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Judges 13:1-7 by Robert Dean
Series:Judges (2000)
Duration:1 hr 8 mins 50 secs

God's Grace; Chapter 14

 

The grace of God is one of those subjects that everybody talks about. But a lot of that is more lip service than it is reality. It has more to do with a Christian verbiage than it does to a substantive understanding of what grace is really all about. Grace means unmerited favor, undeserved blessing. Those words "unmerited" and "undeserved" are the key words. It means that we don't do anything, we aren't anything, we can't perform any action or think any thoughts that ever merit God's favor. The flip side of that means that no matter how bad we are, no matter what horrible sins we might commit, we can't out-sin the grace of God. The grace of God is not a license to sin, it is rather the liberty to succeed because our freedom to succeed is related to our freedom to fail. If you don't have freedom to fail then you don't have freedom to succeed, and if you limit one you automatically limit the other.

 

One of the most difficult things for some people to ever learn is that God really, truly loves them as they are. Part of that could be that today people so often today grow up in such horrible homes and horrible situations that they never experience anything close to real love from their parents, and everything that they face is conditional, and when they come to face the love of God they just extrapolate from human love to divine love and never can quite understand that God truly does love them. For whatever reason--sometimes it is guilt--they think that God can love other people but He certainly can't love me. Something act weighs so heavily on that person that they can't get past that to understand the love of God and they can't ever quite believe that God loves them as much as He loves everybody else. This is a real problem for some folks.  Others who have been brought up in a denomination where they have had legalism drilled into them day in and day out, or they have been taught that you can lose your salvation, that you can commit some unforgivable sin and that you weren't ever really saved, like the lordship crowd says, or that you have now lost your salvation, like most Arminians teach, somehow they never can understand that God's grace is based on who God is and not on who they are.

 

We always forget that God is righteous, absolute righteousness, and that means that God is absolute perfection. There is no flaw in God, there is no failure in God, and God is said in the Scriptures to be absolute righteousness. He is said to be light: "God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all." Because God is light, because God is absolute righteousness, God cannot have a relationship with a creature that is anything less than His absolute standard. God's standard is so high, so far above anything that we can ever imagine in terms of our own experience that there is no way that we can measure up. Romans 3:23, every human being falls into that category, not because of what they do but because of what Adam did. That is one of the most important things that we can communicate when we are witnessing, when we are interacting with somebody who is struggling with this: that condemnation was for Adam's original sin which was imputed to an inherited sin nature, and condemnation is not because you did something. God rejected you not because you did something, He rejected you because you are obnoxious to Him because you possess Adam's original sin and you were born with a sin nature under condemnation. God therefore loves us not because of who we are but because of who He is. He loves us not because of what we did but because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. The grace of God is one of those subjects that everybody talks about. But a lot of that is more lip servise than it is reality. It has more to do with a Christian verbiage than it does to a substantive understanding of what grace is really all about. Gracee means unmerited favor, undeserved blessing. Those words "unmerited" and "undeserved" are the key words. It means that we don't do anything, we aren't anything, we can't perform any action or think any thoughts that ever merit God's favor. The flip side of that means that no matter how bad we are, no matter what horrible sins we might commit, we can't out-sin the grace of God. The grace of God is not a license to sin, it is rather the liberty to succeed because our freedom to succeed is related to our freedom to fail. If you don't have freedom to fail then you don't have freedom to succeed, and if you limit one you automatically limit the other.

 

One of the most difficult things for some people to ever learn is that God really, truly loves them as they are. Part of that could be that today people so often today grow up in such horrible homes and horrible situations that they never experience anything close to real love from their parents, and everything that they face is conditional, and when they come to face the love of God they just extrapolate from human love to divine love and never can quite understand that God truly does love them. For whatever reason--sometimes it is guilt--they think that God can love other people but He certainly can't love me. Something act weighs so heavily on that person that they can't get past that to understand the love of God and they can't ever quite believe that God loves them as much as He loves everybody else. This is a real problem for some folks.  Others who have been brought up in a denomination where they have had legalism drilled into them day in and day out, or they have been taught that you can lose your salvation, that you can commit some unforgivable sin and that you weren't ever really saved, like the lordship crowd says, or that you have now lost your salvation, like most Arminians teach, somehow they never can understand that God's grace is based on who God is and not on who they are.

