Day 78: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 78: The Way Of The Warrior

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

The Way Of The Warrior

In our previous devotion we noted Samson’s unreasonable response to his Philistine friends, unreasonable demands.  The Philistines were cruel to Samson’s at his wedding. They bested him through deceit forcing him to honor a promise to his wedding guests.  Samson, enraged went into a Philistine town, beats and kills 30 innocent men, taking their clothes then giving them to his guests (Jdg. 14:19).  His next challenge…

After some days, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat. And he said, “I will go in to my wife in the chamber.” But her father would not allow him to go in. (15:1).  Samson went to see his wife to experience nuptial pleasures he lost by his exploits. What he did not know was: Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man. (14:20). The Philistines gave Samson’s wife away to his best man! Samson was aiming for sexual intimacy and found his wife with another man.

The bride’s father tried to reason with Samson, who’s a wee bit, miffed.  Samson does not go ballistic, rather he has a slow, settled burn.  He overlooks his own contribution to this entire affair, instead focusing on his betrayers. He promised payback: And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be innocent in regard to the Philistines, when I do them harm.”  (15:3).  He promised them harm, for giving his wife to another.  Payback’s a medevac.

Ironically, he does acknowledge that his previous malicious behavior was wrong: “This time I shall be innocent….”  His new plan will be morally right – so he thinks.

Revenge is a strange bedfellow. Often it is a fruitless endeavor, since one cannot destroy enough enemy to get a fair value in return. One is left with the same grating hatred without recompense.  That is why the Lord takes that ugly burden from our shoulders and takes the task Himself: Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Rom. 12:19).

Well Samson was at a place in his heart, where he wanted revenge.  His was malicious, and wanted to destroy the Philistines wheat crop, thus endangering their entire population.

Samson catches 300 foxes!  This is an astonishing accomplishment!  Ever try and capture a fox?  Good luck.  Generally, there is not a fox population this large in a small area.  Samson had to travel hither and yon, and store all these critters, a herculean task!  Samson was a very skilled and determined guy. You didn’t want to be on his bad side.

So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails. (Jdg. 15:4).  Samson targeted their food crops, standing grain and olive orchards (15:5).  He tied foxes together in two’s, lights their tails on fire and releases them in Philistine fields.  Who thinks like this?  He’s clever, but very sadistic to innocent people.  A godly man should not be acting in this manner.

The Philistines had a response for Samson: Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” And they said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. (15:6).  The Philistines were marauding maniacs, taking Samson’s wife and father-in-law, and burning them alive!  Ruthless enemies are lambasting one another, neither having wisdom nor compassion, just merciless retaliation.  The Vikings versus Philistines would make a ferocious war.

The Philistines perpetrated a hideous atrocity on innocent Philistines, just to hurt Samson.  Of course, Samson will see the error of his ways, and leave in peace – right?  And Samson said to them, “If this is what you do, I swear I will be avenged on you, and after that I will quit.” (15:7).  This will be the end of the matter, Samson believes: “I will be avenged…then I’ll quit.” His wife and father-in-law’s gruesome death must have consequences.

Samson ‘amped-up’ his revenge: …he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow…(15:8).  Samson didn’t kill his adversaries, he maimed them!  This was a sinister tactic by Samson, since these invalids will now be taken out of the work force/fighting force and will require resources to care for them.  They became unproductive. The Philistines did not have a welfare system. He created an entire dependency class, bringing immense hardship.

Then Samson disappeared — he ‘withdraws:’ he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam. (15:8). He isolates from others.  Pulling away from family and friends is a coping system that allows a PTSD survivor to not be present, to evade interaction with people.  Avoidance systems allow survivors to vacate from people or events that might remind them of their trauma.  When one is unable to show appropriate affection, they often retreat, for emotional protection.

There had been tremendous loss for Samson, and he had not handled the situations with wisdom, but with an edginess that turned things into disasters.  He missed the opportunity many times to pursue wisdom, rather than passion, and he spiraled into darkness.  What had he experienced and inflicted so far in this narrative?  Deception, betrayal, explosive rage, revenge, gruesome loss, hatred, death, brutal disability…these have an impact on people’s emotional well-being.  Samson was impacted – negatively.

Samson removed himself: and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam. (15:8).  The word ‘Etam’ means: ‘lair of the wild beasts.’  Samson was a survivalist.  He went into the wilderness, alone, isolating from people. Will avoidance bring peace?  No.

Where are Samson’s disciples?  None are mentioned.  He did not train anyone to be a friend, companion, an advocate, one who learns from him.  Loners don’t make strong believers. Go therefore and make disciples… (Matt. 28:19).  Jesus commanded that we replicate ourselves.  One reason Samson does a face-plant, he had no support.

Moses had his Joshua, Elijah had Elisha, Paul his Timothy. Jesus: taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”(Matt. 26:37, 38).

Samson’s saga is not over.  His story will reveal more lessons for us.  The Bible deals with its heroes by unveiling their true character, warts and all.  Every person of faith has bumpy paths, which should give us hope.  God sees our future, not focusing on our past.

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

I’ve felt the same hatred that Samson had for his enemies.  It was a seething animosity that leaked into my heart and bore a hole into my soul.  I do not want to languish in that pit, rather: Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Ps. 51:12).  Take my unresolved bitterness, whisk it away from my deepest hiding place, and cleanse my spirit with hope and purity.  Let the past be a mild, a weak whisper from the burning hatred I harbored.  Then fill my heart with glorious truths that assure me of hope for my future, certain that you have the power to renew me: He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Ps. 23:3).

Then Lord make my life a beacon for others.  Let those who know me, see you.  Let those that want to know you, see your reality in me.  Let your faithfulness be my beacon, so others can witness the reality of spiritual life.  Add to my hope a desire to share the truth about you, so people will understand that you are real and present.  Don’t let my life be the mystical ethereal, rather let it be an expression of the authenticity of your working in me. My wish is for people to see you.  If they use me as their telescope to see you, let me be that instrument without fail.  I want people to experience you in the richest way possible.  I pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

Let's Talk

100% Confidential | Warrior-to-warrior

We respond within 24 hours and can provide community support, resources, and referrals.