When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51).
The next 10 chapters of Luke record Jesus’ teaching and work during his last journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:27). Jesus knew what would happen. He predicted his death for the 2nd time in vs. 44. But the disciples still didn’t get it…
But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying. (Luke 9:45)
The disciples would understand – but only after the coming of the Holy Spirit. Like the disciples, we also depend on the Holy Spirit to help us understand God’s word and ways!
The Holy Spirit makes an appearance in today’s reading from Judges as well. It is by the power of God’s Spirit that Samson has the strength to overcome Israel’s enemy, the Philistines.
As is typical of most Old Testament narratives, the author simply retells the story without commenting on the morality of the characters. This is a disadvantage to us as modern readers, because we aren’t as familiar with the ancient culture and Mosaic law. Actions that would have been so obviously horrendous to an ancient Jew are morally ambiguous to us. There are so many instances where Samson breaks God’s law, but you have to be familiar with the laws concerning Nazarites to catch them!
In Chapter 14, he marries a Philistine, touches a dead carcass, and partakes of strong drink at his marriage feast. Nazarites were strictly forbidden to touch anything dead or to partake in strong drink. His flagrant disregard for God’s law is offensive. Yet God sends His Holy Spirit to Samson in spite of his sin. How amazing is God’s grace!
But consider this nuance in Chapter 14… On the way down to marry the Philistine woman, Samson scrapes honey from a lion’s carcass – the very lion that he killed with his bare hands. This is a picture of what sin can do to our hearts. Samson’s pride and independence blinds him to the grotesque carcass. He’s oblivious to the stench and the flies… As we are tempted to compromise God’s standards for the pleasures of this world, we must remember this image of eating honey from a lion’s carcass. All we see is the honey – and we are blinded by the grotesqueness of the sin.
Unlike Samson, we must depend on the Holy Spirit to open our ears to understand God’s word, open our eyes to see the sin in our hearts and finally, to give us a heart to obey!