 

We always forget that God is righteous, absolute righteousness, and that means that God is absolute perfection. There is nol flaw in God, there is no failure in God, and God is said in the Scriptures to be absolute righteousness. He is said to be light: "God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all." Because God is light, because God is absolute righteousness, God cannot have a relationship with a creature that is anything less than His absolute standard. God's standard is so high, so far above anything that we can ever imagine in terms of our own experience that there is no way that we can measure up.

 

Romans 3:23, every human being falls into that category, not because of what they do but because of what Adam did. That is one of the most important things that we can communicate when we are witnessing, when we are interacting with somebody who is struggling with this: that condemnation was for Adam's original sin which was imputed to an inherited sin nature, and condemnation is not because you did something. God rejected you not because you did something, He rejected you because you are obnoxious to Him because you possess Adam's original sin and you were born with a sin nature under condemnation. God therefore loves us not because of who we are but because of who He is. He loves us not because of what we did but because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. The problem may be that a lot of people are just impressed with their own sin. They think that somehow they did something so horrible--it really impressed them with its heinousness--that God must be shocked because they are shocked. All that really means is that they are impressed with their own depravity. But God is not impressed with our depravity because He knows how depraved we are. Every single one of us is totally depraved, sin is affects every single aspect of our thinking and our character and our person, and it is only after regeneration that there is any change. But it still doesn't do away with the sin nature, diminish the sin nature, decrease the sin nature, or in any way hinder the sin nature. It simply means that after salvation the sin nature no longer has absolute power.

 

Secondly, Isaiah says all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Most people, when they hear that, is "all our unrighteousnesses are as filthy rags." Somehow in our thinking "all our righteousnesses" becomes "all our unrighteousnesses." But that is not what the text says. It is all our righteousness—everything that we do, everything we are impressed with that we think somehow is going to impress God—is filthy rags. Grace means that God is faithful to His character, and He is faithful to His promises, no matter what the creature does. He has promised to save you because of what Christ did on the cross, not because of anything that you or I ever did. So if we come along and commit some horrible sin we don't lose our salvation and we don't surprise God with some new failing. Remember that God is omniscient and He has known from eternity past every single sin that you were going to commit, how horrible they were, and so He is never surprised. And when God poured out every sin in human history on Jesus Christ on the cross He poured out all of those terrible sins that we commit as well. Because He is never shocked and because He does not learn anything new He was able to provide a perfect salvation, and that is what grace is all about.

 

In the same way, when we go back into the Old Testament and we look at God's relationship to Abraham we see these same principles of grace exemplified. God called Abraham and said that through Abraham He would bring into being a new nation, and that God unconditionally would bless all the nations through Abraham and through that particular nation. When Israel sinned at Mount Sinai and had Aaron build the golden calf and had debauchery and idolatry at the foot of the Mount, that did not end the promise. When Israel rebelled in the wilderness and continually rejected the grace of God, that did not end the covenant. When Israel continuously became involved in idolatry during the time of the judges, that did not abrogate God's promises in the Abrahamic covenant. When Israel sacrificed their first-born on the fiery altars of Molech, that did not end God's love for Israel or God's plan for Israel. When Jephthah sacrificed his daughter on an altar immolated her as a burnt offering to God, God did not turn His back on Israel. God does not give up because we fail. That is what grace is all about, and that more than anything else is a message that comes through again and again in the book of Judges.

 

Why doesn't God turn His back on us? Why doesn't He say He has had enough? Because God has made covenant promises. He has entered into a contractual agreement to do certain things based on who He is, not on who man is. The covenant with Israel is based on God, not man. It is based on God's integrity and it is not related to man's infidelity. It is based on God's work, not man's. And that is the story of Samson.

