered Samson to do the impossible.

e) Lehi means “hill”. In this we can see the symbolism that God is found in the high places and in the high places we the advantage over the enemy. Ephesians 2:6 – And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Judges 15:15

a) By the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Samson finds a jawbone of donkey and strikes down 1000 of his enemies. We should keep in mind that in Hebrew culture 1000 denotes an infinite number, or an immeasurable amount, and not a literal 1000.

b) Samson, using a jawbone of a donkey as a weapon teaches the following: 1 – God can use anything at any time and bring the greatest amount of glory out that which is dead and inglorious. 2 – The resources available may seem inadequate, but with the Holy Spirit breathing on them, they can accomplish more than we can imagine.

Judges 15:16-17

a) The footnote in the NIV is a more accurate translation than the presentation of the text in verse 16. This verse more accurately reads: “With the jawbone of a donkey, Heaps upon heaps (2 heaps), With the jawbone of a donkey I have killed (smitten) a thousand men.” NASB.

b) Samson made a declaration of the breakthrough that the LORD gave him. Notice that Lehi became Ramath Lehi (jawbone hill), as lasting memorial to remind the Israelites of the power of God and His ability to save them from their enemies, and that one Spirit-filled person conquered an entire army.

Judges 15:18-19

a) Being in the center of God’s will for our lives opens up the opportunity for the miraculous to operate. Samson had just accomplished a Spirit led defeat of an entire army, and the LORD responded to his cry for water by miraculously opening a spring.

b) Hakkore – callers spring – an eternal reminder to the Israelites that the LORD is faithful and good.

c) We also see another example of how our breakthroughs and favor from God are not only for us, but for others as well.

d) We can spiritualize the text and tie it to John 7:38 – “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” We can see the symbolism of the Lord filling the hollow place in our lives with the Holy Spirit and out of would flow the living water of the Spirit of God so that others around would be refreshed by the overflow.

Judges 15:20

a) Samson judged/led Israel for 20 years. As we begin to conclude Samson’s narrative, we should note that Samson never fulfilled his prophetic destiny in the fullness that was prophesied in Judges 13:4-5. The only portion of Samson’s life that glorified God was this section in Judges 15:10-20. While this is tragic, and stands as lesson for us, God still relates to Samson based on his destiny. See Hebrews 11:32-34 – And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

b) 20 is the number of waiting in the Scriptures and the number of breakthrough. Jacob served Laban for 20 years to be free from Laban’s control (Genesis 31:3841) and in Judges 4-5, Deborah delivers Israel from the oppression of King Jabin.

Raising Up Deliverers – Judges 15:1-11 – Week 12 – Rob Covell

Raising Up Deliverers

Judges 15:1-11

Week 12

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this Session, we will begin Judges 15. The narrative of Samson’s life begins to pick up the pace and Chapter 15 draws a contrast between the fruit of Samson’s compromises and God’s grace and ability to re-align Samson back into His will. The contrast that is drawn in Judges 15 helps us see the redemptive nature of the LORD, and highlights His commitment to His children to give them every opportunity to correct the direction of their lives when they are off track. We can see throughout the book of Judges that the LORD God will bring the most amount of glory for His Name, even in the midst of our immaturity, poor choices and sins.

We also see that from Samson’s narrative that our prophetic destines are conditional, in that they are limited by our ability to obey God and co-labor with Him. Samson’s compromises limited the fullness of his destiny. The LORD still received glory through Samson’s life, but in way that fell far below the prophecies that were declared over him in Judges 13:3-5.

Judges 15:1

a) The time of the wheat harvest would have been around the feast of Pentecost, this would be late spring or early summer. See Exodus 23:16.

b) The father of the bride gave Samson’s wife to a companion as an effort to keep the honor of his family intact. Samson had essentially abandoned his wife, and middle east culture is an honor versus shame based social construct.

c) Throughout this narrative, we see consistently observe Samson reaping the fruit of his compromises. Our daily decisions have a profound effect on our futures. 1 Peter 2:11 – Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.

