How to Make Sense Out of Your Hard Times or Your Difficult Past: But-Kickers seminar, week 3

 

Today we jumped into the story of Samson’s wife, another unnamed woman in the Book of Judges—a book overflowing with unusual, unthinkable stories about women.

 

 

 

THE BACKSTORY

Israel does wicked things in the sight of God.

 

 

God responds by allowing the Philistines—the enemies of Israel, and the worshippers of false gods, to rule over Israel, the apple of God’s eye, for forty years.

 

 

Samson is born to an Israelite man named Manoah and his previously barren wife.

 

 

An angel of the Lord declares Samson will be a Nazirite—dedicated to God from the womb until the day of his death. God, who hears Israel’s cry for help, would use Samson particularly to deliver the Israelites from their enemies, the Philistines.

 

 

SAMSON GETS MARRIED   

Samson grows up, meets a Philistine woman, and decides he wants to marry her. His parents are outraged that he doesn’t choose an Israelite woman, because God had forbidden his people from marrying the Philistines (Joshua 23:12-13). Samson insists that the Philistine woman is the one for him, and his parents give in. They don’t realize God plans to use Samson’s poor choice for a wife as part of a plan to rescue the Israelites.  

 

 

At the customary seven-day wedding feast, Samson challenges his Philistine guests to solve a riddle. Unable to decipher it on their own, the Philistine men threaten Samson’s Philistine wife with death by fire if she doesn’t get the answer for them. When they solve the riddle, Samson realizes he’s been tricked—that they must have gotten the answer from his wife. Angry and spitting bullets, Samson pays off his bet by killing 30 Philistine men in a nearby town, and giving their clothing to the bet-winners as payment for answering the riddle.

 

 

WHOSE WIFE IS SHE, ANYWAY?

Samson goes to be with his wife who is at her father’s house. His father-in-law, however, says he was so sure Samson would hate his wife after the brouhaha with the riddle that he gave Samson’s wife to the best man from the wedding for him to marry instead.

 

 

THE DEATH OF SAMSON’S WIFE

Samson is so angry that he retaliates by setting the Philistines fields on fire using 300 foxes with their tails tied together in pairs.

 

 

The Philistines find out Samson is responsible, and they respond by killing Samson’s wife and her father by burning them to death in their house.

 

 

OUR QUESTIONS

How would you describe the life of Samson’s wife?

 

What can you learn about purpose, sovereignty, and obedience by observing the life of Samson’s wife?

 

OUR OBSERVATIONS

Samson’s wife was mistreated by all the men in her life.

 

She paid a high price for obedience—for doing what she thought was right.

 

Samson’s wife was put into the picture to attract Samson, and to instigate the struggle that ultimately resulted in the subduing of the Philistines.

 

The here and now/incomplete picture versus the big picture view of God’s ultimate plan is particularly at work in this story.

 

Since God has a specific plan for you, he will redeem even the most heinous, unthinkable, offenses and difficulties in your life, and he will use them for his own glory and for your ultimate good.

 

YOUR INSIGHT

We’d love to know your thoughts on this, too.  Look over the story of Samson and his wife, Judges 13-16, and join the conversation!

 

   

 

6 Replies to “How to Make Sense Out of Your Hard Times or Your Difficult Past: But-Kickers seminar, week 3”

  1. Todays class struck a cord with me, and I apreciated some of the questions/thoughts you brought up for discussion. For example “Did these women in these passages matter, did what they experienced matter? Did they mean something to God, Did God care about what took place? Do they mean something for us today?” Another thing you explained is that when we fail to trust God, or to accept that he has a purpose for everything, it is because we have placed God in a box, trying to confine him to fit into our understanding of how we want things to be. Both things struck a cord with me.

    Durring conversation in class I shared a bit of my testimony. Maybe a little more impromptue, and a little more personal then I typicly would in such a crowd… Even still I remember at times past questioning myself “God does my hurt even matter to you? Do you care?” Yet God did care. I useto live my life, trying to force God into a box, shapeing my beliefs around my experiences and what made sence to me. Everything that did not jive with that image I refuted with alot of buts. But living this way was hopeless. I was so full of anger, doubt, and bitterness; and living this way my life was overcome by anxiaty and fear. Yet God was faithfull despite my lack of faith, and he persued my heart, until I was driven to my knees to recognise my need for him. Dont get me wrong, I had accepted christ as a young child; even still now a young adult I needed to learn who my creator was. Over time he has shown me through his word that he is truly an awsome God. He is Holy, Rightious, Just, and you can be sure he is just in his wrath. Yet he is also a gracious God, a long suffering God, a loveing God, and a good God. The bible discribes him as a King of Kings, Lord or Lords, Lord of hosts, and the one and only living God. Throught scripture it can be seen that he is a sovrign God, the one who controles the universe, the heavens, nations and kings, as well as our own hearts. As the createor of matter, space, and time, he is not limited by creation as we are; nor is his knowledge, and understanding. He is the God who knows all things, sees all things, and who is intimitly involved even in the tiniest details of my life. Over time he has taught me to trust him that he is always up to something good in my life, and was with me even when… And then as I focuse on the cross, on what christ did on my behalf. How he took my place suffering death for my sake, how he made it possible for me to aproach and know this awsome God; and how many blessings are promised to me in scripture; a promise that this life is not the end of the story, but that one day I will be restored to perfect fellowship with My God, and be able to enjoy the sort of existance my sole was created to experience in a place free from the devistating effects of sin, somehow it makes even the deepest heartackes of this life somehow less significant, and even my deepest fears less powerfull then this God who I can trust will always be enoupgh for me. I once was a girl who was haunted by a devistating past, but through Christ, and a relationship with a powerfull God I am haunted no more. Things that once hurt so bad, have lost there sting as my heart genuinly rejoices as one would with an intimate friend reminising of how that person was there with you and for you when you most needed them. I once was a girl who felt hopeless, but God has restored my hope. One of my earliest childhood prayers was that one day God would teach me to sing. Today I find my God is the sorce of my song.

    In light of the women discussed today I just want to say, while not everything that happens in life makes sence, and in fact some would seem to us incomprehendable; but we cannot place God in a box. The women in this passage could not see the full picture. They had no way of knowing they were part of a larger plan to deliver a people in captivity. Though I dont have the reference off the top of my head I know in scripture it says his thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways past finding out. No matter the circumstance our God is always good, and up to something good. He can be trusted even when we dont understand. Nothing that happens is waisted.

  2. “Over time He has taught me to trust Him, that He is always up to something good in my life, and was with me even when . . . ” Sara, these words say it all–especially in light of the testimony you shared with us. Clearly, He is your rock and your fortress. And you’re right–absolutely nothing that happens is wasted! Thanks for sharing and encouraging those who hear and read what you have to say!

  3. Sarah – thank you for your courage in sharing your story. Sherry, I agree, the quote you highlighted says so much. So often when bad things happen in my life or family – particularly when things happen that I specifically prayed about (prayed that they would NOT happen) – I raise a fist in anger at God at times. I question “What are you thinking God?” I wonder aloud in my prayers how He thinks “This” latest crisis or tragedy can possibly bring about any good at all or glorify his name or further the works of his purposes in our world.

    And yet . . . . . the rest of the story is not written yet. Thanks for the powerful reminder.

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