Judges 18:1-31 – Don’t Be Hollow

Read Judges 18:1-31

hollow logs cut and laying on the ground

I wondered where they’d been all this time. Not really! I didn’t even know they were missing. That is, this was news to me that the tribe of Dan had never made it to the coast to claim their land. The tribe of Dan would have been given land to the West of Ephraim, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. The lands of Judah and Benjamin also shared a border to the Southeast.

We do hear again of the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol. These towns were in the same vicinity where the events of Samson’s life took place. I understand they are found in Judah. To be in Ephraim, to meet with the Levite in Micah’s house, they had traveled north a ways.

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Judges 17:1-13 – Micah’s Idols

Read Judges 17:1-13

We have a new character. Micah. What were your first impressions about him? I have to say the first thing I had trouble negotiating was talking about dedicating the money to the LORD, and then taking some to make idols as a way of honoring Micah. It seems very disconnected and nonsensical.

We are introduced to Micah the thief as we start a new section in the Book of Judges. We’re going to see up close and personal how far the Israelites have fallen. Even though Micah gave back the money, he had taken it. Maybe we should ponder why Micah took the money in the first place and what caused him to give it back. The return could very well have been motivated by the “curse” Micah asked his mother about.

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Judges 16:23-31 – One More Time

Read Judges 16:23-31

Samson’s time to judge comes to an end. He spends his final days in the custody of the Philistines who are very pleased with themselves. No sign of his beloved Delilah or any family or tribe members coming to his rescue. What do you think Samson was feeling?

It almost seems that it was in desperation that Samson called out to God. “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time.” Whether Samson believed it before or not, he clearly realizes now that the LORD was the source of his strength. It’s like he wanted one more chance to be used by God.

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Judges 16:4-22 – Samson & Delilah

Read Judges 16:4-22

Will he ever learn? I don’t think I’m the only one who sees Samson’s “weakness” to be women. It’s almost as if he is a lovesick puppy. God gave him the gift of strength, but when it comes to women, he melts all over the place! Delilah had him wrapped around her finger! Whether she loved Samson or not we never hear. Instead, we see Delilah as conniving and money hungry.

Samson had enough sense to keep Delilah in the dark about the source of his strength at first. But don’t you wonder what was going through Samson’s mind when the Philistines came to capture him the very way he had just told Delilah?

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Judges 16:1-3 – Lesson of the Gaza Gate

Read Judges 16:1-3

Taking a moment of silence right now for those present day in and near Gaza. It breaks my heart any time we hear news reports of unrest between people in the world. What timing that we would be reading about this very region today as fighting erupts there after weeks of rising Israeli-Palestinian tension in East Jerusalem.

Our reading focuses on a little side trip for our latest judge, Samson. Again, we see him giving in to his carnal desires. When I first imagined what life as a Nazirite would be like, I pictured monks praying. This is not the kind of life we see Samson living. He seems to take his might for granted. That’s lesson #1–don’t take your God given abilities for granted.

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