Monday, November 9, 2015

Torn Lions Yield Sweet Nourishment

From the opening of Judges 13, we see that Samson was unique.  He was born to a barren woman.  From the beginning, his life's purpose was announced, and he was set apart, being placed under the Nazirite vow his entire life.  Even his mother was placed under the vow until his birth.  In addition, we learn later that he was empowered to complete his task through divinely-given physical strength.  The only problem is that Samson had a disregard for God's Word.  For instance, in Judges 14:2-3 we read:
Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines.  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.”
Samson's parents were right to steer him to take a wife from his own people.  The expectation of every Israelite was to marry from within the nation.  Besides this, Philistines were under judgment to be annihilated from the land.  But Samson would have none of it: he lusted after the foreign woman.  In his pursuit of her, Samson was attacked by a lion; and he was strengthened and ripped it to pieces.  When the job was done, he continued in his intentions.  One cannot help but wonder if God put the lion in Samson's way to warn him of his actions.

After some days, Samson went again to take the woman in marriage, and he came upon the lion carcass being used by bees as a hive.  He scraped out honey to eat (Nazirites were forbidden to touch the dead) and then gave some to his parents.  At the beginning of the marriage feast, Samson proposed a wager and riddle from his encounter with the lion and honey:
Out of the eater came something to eat.
Out of the strong came something sweet.  (Judges 14:14)
After days of his fiancée's nagging, Samson gave up the answer:
What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion? (Judges 14:18).
If we look closely at Samson, we see that he is a picture of the nation of Israel.  It had a divine beginning, was set aside solely to God, and had a stated purpose.  The people were divinely strengthened to perform the tasks before them.  But also like Samson, the nation had a disregard for God's Word.  Time and again, the Law was left by the wayside in favor of other ideas and practices.  God continually sent prophets to warn the people, which were dealt with much like Samson's lion, yet what they left was nourishing and good for the soul.

The greatest prophet to come to Israel was the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  As with those who had come previously with words of warning and judgment, the nation turned on Jesus and figuratively tore Him to pieces.  Yet from His death came the sweetest and most satisfying of all nourishment:
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.  (John 6:54-56)
Or in other words: take, eat, this is my body; take, drink, this is my blood.

Your sins, though great, are now forgiven.

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