From the book of Joshua we go to Judges, and it’s a fascinating period of time with a lot happening. Joshua dies, the tribes are still trying to conquer/divide/settle into land, and going through cycles of sin and depravity. Between Joshua’s death and until Saul is named the Israelites’ first king, we have “judges”. These judges are different than modern day judges and I love how they’re described in chapter 2 verses 16-18:

16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. 

In our reading today, we focus specifically on Judges 16, which outlines Samson as a judge for the Hebrew people being oppressed by the Philistines (there are 11 other judges recorded in the book of Judges). If you’ve heard this one before, your high points might be similar to what stood out in my mind over the years:

  • God gave Samson supernatural physical strength, and if he cut his hair he would lose his strength – but no one knew that but him. 
  • Delilah tries to get the truth from him multiple times – in order to sell his secret to the Philistines. The first couple of times he tells her lies, but she tries to take away his strength with these lies… why does he keep trusting her and telling her?
  • Eventually (third time is a charm) he tells her the truth about his hair and she sells him out and Samson is captured. 

After spending more time in Judges and the life of Samson, a few new things came to light for me:

  • Samson was born to Manoah and his previously barren wife, after an angel appeared telling her she would bear a son that would be a deliverer for the Israelites. – Ch. 13
  • Samson was raised as a Nazarite and as he grew, the Lord blessed him. – Ch. 13
  • Samson desired/tried to marry women outside of his tribe (against God’s laws at that time) – Ch. 14 the woman from Timnah, Ch. 16 Delilah. 
  • Samson was betrayed by both women, both telling information he trusted them with. 
  • The situation with the woman from Timnah (his soon-to-be wife) is Lifetime Movie ready. He kills a lion on his way to ask for his bride.. then during the wedding feast creates a riddle for the Philistines to solve. His bride tells the secret answer, and it all ultimately ends in death. Samson was a great warrior and killed 1000 men without an army. Ch. 14-15
  • Samson has his “Hey there, Delilah” moments and we do not know how long she nagged him to reveal his secret, but in verse 16 it says she pressed and urged him daily until his soul was vexed to death. 
  • The Philistines gouged out Samson’s eyes upon capturing him. Samson, whose role was to help people keep their eyes on God, lost his way, and his own sight in the process. – Ch. 16
  • God gives Samson one last super strength moment during his captivity and he kills 3,000 Philistines before his own death. 
  • Samson is listed among the men and women of great faith in Hebrews 11! 

This deeper study of Samson has replaced my thoughts of “why did he spill the beans” with some areas of encouragement: 

After Samson is captured and realized he wrongly told the secret of his strength, he still had the courage to call upon the Lord for help. Wow!! When we mess up, we need God’s help to deal with the fall out. But sometimes we let our shame, pride, or doubt keep us from calling on God. What an awesome example Samson gave us to cry out with faith! 

Be wise about who you allow into the inner circle of your heart. Are they Christ Followers, encouraging you in your walk with the Lord? Is there anyone influencing you in ways that come between you and God? 

What strength did God entrust you with and how are you using it for His kingdom?   


Don’t you love the story about Jesus riding into town on the donkey, being praised and worshiped? See Mark 11:1-11 for the full story. I remember it from childhood and our kids have heard it many times in Sunday school.

Judges 12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9-10)

There were people praising him for who he is, publicly acknowledging Jesus as he fulfills Old Testament prophecy from Zechariah 9:9.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)

Today I’m reading this story under a different light. Jesus, being God in the flesh knew that this earthly worship and party wasn’t going to last. He knew that in a very short time he would be crucified. Wasn’t this victory ride bittersweet to Jesus? Did he know some of the people who were praising him would betray him and call out for him to be crucified? Did he know they would choose to set free a known vicious criminal, a murderer (Matthew 27:15-23) instead of him? I believe he did. What was on his mind as he rode? It is easy to praise King Jesus, but what about when he doesn’t meet “our” expectations, when obedience isn’t on our terms, when following costs us friendships, social status, jobs, or even our own safety? Even though Jesus knew they as well as us, would betray him he continued on because of his love for us and his commitment to the Father’s plan.

This next verse seems really simple on the surface but I ask that you join me on a journey through the eyes of Jesus. He was just celebrated, it is getting late, and he goes into the temple. At this time of day temple attendance was likely sparse. Picture Jesus looking around at everything, saddened over the forthcoming betrayal, and saddened as the temple had become a “den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). Perhaps a last look since he knew what was to come? I’m envisioning this to be something like when a person is saying goodbye to a place or people they love and adore, picking up photo albums and looking at them fondly but yet with concern for their loved ones.

And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Mark 11:11)

Father God, you are above all things. We praise you for who you are; for loving us, for your perfect plan, for being patient, merciful, and forgiving. Like Jesus looked around at everything in the temple, we ask you to look around at everything in our hearts. Please forgive us for the times when we have praised you with our lips but yet our actions are that of betrayal of your son Jesus. Everything your son did, he did for us so that we may have life with you. He lived a perfect life all while knowing he would suffer on the cross as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. Show us where on the outside we seem pure and just, but on the inside we attempt to harbor secret sin; we have no secrets from you God. You know all, you see all. Please help us, please save us. Amen.