 

Remember, Israel has degenerated for the sixth time into idolatry. For the sixth time they have done evil in the sight of the Lord. For the sixth time God has punished them, but unlike the other six times, this time they have not cried out to God. This time they have not confessed their sins. This time they are continuing to assimilate with the Philistines. We have seen that there has been this continuous cycle of Israel's disobedience, discipline, and then deliverance; but the deliverance in the other five cycles was always after Israel turned back to God. But this time Israel doe not turn back to God and that is a key to understanding why Samson is treated differently in the text than the other five major judges in Judges. We are now at the bottom of the apostasy pit in the history of Israel. But God is providing a deliverance and a solution even while we watch the depravity going on in Israel during the time of Samson.

 

We have to ask the question as to why Israel hasn't cried out to God, why there is no confession of sin. For the first time they are not being oppressed. In the other five cycles they were oppressed by the Midianites, the Ammonites, by the Canaanites. All these other groups oppressed and enslaved them but the Philistines do not oppress and enslave them. To understand that is to understand Philistine culture. The Philistines are like second cousins to the Egyptians, they are not Greeks. But they went through a somewhat circuitous route to end up on the Mediterranean coast of Israel and there is some indication that they were enslaved in the island of Crete for a while, so there they picked up some Greek culture before ending up on the coast of Canaan. There they had a culture that was different. We see that during the time oif Abraham they had a king but by the time of Joshua and Judges there were the five lords of the Philistines, a totally different kind of government. Back in the time of Abraham the Philistines are positive to Abraham and positive to the Jews, but by the time of the Exodus they are hostile to the Jews, and that continues to play its role in history. What happened between these two periods in history is important to keep in mind because that affects the dynamics of what is going on in their culture, and it is not too dissimilar to what is going on in our own culture today. During that time there were these migrations of people out of the north and the north-west, commonly called the Greek sea peoples but they weren't just Greek they were various peoples, and they would establish colonies in various places as well as interacting with the ethnic Philistines on the coast of Canaan. AS these came into contact with the Philistines the Philistine culture assimilated or absorbed all these different cultures. So they became a melting pot and multicultural. Instead of taking a stand on what their early religious system was they just kept absorbing all the deities, all the ideas of all these different cultures. They were into cultural absorption and not any absolutes. They were governed by a relativistic thinking which is the same kind of thinking governing Israel at this time, which is exemplified in the key verse of Judges: there was no king in the land, and everyone did what was right in his own eyes. So the Jews just wanted to do what they wanted and they rejected divine absolutes. Once you take God out of the picture something has to fill the vacuum left by removing God. And it is always man who tries to deify himself by becoming his own ultimate reference point and establishing his own values, his own absolutes whatever they are. But they are relative because man is relative so they are constantly shifting.

 

The Philistines are not oppressing Israel and Israel is not in an antagonistic relationship with the Philistines. They just want to assimilate, to live together and have peaceful co-existence. What is happening is a breakdown between the Jews who are God's unique people as a witness to the world, as the source of divine blessing to the nations, and the distinction between the Jews and the Philistines is breaking down. So God is going to send His bull in a china shop into the situation in order to stir up trouble. This is why Samson is a deliverer of a different kind. He is a trouble-maker there to stir up antagonism to keep Israel from being destroyed and assimilated by this kind of relativistic thinking that is typical of human viewpoint and typical of much paganism.

 

But the problem with Samson is that Samson is as much a spiritual apostate as anybody else in Israel. He is a perfect microcosm of all the problems in Israel, apostate as anybody else in Israel. He is a perfect microcosm of all the problems in Israel. He wants to assimilate too. He doesn't care, he doesn't hold a distinction between his thinking and the thinking of the Philistines. He doesn't want to learn doctrine, he never seems to apply truth—we know that he does from what Hebrews 11 says, but that is not what Judges is emphasizing in the life of Samson. What the writer is bringing out about the life of Samson is that he like all the other leaders is doing what is right in his own eyes. He has succumbed to the same thinking as everybody else in the Jewish culture.