Judges 15:2

a) The woman’s father tries to soften the blow to Samson’s pride by offering the younger sister as a bride to Samson. It is important that we see this narrative in the context of the culture, so we understand the motivation of the father protecting his family’s honor.

b) This season of Samson’s life is messy and completely out of order. We should note that these issues in his life originated in his heart. Proverbs 4:23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Judges 15:3

a) No good will ever come from revenge and reciprocity. No human ever has the right to get even with others. Many tragedies and the death of innocents originated in revenge. Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”
says the Lord.

b) In Matthew 5:38-39, Jesus removes our right for revenge and introduces us to the path of freedom from revenge by teaching us to trust in God. We have true freedom, when the actions of others do not determine the condition of our hearts or set the course of lives. It is perhaps the most difficult thing to do is forgive people who have hurt us, give up the right of revenge and reciprocity, and trust the Lord to work all things for His glory in our lives.

Judges 15:4-5

a) We should note that the English translators used the word foxes. The Hebrew, shuw`al, means “jackals”. In ancient Israel, there were masses of packs of wild dogs that roamed the country side in packs numbering up to 200. The Hebrew text does not say that Samson did this alone, or how long it took to capture these animals. It would not do violence to the text to assume that Samson had some accomplices and some extended to time accomplish his premeditated revenge on the Philistines. b) We can imagine the scene of mass chaos, of 150 pairs of wild dogs, lined up before the wheat fields, and let loose with torches dragging behind them, and burning up the grain, the vineyards, and the olive groves.

c) The result of this revenge attack would be a collapse of the local economy, inflated food prices and possibly widespread hunger. Being an agrarian culture, this was a devastating attack on the Philistines.

d) We should note that the Scripture does not mention that Samson accomplished this deed with the help of the Spirit. The Scripture indicates that this was a work of the flesh.

Judges 15:6

a) In the narrative, we can see the vicious cycle of revenge and how injustice breeds increasing injustice. Samson’s wife and her father were burned to death, as threatened in Judges 14:15.

b) Samson’s personal compromises and sins brought the death of his marriage, the death of the fullness of his destiny, and the death of his wife and father-in-law. Proverbs 10:16 – The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.

Judges 15:7-8

a) Samson continues to perpetuate the cycle of revenge on the Philistines for murdering his wife and her father. It is not until later in Judges 15, that the LORD is introduced into the narrative. Judges 15, is divided into 2 parts: 1 – Samson’s revenge. 2 – The LORD proving to Judah that He was delivering them from the oppression of the Philistines.

b) The text says that Samson ended up isolated in a cave. Etam means, “lair of wild beasts”. Many times, when we choose our way, over God’s way, we end up isolated. Samson became alienated from his family and his people, who he was called to deliver. We could say that Samson had wandered far from his calling and kingdom assignment. 1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

c) The good news is that even though Samson ended up isolated in a cave, the LORD knows how to work providentially to put us back on track. Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Judges 15:9-10

a) The Philistines invaded Judah looking for Samson, and now the narrative changes for the good as God begins to intervene.

Judges 15:11

a) It is interesting to note that Judah sent and army of 3000 to apprehend Samson. This is an indicator that Samson had quite the reputation at this point for being a fighter and mighty man.

b) Notice that Judah was completely out of identity and not experiencing the dominion and blessing promised to them Deuteronomy 28. They lived so long under the oppression of the enemy that it seemed like normal life to them. The LORD never intended His people to live under the yoke of oppression. Likewise, many Christians have lived so long living outside of identity and destiny that oppression seems normal. Judah means “praise”, and at this point in their history, they were living far from reality of praise, celebration and joy.

Raising Up Deliverers – Judges 14:10-20 – Week 11 – Rob Covell

Raising Up Deliverers

Judges 14:10-20

Week 11

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this Session, we will complete Judges 14, and complete the narrative of Samson’s failed marriage. In verses 10 through 20, we are given some deep insight on how satanic forces work in the realm of spiritual warfare. Many times, what we see manifest in the natural realm, has its origins in our personal sin, or the sins of others, is exploited by the enemy, and is fully revealed in the tragedies of life.

In Judges 14:10-20 we see the following movements in the text.

1 – Continued compromise in our lives opens a greater opening for the enemy to bring death and destruction in our life an in the lives of others. 2 – The people we allow into our personal orbit can have a devastating effect on our destinies.
3 – The devil and his demonic forces use fear and intimidation tactics as a primary way to control people. However, these satanic strategies can be defeated by bringing truth and God’s light into our lives.
4 – The LORD is a full of grace and work providentially in our lives to bring the greatest amount of glory for Himself, even in the midst of our brokenness.

