Day 77: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 77: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

Our focus is on Samson, the great strongman of the Bible.  He is noted as a man of faith: For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets — (Heb. 11:32).  He’s listed with giants of faith like David and Samuel.

Samson’s mission was to ‘save Israel from the hand of the Philistines…’ Yet he desired a Philistine woman: she was right in Samson’s eyes. (Jdg. 14:7).  The word ‘right’ does not mean she was morally pure, or spiritually sensitive, rather she was gorgeous.

This was hardly an auspicious beginning.  Samson’s making nice with the enemy, rather than fighting them.  In fact, Samson decided to throw a wedding party for his new favorite friends – the Philistines.  They had games in their celebration, and swapped riddles, to challenge one another. Samson begins his legacy with his riddle, which the Philistines could not answer: And in three days they could not solve the riddle. (14:14).

Well, like all good friends, the Philistines go to Samson’s wife and: On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire. (14:15).  We’re going to burn you alive in your Daddy’s house!

Samson’s new best friends were not so likeable.  In fact, they are downright malicious, and would resort to violence over a riddle!  They’ve exaggerated the issue and were willing to kill for a game!  They will destroy Samson’s wife and family, just so their Israelite enemy doesn’t win the party game! Now you know what kind of people the Philistines were, and why the Lord wanted to liberate Israel from their rule.

Well, Samson’s new bride was a victim, though Samson is unaware.  Her safest bet was with her spiteful ethnic group.  Samson thought this was just a game, his buddies didn’t think so, and they were going be barbaric just to win!

Samson bride was desperate, and like any thoughtful husband he calmly explains: And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?” (14:16).  Goodness!  He just tells her she does not rank as Numero Uno in his mind, she is second to his parents!  This was not going well for his wife!  But with a persistence born out of desperation she: She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because she pressed him hard. (14:17).  She’s manipulative and deceptive, she’s a tiger. She used very insistent tactics, even overcoming a warrior like Samson.

Then she told the riddle to her people. (14:17).  The penalty for answering the riddle was Samson had to buy a wardrobe for his thirty, new best friends (14:12).  This was a pretty significant cost. Does Samson respond reasonably? Well, he keeps his word.

And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father’s house. (14:19).

Samson goes to a neighboring town and beats, and kills thirty innocent Philistine men, takes their clothes, and gives it to his former new best friends!  Is this just a bit out of proportion?  Though the Lord energized Samson, he acted irrationally, being thoroughly cruel to innocent people. It is unreasonable to believe the Lord directed him to do this horrible act. Samson acted with his own initiative, though he used his God-endowed gifts.  This should bring pause for all of us.  Don’t use the gifts the Lord gives you for unholy behaviors or outcomes.

We have no information to Samson’s previous exploits, but the ease and ruthlessness which he exhibited toward innocent civilians might be a clue to his experiences up to this point.  The Bible is silent about this, but enough hints are left that we can guess that Samson was a ruthless fighter.  The issue about this exploit was his explosive anger. Jdg 14:19 calls it ‘…hot anger…’  The Hebrew term is akin to incensed fury. He did not try and negotiate a thoughtful compromise. He had an adrenaline dump that could fill a boxcar!

“Rage is a common reaction in those with PTSD, especially with soldiers, because it is a behavior to defend oneself…Rage is a reflexive extension of the reflexive fighting response (RFR). The RFR is an automatic response to stress in which you attack anyone close to you when stress increases.” The PTSD Breakthrough, Dr. Frank Lawlis. p 115.

The VA says the five signs that alert combat veterans to potential mental health issues in, post trauma: 1) Personality change: sudden or gradual changes in the way someone typically behaves – Samson is a bingo! 2) Agitation: When someone seems uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated or moody – Samson’s a yep! 3) Withdrawal: withdrawn or isolated from other people; pulling away from family and friends – Samson we’ll discover, isolates himself – so he’s batting 1,000%.  4) Poor self-care: has stopped taking care of themselves and may engage in risky behavior – oh man, we’ll see he goes overboard in risk!  5) Hopelessness: seems overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances – sadly we’ll see Samson commits suicide.  So, Samson clearly shows signs of Post-Traumatic Stress, which ends very tragically in his case.

As we continue to learn about Samson’s behavior, be clear that his life was challenging.  He compounds his issues with poor choices, though he is a spiritually mature man.  PTSD has been around for thousands of years, and it still impacts warriors just like it did Samson.  Be certain, there are mental health helps. Additionally, there are important Biblical initiatives that can match or even exceed secular medical care. Don’t give up getting help, if you have been in a combat environment, and experienced dangerous situations.

Our mission here is not to address the PTSD issue, but we have highlighted this, to alert you, that the Bible is not silent about it.  The Lord engineered our bodily systems and knows well our limits and vulnerabilities.  He also is able and willing to help with trauma, dysfunction, or other emotional conditions that result from combat.  PTSD is real, and does impact not only the veteran, it also leaks into their family systems.

Samson would give a hearty Amen!  We’ll come back to his story and see the aftermath of his situation.  Warning — things don’t improve.  Events get downright nasty.

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for providing spiritual gifts, so by your grace they can be offered to others for their well-being and growth.  Help me not to misuse or abuse my spiritual abilities for selfish reasons.  Rather give to me an understanding of the scope of your desires to bless your children with wonderful help.  Let me accept with gratitude their gifts to me, so I can be enhanced.  Then let me share my gifts with generosity for the benefit of those who need them.  Don’t let me hoard or ignore my gifts, rather give me an opportunity to share with others so they can receive benefit.

Then Lord, grant to those who receive and those who give their talents a well-being that only comes from generous sharing.  Bless them, not only with eternal gifts, but with temporal enhancements. Whether these gifts bring joy and meaningfulness, or great satisfaction in blessing someone in time of need.  Father destroy any attitude that communicates that we give to get.  Rather, let us share so we can bless.  We want to mirror your desire to give, so others are rewarded and fulfilled, gratified that sharing is an expression of sincere love.  We want to reflect your glory to a lost and needy world.  We pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

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