 

We have looked at the birth of Samson, that it was unique and that God set him apart to be a unique kind of deliverer marked by a unique birth and a unique vow. He is a Nazirite and a s part of that Nazirite vow he was to do three things. And we have to keep these three things in mind as we read through about Samson because the writer assumes that we know it and that we are going to spot all the problems. He is very subtle at some times. First thing: he couldn't drink wine or strong drink. But it went beyond that. According to the stipulations in Leviticus he not only could not drink wine, he couldn't drink even grape juice, he couldn't eat grapes, he couldn't eat the skin of grapes, he couldn't even touch a grape vine. Second, he was not to touch a dead body, he could have no contact at all with anything dead. Third, he was not to cut his hair because that was the outward, visible sign to everybody that he was a Nazirite. The unique thing about Samson is that normally a Nazirite vow was a voluntary vow. Somebody took it because they wanted to and it was for a short period of time. But he is to be a Nazirite from birth. God imposed it on him. That reminds us of God calling out Abraham and saying, I'm choosing you, etc. When we keep this in mind when we read some of the bizzare things that happen in Samson's life it will begin to make sense, because what God is going to demonstrate is that even though Samson is this perverted, out-of-control, lust-oriented crazy guy, God is still going to work with him because God is going to be faithful to His promises. He is picturing through Samson His unconditional faithfulness to Israel. So the message that runs through this whole section is the message of God's grace.

 

 

When we get into this chapter we have to understand what is going on here. The events really begin at the end of chapter thirteen and they go to the end of chapter fifteen. In the way that the original author crafted this section it is an integral whole. All these events go together, you can't disconnect them. What begins to happen in 13:25 sets in motion a whole series of events that fall like dominoes until you get to the last verse of chapter fifteen, which tells us, "So he judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines." Notice that even that is a reminder that he didn't deliver them from the Philistines.

 

Here is a summary of what is going to happen. The Spirit of the Lord began to stir up Samson to action at the end of chapter thirteen but Samson, rather than responding with doctrine, takes his own action. We see in his life the extremes of Israel's relativism. So Samson goes over to the village of Timnah where he gets the hots for this Philistine babe, and immediately he comes running home to Mum and Dad to get this woman for him. They try to dissuade him but are unsuccessful. On the way over there apparently Samson gets separated from his parents. And at that time--which ought to tells us that maybe God is working behind the scenes--he is attacked by a lion. He kills the lion but he doesn't tell his parents. Some time later he returns that way on his way to visit his fiance. He goes by the lion and there discovers a swarm of bees has inhabited the lion and there is a load of honey there. So he takes some out to his parents but doesn't tell them where it came from. Then Samson goes back to throw a bachelor party for the men of the town, the men of Timnah. In order to proect themselves from this strong man who apparently already must have a reputation--otherwise they would have taken no action--they bring in thirty bodyguards to monitor the situation. So there are thirty bouncers there to take care of Samson at his bachelor party, and in that situation he poses a riddle. to these guys. He thinks it is a riddle that they'll never figure out, and they wouldn't because it is a loaded riddle, and there is a bet on whether or not they can solve the riddle. At stake was a set of new clothes for every one of them. They can't figure it out so they go to his girlfriend, intimidate her and tell her that she has to find out the answer to the riddle. So she cries on his shoulder and we find out that he has an absolute weakness for women at this point. He just can't say no and finally he gives it up, he tells her the answer. She runs and betrays him to these Philistines, so they come back and answer the riddle and now he has to give them 30 new suits. He doesn't have that kind of money, so he decides that used suits will do just as well and goes over to the next town and kills 30 Philistines and takes their suits, and he brings them back to these 30 bouncers to satisfy the bet. It must be understood that because he went to the town, because he killed the lion on the way, and because the lion was a carcass with a swarm of bees in it, that that is the basis for the riddle. Now the Philistines get mad because he has killed 30 Philistines and they are going to assault his wife and her father. After all of this there is a temper tantrum. He had left his wife and goes home. She is given then to his best man. After he got over his anger he decided to go back to see her only to discover his father-in-law said, "Well you never consummated the union so I gave her to your best man; they are married and you can't see her." So he has another little temper tantrum and wants to seek revenge, so he goes out and catches three hundred foxes. Think of what that would entail for a little bit! He ties them up, tail to tail, puts a torch between their tails and sends them through the Philistine grain fields, burning up their grain, their vineyards, and their olive groves. The Philistines retaliate by setting fire to his wife and her father. It is revenge back and forth. He is setting all these things in motion just because he killed the lion and because he lusted for the woman. It is all interconnected. Then Samson retaliates again and kills a vast number of Philistines and heads out to the wilderness of Judah to hide out and rest. But the Philistines put together an army and are in hot pursuit, and they follow him into the wilderness of Judah. The Judahites now have their territory invaded by this Philistine army and they are all upset. And rather than defend their freedoms they said, We don't want a war. They are the ultimate pacifists and they put together three thousand men to arrest Samson and turn him over to the enemy. Samson lets them tie him up, but when they get him to the Philistines the Spirit of the Lord comes on him and he breaks his bonds and "smites them hip and thigh," killing a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. After that he is exhausted, overcome with thirst, and he cires out to the Lord who miraculously gives him water. He revives and then we are told that he judged Israel for twenty years.

