Jump Start # 3034
Judges 15:7 “Samson said to them, ‘Since you act like this, I will surely take revenge on you, but after that I will quit.’”
Our verse today comes from the troublesome and violent period of the Judges. Israel and the Philistines were constantly bothering one another. Like a gnat that won’t go away, so these two nations acted.
Samson married a Philistine woman. Mistake number one. While away, his Philistine father-in-law, gave Samson’s wife to someone else. Angry, Samson caught three hundred foxes, tied their tails together and put a torch in the middle of the tails. He released these foxes and the Philistine fields and vineyards were destroyed. In retaliation, the Philistines killed his wife and father-in-law.
Now, comes our verse. It’s Samson’s time to strike back. As one reads these verses, it’s hard not to yell, “STOP.” The Philistines and Samson keep slugging each other, like an old Rocky movie.
Now, some thoughts:
First, no one ever “gets even.” Killing two people is not equal to burning the fields. And, that’s the problem with revenge. We never get even. The score is never fully settled. We tend to strike back harder than the way we were hit. Revenge is wrapped around a heart that is angry, full of hatred and unwilling to let go and forgive. That spirit will kill a person’s soul. Before the chapter ends, Samson is still killing more Philistines. With the jawbone of a donkey, he kills a thousand. That’s still within this chapter. Tic for tat never ends.
Second, Samson declared in our verse, after one more vengeful strike, he would quit. He doesn’t. It’s easy to make promises. It’s hard to keep them. It’s better not to say something than to break our promises. We make promises when we get married. Those are called “vows.” Easy to say to each other. Do we keep them? We make promises to our kids. Sometimes that is done just to get them to quiet down. When we become a disciple of Jesus, we are promising Him our allegiance, love and trust. Do we keep that promise and commitment? Jesus said let your yes be yes and your no be no. Keep your word. If you have trouble with that, then speak fewer words.
Third, Samson said, “I will quit.” Many of us have quit jobs, bad habits and eating certain foods. But there are greater things that we need to quit. Here’s my list:
· Quit trying to manage the universe. It’s not your job and you can’t do it. I find it amazing how many people in a protest mode will “DEMAND.” They demand as if they are in control. They are not. You might ask. You might seek permission. But to “demand?” No, you are not sitting on top of the world. And, what comes with trying to manage the universe is a load of stress and worry that our hearts cannot bear. You can I can’t do anything about Russia. Those early saints couldn’t do anything about Rome. The economy. Gas prices. Short supplies. We can talk about these things. We can complain about these things. We can get upset about these things. Or, we can pray to the One who can actually do something. God is the Lord of Heaven and Earth.
· Quit trying to run the church. That’s not our job, either. Even if you are one of the shepherds, it’s not your job. Jesus runs the church. We are to function humbly under Him. Far too many are looking for a power control of the church. They like bossing others. Many can’t be the boss at work. And, they can’t be the boss at home. So, they try to be the boss at church. There isn’t much difference between someone who is bossy and someone who is a bully. We need to honor Christ through the church. We need to encourage the church. We need to equip and help the church. But running it? No, we need to quit that.
· Quit trying to figure out why everything happens. Solomon says time and chance happens. Somethings we may never know. We are forever looking in the wrong direction. Trying to find the cause, the blame, the reason is looking backwards. We ought to be looking forwards. Why did that person have cancer? Why did that person die? Why did that marriage end? Oh, we want to know all the reasons. Maybe it makes us feel good if we knew. Maybe we think that there is something wrong and that’s why those people got what they got. It may be we will never know. Why was James the first apostle to die and his brother John the last to die? Why did God allow Antipas to die? Why, why why? Instead of asking a hurting heart a thousand questions, why not try to comfort, encourage and support. Why not try to take some food to them. Why not lift their burden some.
· Quit finding excuses for not doing what you ought to do. We pull those ole’ excuses out faster than a gunfighter pulls his six gun. We cover all of our bases with a quick and easy excuse. It gets us out of trouble, obligations and doing whatever we don’t feel like, even attending services. Can’t be there, we say. Here comes the excuse. Stop that. Quit. Instead, step up and do what you ought to do. Be honest and confess your failings.
There are a lot of things we ought to quit. Samson is a good reminder for us.