READ: Judges 16:25-30
(25-27) Then this: Everyone was feeling high and someone said, “Get Samson! Let him show us his stuff!” They got Samson from the prison and he put on a show for them.
They had him standing between the pillars. Samson said to the young man who was acting as his guide, “Put me where I can touch the pillars that hold up the temple so I can rest against them.” The building was packed with men and women, including all the Philistine tyrants. And there were at least three thousand in the stands watching Samson’s performance.
(28) And Samson cried out to God:
Oh, please, look on me again,
Oh, please, give me strength yet once more.
With one avenging blow let me be avenged
On the Philistines for my two eyes!
(29-30) Then Samson reached out to the two central pillars that held up the building and pushed against them, one with his right arm, the other with his left. Saying, “Let me die with the Philistines,” Samson pushed hard with all his might. The building crashed on the tyrants and all the people in it. He killed more people in his death than he had killed in his life.
THINK: What stands out to you about Samson’s dramatic action and the ending of his life? Do you resonate with his deep desire for justice to be served? What do you observe about how he acted on that desire for revenge?
PRAY: Read the passage a second time, looking specifically for a word or phrase about Samson’s desire for revenge or justice that is meaningful to you. Maybe his act angers you, or you feel a similar desire. When you finish reading, close your eyes. Recall the word or phrase and sit quietly, mulling it over. Let it stimulate you into a dialogue with God.
LIVE: Read the passage a third time, watching how God interacts with Samson and with the Philistines: Although God does not directly act or speak in the passage, he grants Samson’s request to avenge himself, and he allows the Philistines to lose their lives. What stands out to you about God’s involvement (or lack of involvement)? Talk with him about your perception of him in this passage. Be open to what he may be showing you through what you read.
I am not going to do much with this passage. To be honest, I feel rather ambivalent about it. On one hand, I want to pray for vengeance and that our family would be the ones to be able to make it come about. On the other hand, Samson lost his own life in the process. And he had been disobedient to the point of getting himself into the position he was in, whereas we have not. How can I pray that God would allow us to have vengeance if it would cost us our lives? How can I pray that God would allow us to have vengeance when it is likely that the vengeance we would seek might prevent those against whom we want revenge might not turn to God? I must have faith that God will handle this in the manner that will restore our family and bring about justice at the same time. I do have that faith. I know that He is the only one that can do that kind of work. And because He is, I will leave the vengeance-taking to God, trusting that I will be taken care of in the process.