 

All of these events in these two chapters all follow one cause upon another, starting with his lust for this woman. Now that we have the overview let's look at some of the details.

 

13:25--"And the spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol." We have to look at this and answer a couple of questions about the relationship of the Spirit of the Lord to Samson. There are no chapter divisions in the Hebrew and the next verse is 14:1 making it sound as though the Spirit of the Lord caused that. 

 

The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament was given to specific people in terms of their administrative, governmental or ceremonial function inside of the nation Israel. It was not a part of their spiritual life. The giving  of the Holy Spirit was to certain prophets for the writing of Scripture, to kings for the leading of the nation, to judges for victory in battle, to the craftsmen in the tabernacle and temple for building and constructing the furniture. But it didn't have anything to do with the individual spiritual of the people in Israel. In Judges we see time and time again people like Gideon, Jephthah, Samson where the Spirit of the Lord comes upon them and then they commit these horrible perverse acts. That doesn't have anything to do with the Spirit of the Lord's ministry there because that is not the function of the Spirit of the Lord in the Old Testament.

 

When the Spirit of the Lord stirs Samson up Samson has an option. He has volition and he can either respond to this in a biblically oriented way, applying divine viewpoint and Bible doctrine, or he can react according to his sin nature. We all know what he does, he reacts and does what he wants in his sin nature. He doesn't respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit in a biblical way. The Spirit of the Lord began to "stir" him. This is the Hebrew word which pictures a storm, a tempest, a hurricane out on the ocean. So there is a violent tempest inside of Samson that is moving him to action. He just has to go do something but the problem is there is no doctrine in the soul and he can't make a right choice in terms of application. The writer doesn't make an issue out of Samson's apostasy yet because what he is doing is very subtle, he is going to tell us what happened for us to draw our own conclusion that Samson never learned anything from his parents. We scratch our heads and wonder why until we go back to the last chapter and realise that his father, Manoah, really didn't know any doctrine either, didn't teach him anything, and so he didn't learn anything. But then we look at Samson's character and see that even if Manoah did teach him something Samson was in negative volition and doesn't care. One thing we need to understand as parents. We can do everything right and the kids still have volition, and they can make all the bad decisions and it is not your fault. But then you have to have the objectivity and say to yourself, Well maybe it was my fault. We do not know whether Samson's parents taught him or not but we do know what his repsonse was. He was negative to doctrine and that is clear from everything that happened. The Spirit of the Lord stirs him up but in negative volition he decides that he is going to satisfy this movement in his soul in his own way and he gets into a consistent lust pattern.