Judges 14:10

a) According to the cultural norms of that time, Samson’s father paid the bride price, and confirmed the details of the marriage covenant.

b) Verse 10 says that Samson “held a feast as was customary for young men”; The Hebrew means, “a drinking party”. We are not told in the text if Samson broke his Nazirite Vow by drinking alcohol, but Samson certainly placed himself in another compromising situation.

Judges 14:11

a) Notice that the text says that “they chose” 30 men to attend Samson as groomsmen for the bridal feast. Anytime the enemy chooses our friendships, we are on the way towards a fall. 2 Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character. Philippians 2:15 – so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.

Judges 14:12-13

a) In the context of the culture, the telling of proverbs, parables and riddles were a form of entertainment. (chiydah- Hebrew)

b) Let’s look at the significance of the numbers in text. 7 is number of completion,
perfect, or wholeness. The 7-day wedding feast followed the cultural norms.

c) The number 30 in the text can be interpreted 2 ways. 1 – 30 is the number of ordination. Joseph was 30 when he was launched as Pharaoh’s prime minister. Genesis 41:46. Priests start their service at 30. Numbers 4:3. King David was 30 when he began to reign. 2 Samuel 5:4. Ezekiel was called as prophet at age 30. Ezekiel 1:1. Jesus started His ministry at 30. Matthew 26:14. 2 – The number 30 can also represent betrayal. Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, as prophesied by Zechariah 11:13. In Judges 14:13, these 30 men betray Samson. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for clothing, BEGED, means treachery, or deceit.

d) The types of clothes that Samson requests are the types of clothes that wealthy and important people would wear.

Judges 14:14

a) Samson’s riddle shows us that, though he was weak in his character, he was strong in his intellect. Having the world’s wisdom is foolishness as compared to being wise in the ways of the LORD. Proverbs 13:20 – Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

b) 3 in the Word of God is the number of completion, resurrection and new beginnings. These men would never solve this riddle.

Judges 14:15

a) These men realize that they would be plundered and shamed by Samson. We are reading these verses through the lens of an honor versus shame culture. Samson represents the Israelites who are being oppressed by the Philistines. For Samson to win this contest of riddles would be an unbearable embarrassment to the 30 Philistine attendants.

b) These men use threats and fear to control and manipulate Samson’s wife. This is a primary attack method of satan and the demonic spirits who serve him. None of these men were true friends to Samson or his wife. They possessed all of the outward appearance of a friend, but inwardly were treacherous. In a similar way, the enemy comes posing as a friend, who will deceive and betray us and bring us pain.

c) We should also consider that Samson instigated all this coming tragedy through the momentum of one small compromise after another small compromise. We are seeing the manifestation of the accumulation of his personal sin. Our sins often hurt the others around in the long run. Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Judges 14:16-17

a) In many ways, Samson’s wife was victim of circumstances. However, she had the opportunity to break the pattern of victimhood and defeat her enemies by telling the truth. James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

b) We can see from this narrative that compromises, lies, deception and control and
manipulation are a pathway to death. In this narrative, the death of truth, the death of a marriage, and ultimately the death of Samson’s wife and her father.

Judges 14:18

a) In Hebrew culture the sunset signaled the end of one day and the beginning of the next. The text is telling us that the 30 attendants waiting until the last minute. Their answer obviously came from Samson’s wife and Samson uses a parable to communicate that he knows about their coercion tactics.

Judges 14:19-20

a) Ashkelon means, “the fire of infamy”. Infamy means a bad reputation, being evil, or being known for being in the condition having a bad reputation. Ashkelon was a major Philistine port city in that era.

b) These verses show us the grace of God on Samson’s life, in this narrative. The LORD desired for Samson to deliver his people from the oppression of the Philistines who were ruling over them. However, Samson’s compromises kept him from fulfilling his destiny in fullness. In verses 19-20, we see the LORD working in the midst of Samson’s imperfect life to accomplish as much glory as possible given his choices. We can be certain that Ashkelon, the place of evil, was a target for God’s righteous agenda. The 30 men of Ashkelon that Samson slayed were no doubt important people, due to the type of clothes they were wearing.

c) Samson’s wife was given away to a companion because it was shameful in their culture for a wife to be abandoned. The woman’s father was trying to retain the honor of their family.