 

But the other thing we learn here is really exciting, because we always have trouble sometimes understanding the relationship between the sovereignty of God and human freedom, is that Jesus Christ controls history and whether Samson is positive or negative God is still going to bring about his purposes in the history of Israel. He is not going to violate Samson's volition but even when Samson is negative God is still going to use that and bring about His purposes, and if Samson were positive he would use that. The difference is that Samson is either going top go through life under cursing or under blessing but God is still going to work out His plan and purposes and program because it is never creaturely dependent. So the Spirit of the Lord moves him, he operates negatively, but God is still going to stir up trouble and use Samson's negative volition to bring about the break and the war between the Philistines and the Jews. He allows Samson to be negative and that is part of the doctrine of permissive will.

 

We see Samson's lust in the first couple of verses. "Get her for me as my wife." Do this! Lack of gratitude, self-centred, self-oriented, rude. He obviously has a very arrogant attitude towards everything in life and he wants a Philistine wife. This is a violation of the Mosaic law teaching on intermarriage with Canaanites. 

 

The doctrine of intermarriage

1) In the Old Testament intermarriage to a Gentile was forbidden to a Jew, Deuteronomy 7:3,4. Notice that verse 4 gives the reason for verse 3, i.e they will enter into a partnership with pagans who will lead them astray.

2) The only exception was if the Gentile was a believer. That is what the book of Ruth is all about. Ruth was a Moabitess who married Boaz who was a Jew. Their grandson is going to be David. Ruth and Rahab were believers positive to doctrine and therefore that intermarriage was fine. Intermarriage is not based on religion but on spiritual relationship to God.

3) Intermarriage with an unbeliever would involve a Jew becoming a partner with a pagan who would then influence him or her and lead them into apostasy. This always happens, 99 times oput of 100. Don't ever let your kids buy into the idea of "missionary dating." In a marriage between a believer and unbeliever the believer's most fundamental part of life can never be shared with their partner.

4) The prohibition was not based on race. It was not based on culture. They were not told not to intermarry with the Gentiles because the Gentiles were gooing to pervert them spiritually. The issue is doctrine. The issue is what the other person thinks about Jesus Christ. First, are they saved? Second, are the positive doctrine and spiritual growth?

5) Later on the Pharisees made this issue racial. That came in under legalism. The Pharisees made it racial because they ignored the second verse.

6) In the New Testament the principle holds true. It continues. Remember the principle: Any thing that is not restated in the New Testament ends. So this principle continues, it is restated in the New Testament that believers are not to marry unbelievers or enter into close partnership with unbelievers. 2 Corinthians 6:14.

7) You are not going to have close friends, close relationships with people who are unbelievers, and the reason is based on 1 Corinthians 15:33--"Be not deceived: bad company corrupt good morals."

 

We learn something about Samson who comes in and tells his parents he has to have this woman over in Timnah: that he is willful, disobedient to the Mosaic law, he doesn't care, he is ignoring the Mosaic law stipulation that he not marry a Gentile, he is disrespectful of his parents, he doesn't show manners, he just tells them what to do. And we see that he is a man who is getting rather wild, he just does whatever he wants to do. In short, he is acting like everybody else in Israel at this time in history.

 

Verse 3 – the parents understand a little doctrine. When they use the word "uncircumcised" that immediately brings to bear doctrine related to the Abrahamic covenant, because the sign of the Abrahamic covenant, the sign of their being a Jew is circumcision. And immediately they point out that these people are uncircumcised, they are pagan, they are not under the covenant, you are under the covenant, this is a spiritual issue, you need to find a woman who is spiritually right. He says he doesn't care, get her for me, she looks good to me. That is, my hormones are raging, I want to satisfy that, I don't care anything about doctrine, I don't care what you want or anything else. And they cave in. 

 

Verse 4 – they are ignorant of what God is doing. "But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel." This is permissive will. Remember, God is moving Samson. He can choose positive or negative, apply doctrine to the situation or not apply doctrine. He doesn't apply doctrine but, even so, God is still working and it is the principle in Romans 8:28. That tell us primarily it is directed towards a maturing believer, "to those who love God." But the emphasis in the verse is that God works even through suffering and discipline and negative volition. He is the one orchestrating everything and bringing it about. He is going to bring about the ultimate good. It is of the Lord because He is seeking an occasion against the Philistines.

 

God is goal oriented at this point. God's plan is to cause trouble with the Philistines. He could have done it another way if Samson had been positive to doctrine and applying the truth. But Samson is negative so He doesn't do it that way. He uses Samson's negative volition to stir up trouble with the Philistines. Then there is an editorial comment by the author: "for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel." That tells us that Judges must have been written during the time of David's monarchy because it seems to have been written at a time when the Philistines were not ruling over Israel.

Verse 5 -- why are the vineyards of Timnah important? Remember the first stipulation? The writer wants us to pay attention to where he is going and its spiritual implications. It is important because as a Nazirite Samson wasn't to come into any proximity with wine or grapes. Right away we are told that Samson is in spiritual apostasy. He is so far in rebellion he doesn't care where he is and he is really thumbing his nose at God. But who is moving him? This is grace. Samson is failing by the numbers and yet God doesn't desert him. The message to Israel is, You are failing by the numbers, I am not deserting you. That's grace. Grace means it is not up to us, it is up to God. It is not based on our behavior, it is based on God's behavior. So Samson ends up in this section with the first violation of his Nazirite vow. 

 

Then the episode with the lion. We know that his parents have gone on ahead, or maybe he turned aside, but at that particular instant a lion charges him. The lion attacks him at the moment he is not with his parents. At that point the Spirit of God comes upon him mightily. The implication is he has no fear. He is in control, he is relaxed, he knows he is going to take out this lion, and he just grabs that lion's hind legs and rips him apart. But he doesn't tell his parents. There is something funny going on because if that were us the first thing we would be doing is telling that we had killed a lion. Samson is not the only lion killer. David killed a lion. There is a subtle contrast between Samson and his willfulness. He kills the lion but he can't defeat the Philistines, and David who is following the Lord, who also kills lions, does deliver the people. If we were living at the time of David that would automatically come to mind. 

 

Later on in verse 8, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. There is a lot going on here because the word "swarm" isn't the normal swarm. It is the Hebrew word which means a congregation, an assembly, a people. It is talking about honey coming out of a dead carcass. 

 

But he doesn't tell his parents. There is something funny going on because if that were us the first thing we would be doing is telling that we had killed a lion. Samson is not the only lion killer. David killed a lion. There is a subtle contrast between Samson and his willfulness. He kills the lion but he can't defeat the Philistines, and David who is following the Lord, who also kills lions, does deliver the people. If we were living at the time of David that would automatically come to mind. 

 

Later on in verse 8, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. There is a lot going on here because the word "swarm" isn't the normal swarm. It is the Hebrew word which means a congregation, an assembly, a people. It is talking about honey coming out of a dead carcass. Is a beehive normally found in a carcass? No. Why not? Because they are wet, gaseous, decomposing, and not valid sites for a beehive. So once again we realize God is doing something here, this is not normal to find a beehive in a carcass. But this is an assembly. The writer is making a point here. What is found there is honey. What does honey have to do with in the Old Testament?  In Exodus 3:8, "And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites." The Canaanites are spiritually dead; they are the carcass. Out of the carcass God is going to give honey and life to Israel. Once again it is another symbol of grace. God brings life where there is death. He is going to bring blessing where there is death and depravity. Also in Deuteronomy 8 is described as "A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey." All of that is going to belong to Israel, but it is not theirs now. They are not experiencing the blessing of God because they are assimilated with the Philistines. So the symbolism here is simply to remind us of what God is going to do with Israel, bringing blessing where there is death. 

 

The whole message here is a message of grace. God is not deserting Israel. God is not deserting Samson despite his apostasy, and God will never desert us. He will never leave us or forsake us no matter how much we fail, no matter how horrible our sins might be.